Here's the new video from The Last Vegas for their song "I'm Bad". It's a pretty good introduction to the band if you're not familiar with them. A little rock, a little glam, a little punk and a boatload of attitude. They opened for Motley Crue on their latest tour after winning a Guitar Center contest for the slot. They were also chosen as Spin Magazine Chief Editor's pick for best breakthrough band of SXSW 2008 for what it's worth.
Here's a trailer for the very cool looking upcoming movie about the craft beer guys (hooray!) vs the big beer corporate world (booo!) called Beer Wars. You may notice bat-shit crazy Jim Koch from Boston Beer Company (aka Sam Adams) and one of my biggest heroes on earth Sam Calagione (Sam, you complete me), from Dogfish Head Brewery, in the trailer. Click the official website below or the BeerNews.org link above for lots more goodies.
"Beer Wars begins as the corporate behemoths are being challenged by small, independent brewers who are shunning the status quo and creating innovative new beers. The story is told through 2 of these entrepreneurs — Sam [Calagione] and Rhonda [Kallman] — battling the might and tactics of Corporate America. We witness their struggle to achieve their American Dream in an industry dominated by powerful corporations unwilling to cede an inch."
Well, not really. But the latest Disney hellspawn's new 3-D concert goes head-to-head with an action flick today in the new movie battle in the theaters. I'll pass on both films, but here's the skinny in case you have a 12-year-old daughter or want to see some martial arts. I've got some other recent releases I need to catch up instead.
Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li
The Plot: Interpol agent Chun-Li enters an underground fighting tournament, with her eyes set on M. Bison, the contest's founder and leader of a crime syndicate who may have been responsible for the death of Chun-Li's father. My Thoughts: The only good thing I see about this is that it stars Kristin Kreuk from Smallville. Oherwise... been there, done this. 1,000 times.
Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience
The Plot: A 3-D concert film of the 2008 Jonas Brothers "Burning Up" concert tour, as well as documentary footage on the lives of the three brothers. My Thoughts: Nick! Joe! Kevin! 3-D! I just puked!
They're collectible figures! Or maybe not. Whichever is the case, I never got one of the cool Dexter bobbleheads from my favorite serial killer show last year (see pic at right... there is also ones for Detective Angel Batista, Sgt. Doakes, Rita and Debra Morgan). Well now comes word that this June there will be a killer (get it?) new 7-inch action figure coming out. Perhaps I'll just get both for my Dexter collection. What, you think I'm going to play with them or something? Well just maybe I will! Don't judge me!
Anyway, here's more on the new figure:
"Standing 7-inches tall and fully articulated, Dexter comes with interchangeable arms, allowing him to transform from killer to blood-splatter expert and back again. He also includes loads of great accessories: knife, body bag, ID badge, and blood slide! He would love to make your world a safer place, so bring him home today! This sculpt is personally approved by Michael C. Hall and Showtime."
I must have this! He'll make my world a safer place I'm sure.
A young girl walks through a secret door in her new home and discovers an alternate version of her life. On the surface, this parallel reality is eerily similar to her real life - only much better. But when her adventure turns dangerous and her "other parents" try to keep her forever, Coraline must count on her resourcefulness, determination, and bravery to get back home - and save her family.
This movie has a fantastic musical score, fantastic stop-motion animation and an imaginative storyline from Neil Gaiman. It's a marvelously entertaining movies for kids and adults alike. The stop-motion animation is just visually stunning and the 3-D effect isn't overdone but really adds depth to the world of the story, mostly as a backdrop. It's really gorgeous in some scenes.
I think it's still a horror movie really, so be warned for the really small children, but it's more creepy and weird than in-your-face horror. There's no blood or anything like that but there's evil, but really no more than some of the good old Brothers Grimm tales I grew up with. It definitely borrows from Alice In Wonderland, Hansel And Gretel and other fairy/fantasy tales too but it's a spookier, more Gothic twist.
If there's a knock on this movie from me, maybe it's that it succeeds much more visually than it does in terms of plot. Despite the sort of "careful what you wish for" lesson and moral of the story, it's nothing too memorable. It's the way it's presented that makes it classic.
