Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Event

Seems like since the success (and fall) of "Lost," the various television networks have been searching for the next quirky overly hyped blockbuster. There have been a lot of attempts. "Fringe" has been, at times, interesting. "Flash Forward," also on the ABC network came the closest in my opinion, but unfortunately it was canceled before it could really start rolling.

The newest contender, and the one that wins hands down in the overly hyped category at least is "The Event." A lot of folks tuned in for that first episode just because they had been hammered for months with constant advertising by NBC of "What is The Event?" with the weird stylized backwards 'E.' When the pilot aired, it was bad, except for the last two minutes.

As a matter of fact, I thought it was so bad that it was almost unintentionally funny. The flips back and forth between scenes and time frames got to be monotonous after a short while. It became a joke. If the producers were planning to do an outright parody of shows like "24" or other such one hour drama thrillers, they succeeded too well.

The hook, that last two minutes of the pilot, that dramatic special effect that comprised the cliffhanger rocked the house. It was reminiscent of the final moment of the first episode of "Heroes," shock and awe. Two problems with that - following episodes got weaker and weaker with their cliffhangers, and much like "Heroes," it could not top that moment. That NBC used that moment to hype the next episodes didn't help either, especially in a world of Tivo and DVR, where that commercial spoiled it for most of the nation.

"The Event" in the weeks that followed lost much of its audience. It might be an interesting concept, but unless they keep our attention on a regular basis, I see it as the next "Heroes," and not in a good way.

Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Enter Captain America

Captain America and Bucky fight Hydra, Baron Strucker, the Red Skull and a variety of evil Asgardian threats as Kang the Conquerer looks on...

"Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes" debuts tonight at 8:30 PM EST on Disney XD.

Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tom Bosley 1927-2010

TV father, Emmy nominated and Tony winning actor Tom Bosley died today due to complications from lung cancer. For much of the late seventies and early eighties he visited our living rooms every week on "Happy Days" as Howard Cunningham, affectionately known as Mr. C.

Just as the late Barbara Billingsley (who also passed this week) was a mother to an entire previous generation as the mother on "Leave It to Beaver," Bosley served the role of father for my generation. As father of Richie, Joanie, even Chuck, and for all intents and purposes Potsie, Ralph, Chachi and Fonzie as well, he was also our father figure, giving the best advice available this side of Mike Brady.

Tom Bosley was a character actor on television for years, also notable for his roles on "Wait Til Your Father Gets Home," "The Father Dowling Mysteries," "Murder She Wrote," "The Streets of San Francisco," multiple roles on "The Love Boat" and "Love American Style" and also starred with Debbie Reynolds and Sandy Duncan on their TV excursions.

Off of the small screen he appeared in films like "Love with the Proper Stranger," "The World of Henry Orient" and most recently "The Back-up Plan." Before his TV and movie work, Bosley won a Tony for his work in the Broadway show "Fiorello!" and returned to the stage in the 1990s with "Disney's Beauty and the Beast."

Wherever you know Tom Bosley from - television, film, stage, or as a second father - he will be missed. 'Night, Mr. C.

Bookmark and Share

Monday, October 18, 2010

March of the Humannequins

The Dumpsta Players are back!

Wednesday, October 20th 2010
10pm doors, 11PM showtime -- sharp!
@ Bob and Barbara's
1509 South Street
Philadelphia, PA
Info: (215) 545-4511
$1.99 cover 21+


In the depths of an abandoned Woolworth's lie remnants of a long forgotten era... almost human-mannequins! Their power is summoned and they command bedbugs to prance, goth chicks to gag, hoarders to collect, and Shelby's Magnolias to wilt.

But, beware, oh, wondrous Humannequins! There's an even darker demon about and she's ranting on about Proposition 8!

Find out what happens to Dr. Laura in -

See the Dumpsta Players on... Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and MySpace, and on their own website, but you don't know what you're missing unless you see them live!

Bookmark and Share

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Wasp Vs. the Whirlwind

...and a bit of Ant-Man too. "Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes" debuts on Disney XD this coming Wednesday night at 8:00 PM.

Bookmark and Share

Quickies 9-15-2010

Drag Me To Hell ~ A young loan officer arbitrarily refuses to extend an old gypsy woman's mortgage and is cursed, hilarity ensues, as they say. As the lamia, a goat-like demon from Hell, pursues the young woman, she tries desperately to break the curse. This is a fairly scary new entry from writer/director Sam Raimi finally getting back to his horror roots. Except for the casting of Justin Long and a couple painfully cartoony moments, this is an excellent scare-fest, worth seeing, but keep the lights on.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo ~ The first filmed part of the Millenium Trilogy by the late Stieg Larsson is much more streamlined and exciting than its literary counterpart, no slow or dense parts like the book. Good mystery, good action, well cast with great soundtrack - recommended. It's so perfect, I am almost dreading the American version coming next year.

Nanny McPhee Returns ~ Also known as Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang overseas, this family film sequel, based on the Nurse Matilda books by Christianna Brand, is a bit formulaic, but still a lot of fun.

Jennifer's Body ~ Taken as a black comedy, this one is actually rather good. It has a very Kevin Williamson tongue-in-cheek feel to it, but is actually written by the infamous Diablo Cody, who brings her own unique sensibility to it. Quirky and more real than a lot of horror of this kind, this was a lot better than I thought it would be. Check it out.

61* ~ I'm not a big baseball fan, and I'm even less of a Billy Crystal fan, so I was surprised I liked this baseball flick directed by Crystal. The HBO movie recounts the summer of 1961 as Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle both strive to break Babe Ruth's single season home run record. Thomas Jane is terrific as Mantle. Recommended.

Komodo Vs. Cobra ~ This low budget SyFy special features bad writing, bad CGI effects and bad acting that would make porn actors blush. It stars, along with badly realized giant reptiles, Michael Pare from the decades ago Eddie and the Cruisers and reality TV star Jerry Manthey from "Survivor" who seems to want to prove she's a better actress without a script. Miss this one.

Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

The Siege of Asgard

Yeah, baby! Thor against Loki and the Frost Giants, including the whole cast of Asgardian players. Stan and Jack would be proud. And what is Loki up to?

"The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes" comes to Disney XD on October 20th.

Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Sukiyaki Western Django

Sukiyaki Western Django ~ I wasn't sure what to expect when I sat down to watch this one. While I am familiar with the works of Takashi Miike, I had no idea how he was going to meld the legend of spaghetti western anti-hero Django into some sort of modern day samurai western. The Django I knew was from director Sergio Cambucci and featured Franco Nero as the man who dragged a coffin behind him, which secretly held a gatling gun. The violent nature of the character and his world fit Takashi but still I wondered about what it was. In the end, I wonder if even Takashi knew what the film really was.

The tale is that of warring clans of feudal Japan, but taking place in some surreal old west, a world of both gunplay and swordplay, a Nevada in a Japanese desert. It is wholly unique, with hip pop cult blood running through its veins and down its legs. The Japanese actors speaking broken English is strange and awkward, but somehow fitting. Sergio Leone would have been proud, and he would have also been confused. Quentin Tarantino plays well in his cameo, but his scenes are painfully short. He might have saved this.

Oh, it's pretty, and visually stunning. While it is a marvel to look at, even when it borderlines between cartoon and bad stage play, it really has no plot whatsoever and is just a series of fights and visuals one after another. Pretty with little substance, and bristling with winks and nods to several genres, it comes off more like a parody than an homage. And I doubt that's what Takashi Miike was after. It hurts me as well. I love this stuff, and I didn't want to laugh at it, I wanted to laugh along with it. Unfortunately the former happened more than the latter. Must see, but maybe only once, just for the visceral experience.

Bookmark and Share

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Iron Man Vs. Hydra

He can't do it alone. Good thing the Avengers are coming October 20th...

...and in the postscript, Nick Fury faces off against one of the Avengers' deadliest foes...

Bookmark and Share

Friday, October 01, 2010

Stephen J. Cannell Passes Away

This is turning out to be a very bad week for Hollywood. Last night we lost prolific writer, director, actor, novelist and producer Stephen J. Cannell to complications of melanoma. He was 69.

If you watched television at all in the last four decades, you knew his work if not his name. He had a hand in, if not his entire creative body, in TV series like "Baretta," "The A-Team," "The Rockford Files," "Toma," "21 Jump Street," "Adam-12," "Hunter," "Wiseguy," "The Commish," "Black Sheep Squadron," "The Greatest American Hero" and "Tenspeed and Brownshoe." His productions were marked by his signature closing of the sheet of paper being ripped from a typewriter and floating into a pile of paper, a familiar image for generations of TV viewers.

Virtually no one remembers "Tenspeed and Brownshoe," that aired very briefly in 1980 on ABC, but I do. It featured Jeff Goldblum as a wannabe private eye and Ben Vereen as a con man who together solved mysteries and crimes. Goldblum's character was constantly reading these terrible pulp/noir detective novels for inspiration. Rumor had it that what he was reading were the rejected works of Cannell's. I loved that stuff, and it made me read his 'real' novels when the producer turned to prose fiction in this last decade. Great stuff.

Cannell also won multiple Emmys and wrote sixteen novels in his lifetime. He was most recently seen on "Castle." Television is a much poorer place today.

Bookmark and Share