Check it out, the new video from Motley Crue for "White Trash Circus" is out just before they're announcing a big summer tour. Pretty typical Crue video... lots of ladies and such. Check out Tommy on the drums or oil drums or trash cans or whatever he's playing in this video.
I found a really cool artist and figured I'd share him with the class. His name is Vincent Chong and he's a freelance illustrator and designer from the U.K. who's done book and magazine illustrations for Stephen King, Joe Hill and Ray Bradbury among others. He's also done some sweet album art and website graphics. I found him because one of my favorite author's, Joe Hill, mentioned him in his blog.
Dude won the Best British Fantasy Artist Award in 2007 and 2008, so apparently I'm not the only one really diggin' his very cool work.
Based on real-life events, Lt. Col. Michael Strobl (Kevin Bacon), a volunteer military escort officer, accompanies the body of 19-year-old Marine Chance Phelps back to his hometown of Dubois, Wyoming.
Wow, what an emotional, moving movie. The real star of the film is Chance Phelps, but we never see him. The movie starts with his body already arriving in the country and Kevin Bacon's character making the decision to escort him back to his home town. The only time you see Chance is during the credits when they show real photographs and home movie footage of him. I thought this was a very powerful method.
What I was most happy about was that the movie stays off the political fence for the most part. It never really says what's right or wrong or preaches about the war in Iraq, it merely does it's best to present the sacrifice of those in the military and the pain and suffering of those left behind. It is empathetic and respectful to the heroes and their sacrifice for patriotism.
Kevin Bacon is perfect in this role. He's doesn't overact but emotes when he needs to and is mostly restrained, choosing to let the story take the lead. All along the way the people he meets do a great job with emotional roles and it's no wonder they could, I teared up at least 3 or 4 times just watching it myself.
For anyone whose has lost somebody in military service or anyone who has served it's an absolute must-see, but everyone will be moved by it I think. It's a very strong, emotional film that will touch you. I found it very thought-provoking and when it ended, all I could think about was how I couldn't wait to tell everybody I knew to watch it.
In this sequel to 2005's Waiting, it’s just another day at Shenaniganz, the family restaurant that’s fun for all ages. But how much longer can Shenaniganz thrive after the ultra-competitive Ta-Ta’s Wing Shack sets up shop nearby?
Believe it or not, I actually thought the first movie in this series was sort of funny, mainly due to Ryan Reynolds character. Unfortunately he's not back in this one but a lot of the cast is, even Justin Long in a small cameo. But that doesn't save the dreadful source material, which I can only imagine consisted of sticking anything raunchy or obscene in the script every time they couldn't come up anything else. Hint... this means often. Sure, that's what the first movie was based on but it was still done in a way that was often comical. This one is just a lot more generic and un-creative I thought.
I think what probably bothered me the most was that without Ryan Reynold's character, they decided to make the new lead behave exactly like him. He just doesn't do it nearly as well and actually came across as much more obnoxious. I know what you're thinking, so was Reynolds, but I at least thought he had some sort of likable quality to his character. I just wanted to smash this guy.
And from the synopsis of this being next door to and competing with a restaurant called Ta-Ta's Wing Shack, I would have at least thought a good majority of the R-rating came from lots of nudity of the female variety... but no such luck. Plenty of beautiful eye-candy at the Hooter's knock-off though and I thought a lot of scenes from there were pretty comical. Most of the waitresses actually were a lot more funny than the Shenaniganz crew and that environment lends itself well to plenty of comedic situations. Too bad they didn't just scrap the whole sequel thing and base the movie around Ta-Ta's.
But anyway, overall this movie throws a bunch of raunchy stuff on the wall and some of it sticks and gets a laugh but a big part of it is dull. If cooks putting things in your food, alcoholism, sexism, making fun of old people, people with speech impediments and general toilet humor are all high on your comedy gold list, you might love this. Otherwise it's good for a few laughs because it just rehashes a lot of the same stuff from the original.
It's been a while since I posted a good ghost story, so here's one from today's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that's sort of fun about the Desha County Courthouse clock. I linked a 2nd story from December at the end of the post.
Ghost seekers haunt courthouse By Mike Linn (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette) Photo by Russell Powell(Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)
ARKANSAS CITY — Ghost hunter May Duvall stood near the jury box of the old Desha County Courthouse and began peppering the spirits with questions.
Holding a thin dowsing rod in each hand, Duvall told the ghost with whom she said she hoped to communicate to cross the rods if the answer is no, open them if the answer is yes.
“What is your name? Is your name Willard?” she asked. “Is your name Ben? Is your name Mark? Are you a female?”
“No, so you’re a male. OK,” Duvall continued. “Are you here because you were sentenced? Were you sentenced to 20 years? Life? Did you win your case?”
The group wired the 106-year old courthouse, a nearby church and an old jail with audio and video recorders, electromagnetic field meters and other gadgets seeking proof of spiritual activity.
For years, locals who work at the courthouse have claimed it’s haunted by a ghost they nicknamed Willard. County Judge Mark McElroy said courthouse staff members have reported spiritual activity unexplainable by human logic.
According to local lore in this 531-population town near the Mississippi River, a man who lost money gambling burned a string of hotels. He was convicted and ordered hanged on the courthouse steps in the early 1900s. Shortly before his death, he declared his innocence and cursed the clock atop the courthouse, saying it would never work properly again.
Some say the clock stopped immediately after the man died.
McElroy, the county judge since 1993, said the clock has never worked properly. Sometimes it jumps forward, sometimes back. Sometimes the long hand reads the hour and the short hand reads the minutes. The bell often malfunctions.
One night a few years ago, the bell rang constantly, keeping residents awake for hours before McElroy arrived to shut it off.
Besides the clock, McElroy said at least two people including County Assessor Gaye Brown have reported seeing a nicely dressed old woman at the courthouse after hours.
“In 1992 or 1993, I had stayed late after the courthouse closed, and when I walked out the front door and started my car to leave, I turned and looked and there was a lady outside the courthouse dressed in a white, turnof-the-century outfit,” Brown said. “I turned and then looked back and she was gone. That was the first time and the last time I ever saw her. I thought it must have been an aberration because we had heard stories about that courthouse.”
Asked if she thinks the courthouse is haunted, Brown said, “Let me put it this way: There is some reason why that clock won’t work, and nobody knows why.”
On Saturday night, courthouse staff members sat in the dark courtroom on the second floor, watching and listening for ghosts and goblins.
“This is kind of like watching paint dry ... ,” said McElroy, who doubles as a stand-up comedian.
“Yeah, I want to see a ghost,” added Rita Kolb, the Desha County treasurer.
Alan Lowe, co-founder of Spirit Seekers, said preliminary reports Saturday night showed little spiritual activity.
“We’ve heard some mumbling and footsteps and we saw some orbs on the video, although most of the orbs [balls of light] are nothing,” Lowe said. “Just from what we’ve seen preliminarily, I’d say there’s something paranormal going on in the courthouse and the church, but it’s not really grabbing you in the face.”
Lowe founded Spirit Seekers after being convinced his own home in Roland is haunted. He said his wife asked him one night to sit on the couch silently and listen to an elderly couple, apparently spirits from another generation, argue with each other.
“The argument was as plain as day,” Lowe said. “I didn’t believe her at first but now I’m convinced. Since then, I’ve felt fingers [of spirits] run through my hair while I’m painting in the home.”
The Spirit Seekers have investigated the state Capitol, the Old State House, the Loony Bin comedy club and a former tuberculosis sanitarium in Booneville.
Jason Hall, the team’s assistant director of investigations, said it’s important for the team to remain objective during investigations: Just because they hear footsteps, for example, doesn’t mean a particular site is haunted.
It could be the foundation of the building, Hall said. Older buildings, like the Desha County Courthouse, are more apt to produce unexplainable noises, he said.
“You don’t want to put trash out there, because if you do you lose your credibility,” Hall said. “We are cautious. We don’t just throw a bunch of junk out there.Everything we see, we don’t just say, ‘that’s a ghost.’”
Hall spent time alone in the courtroom with a recorder Saturday night and tried to communicate with the spirits.
His recording sounded like this:
“If you want us to leave, make a noise,” Hall said, pausing for a response.
“If I don’t hear a noise I assume you want us to stay because you like us here,” he continued.
“Great, I’m glad you want us to stay.”
At that point, a noise sounding like two quick snaps of wind could be heard over the recording.
A ghost? Possibly, but Hall said he needs to replay the recording on a more sophisticated sound editing program to make sure.
“We’ll find out later,” he said. “That noise definitely wasn’t me. It was something else.”
This article was published Monday, February 23, 2009. Arkansas section, Pages 7, 8 on 02/23/2009
Talk show host/comedian Bill Maher travels to Israel, England, the Netherlands, Vatican City, and across America, speaking to people about faith and religion in this documentary.
Basically, Bill Maher's religion seems to be that he doesn't know anything for sure, which is pretty much where I fall. He doesn't spend the movie trying to change minds but rather to inspire conversation. He allows whoever he's interviewing to present their thoughts, and often it lets them hang themselves as he mugs to the camera. It's all pretty entertaining I think and provokes about as many laughs as it does thoughts and questions.
One of my favorite interviews is with Arkansas Senator Mark Pryor, who even says "You don't have to pass an IQ test to be in the Senate" as Maher asks questions he simply cannot answer as to the reasons he believes what he believes.
Another great bit in the movie is Maher visiting some religious theme park in Orlando, Florida and having a conversation with "Jesus", one of the mascots. It proves that you really can't take this film too seriously as the comedic value of many parts of it are obvious, but at the same time the underlying point is direct.
A lot of people are going to be offended by this, which is part of the point I think. But it's a simple quest for knowledge really aimed at all religions, he doesn't pick on one in particular. The Jews, Muslims, Christians, Scientologists and some space alien worshiping whackjobs are all targets so maybe you can just laugh at the parts that aren't picking on your particular religion. It's to get people talking, thinking, questioning, defending and debating. Where's the harm in that?
A great quote from the film tells you whether you'll want to see this or not pretty much, depending on your reaction to it. It's from Bill himself, who says "Faith means making a virtue out of not thinking. It's nothing to brag about. And those who preach faith, and enable and elevate it, are our intellectual slaveholders - keeping mankind in a bondage to fantasy and nonsense that has spawned and justified so much lunacy and destruction. Religion is dangerous, because it allows human beings who don't have all the answers to think that they do."
Overall it's very well done; equal parts funny and thought-provoking but wholly (or holy) entertaining.
Oh man this looks awesome. The game will be out March 3rd and features some of the most realistic gameplay and graphics ever for a baseball game. Check out the trailer below and notice at about the 1:34 mark when Albert launches a blast.
It's the weekend before Fat Tuesday, so is that a holiday of some sorts? It should be. Drunken Saturday or something.
I'm officially almost done with basketball and ready to move on to baseball I guess. The Razorbacks really suck and last night UALR, who I'm a season ticket holder for, had their shot to sew up the conference and get their 20th win against the #2 team in the conference, Western Kentucky. Despite a loud crowd and a fun atmosphere, they squandered a decent half-time lead and blew it late with stupid plays. It was just frustrating and I can't see them winning the conference or conference tourney now. So all that's left for me to be interested in really is the NCAA tourney. Bring on baseball! The Cardinals are in camp in Florida (I'm not going this year) and the college teams get rolling this weekend so it feels like a bit of Spring is in the air.
Oh I know, steroids... blah blah blah. I couldn't care less really. Look, it was widespread during that era. Enough. I'm not concerned now in the least who did what. I enjoyed watching Clemons and Bonds and A-Rod and Big Mac play so I'm not going back and erasing those memories from my head or anything. Most of us suspected it was pretty widespread during that time anyway so it's not like anyone can act all shocked now. Just make a note of it and move on. Baseball is still the greatest game going for my money, at any level. That's not changed or going to for me. The Cubs can choke just as well on no performance enhancers as they can on them.
Anywho, so it's Friday, and that means new movie time in the theaters. Only 2 new films open, and I have zero interest in either but what the hell, I'll write about them anyway.
Plot: The two most popular guys in high school decide to ditch football camp for cheerleader camp. For the girls and for the glory. My Thoughts: Get it... "F-U"? I'd say that sort of cerebral humor is about as deep as this moronic looking film will get. It looks like Bring It On from the guy's perspective. Also, the guy playing one of the high school guys, Eric Christian Olsen, is 30-years-old. Good casting. And enough with the cheerleader movies already!
Madea Goes To Jail
The Plot: When Madea's trouble-making antics land her behind bars, among the cast of characters she meets is Candy , a prostitute whose life is off-track and in need of the type of tough love that only Madea can provide. My Thoughts: Another Tyler Perry movie and I've passed on all of them so far, why should this be any different? It isn't. No thanks. I think Madea's gone to the well once too often. Also, I don't want to see poor little Rudy Huxtable play a hooker (she does).
I'm going to spare you the trailers for either one of these. You're welcome.
Trapped in an isolated gas station by a voracious Splinter parasite that transforms its still living victims into deadly hosts, a young couple and an escaped convict must find a way to work together to survive this primal terror.
This movie feels pretty low budget, and as such it's not a bad little horror movie. The acting is pretty decent with the lovely Jill Wagner (Blade, The Series) handling the strong female role quite well and the 2 male leads both being very adequate with their screen time. This is important as it's a pretty character driven piece, which is probably a good thing since the "monster's" time on screen is sort of confusing. They use the real "flickery" or "flashy" style of filming during most of the gory monster scenes so it's sort of hard to tell what's what and just what the hell is going on at times. This may be good though, because I don't think the effects are all that great.
There's a whole lot of tension, a quick pace and plenty of gore. The storyline is pretty well crafted and the execution of it is well done. So it's not that original, trapping several people in an isolated location as a monster tries to get to them, but the monster itself is a little different. It's like a parasite that takes over humans that get pricked by it's "splinters" and it's pretty cool what they do with that. It's got weakness, so there are a few twists here and there. There's some good scares too.
I liked that the characters for the most part behaved intelligently and were interesting also.
Overall it's a pretty entertaining and well made little horror movie.
Here's Mudvayne's new video for the song "A New Game". I don't know what the hells going on here, but I keep thinking I'm watching a Target commercial or something with all the red and white. Odd choice for a single and odd choice for a video in my opinion, but I love these guys and the new CD rocks.
A group of young adults visit Camp Crystal Lake to party and soon encounter Jason Voorhees and his deadly intentions.
Well I think we all knew exactly what to expect here... a bunch of good looking tweens getting separated, then offed in a bunch of difference ways. That's exactly what you get as well. There's nothing remotely original about this, but it's still well-done for what it is. It's a bit glossier than most of the sequels and feels a bit more real as you're right in the middle of the action.
The cast is solid, with lots of horror "veterans" (as veteran as you can be at their age) like Jared Padalecki (Supernatural, House of Wax), Amanda Righetti (Return to House on Haunted Hill) and Derek Mears (The Hills Have Eyes II) as Jason. The rest of the cast is filled out by eye candy and several aren't shy about showing their goods. Nudity, drug use and the f-bomb are pretty regular occurrences.
There's a lot of typical stupid behavior which gets a little frustrating. Jason is suddenly deciding he's pissed off again and even kills a local. Why he just decided to kill a guy who'd been living there for years was odd. How the cops apparently searched for weeks for some missing people at the camp and didn't find any blood or tunnels or anything. Speaking of tunnels, do they mine right next to lakes? I wouldn't think they would but I'm no mine expert. The characters most make really stupid decisions, like seeing Jason on the shore from the water and then swimming to that side of the lake. Most baffling was the ending, at which point most of the logic of the movie feeling "real" was tossed out.
But c'mon, these movies aren't about the acting or the script, they're about the kills and chases and such. It delivers in those areas. It looks good. The cast looks good. Overall it's a well made slasher flick... there's just nothing that really stands out. It's just gory, mean and predictable. It's a fun time for genre fans though.
UFC 95 is coming up next weekend (Feb 21st) and there are some solid match-ups on the card but I think it's missing a real big "main event" caliber fight. At least it's free on Spike TV and not pay-per-view.
The Diego Sanchez vs. Joe Stevenson fight should be good though and I think Dan Hardy vs. Rory Markham, Wilson Gouveia vs. Nate Marquardt, and Demian Maia vs. Chael Sonnen are all good on paper. I'm picking the Sonnen/Maia fight as the potential fight of the night.