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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Chord Overstreet will not be a regular on Glee for the third season

He wasn't our favorite character, but he was far from the most annoying and cut-worthy. Also, he had one of the best male voices on the show. We disapprove. Just because you don't know what to do with the character doesn't mean that you should cut the actor.

Also, we have to agree with this list of reasons he shouldn't have been cut.

We need more dorky nerds on Glee. And Sean Connery impressions. He will, of course, be able to appear as a guest star and might be bumped up to regular later. He just won't be on as much as the regulars.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Falling Skies

Now that the two-hour premiere and a second episode have aired, we feel ready to give an opinion on this show. The premise is not unlike that of V, a show we constantly panned on this blog. There are no politics and playing nice though, which is fine with us, because there is just action. This sort of reminds us of V meets The Walking Dead. It’s apocalyptic, there is a group of survivors, a racist guy challenges them, and people need to be rescued. It’s not as horrifying or gory as either show though.

Aliens have taken over and are kidnapping and controlling children. An ex-professor (Noah Wyle, finally escaping crap like The Librarian 2) wants to get his son back, has two other sons and a dead wife, and his joined with a group of rebels. The people on the show are dirty, but attractive. The pacing is slower than you would hope, but it’s already more entertaining than V. It’s not nerdy enough for us so far. If you bring in aliens, we want some serious nerd stuff. It’s surprisingly good for TNT.

Another good thing? We already care about the characters and parent-child relationships more than we did with V. Much more. We’re not sure if this is saying much, since there wasn’t a single person on V that we could give a flip about. Falling Skies also suffers from lame special effects, probably due to budget constraints.

Our bottom line on this right now is that the show is not bad. We would not yet recommend it to people with confidence though. Check it out if you want.

Grade: B

Popcorn Brain

Beware the popcorn brain. It will make you dumb and unable to concentrate on substantial things. We thought we'd warn our readers, since they are obviously addicted to the internet. And TV. Don't stop reading though! haha

The Tree of Life review

We write reviews for real people with taste. Not for the average high school kid that is entertained by something like the second Transformers movie, but also not for film nerds who jizz themselves every time an auteur director comes out with something pretentious. There are people who loved The Tree of Life, and we loved PARTS of it, but this review is filled with caveats for the normal person.

Before you see this movie, here's what you need to know so that you won't be one of the MANY people walking out of this one:

1) Be aware that is a mostly visual experience. There’s very little dialogue, especially in the first hour. There’s not much of a premise, build-up, climax, resolution plot that you are used to in movies. It’s nonlinear.

2) You’re going to need quite the attention span to enjoy this. If you are not a patient person and are just looking for quick entertainment for the night, don’t even bother. The first hour is the most trying part of this movie. If you make it up to the birth of the couple’s children, then you will be out of the woods. You need patience to stick through this. During the creation montage, about 20 people in our theatre walked out, and we convulsed into laughing fits, making jokes. A guy was heard saying, "The is bulls***." One old woman, while walking out, just looked at us and busted out in laughter along with us. The mood was definitely, “WTF? This is just sad.” Pretty, but totally unaware of how it’s coming across. If you are a normal moviegoer, go with your funny little brother or your drunk friend, and you will greatly enjoy the first half. If you want a serious experience, don’t take this person. There is lots of unintentional humor in this movie’s first half. It’s a real shame, because it’s not what the director intended.

3) Yeah, it’s totally pretentious and at least 45 minutes too long. In the last 20 minutes, you will keep expecting the credits to roll only to keep seeing a bunch of people wandering on a beach. It’s like the ending of Lord of the Rings where they ended it five times, only you don’t care as much and it’s just one long ending rather than five short, good ones.

4) Everyone is talking about the performances. Brad Pitt is good, but his child actor son gets the most to do. Sean Penn has almost nothing to do except walk around and look morose, having his chin filmed. (The director chose to have the cameras sit underneath the actors’ faces and film them from that vantage point…a lot. We have not yet figured out the reason for this, but there has to be one).

5) It’s not as emotionally satisfying as you would believe from the trailer or from knowing the themes that are tackled. This movie should be incredibly emotionally satisfying, but it only really delivers the visual beauty. We chalk this up to the inconsistent tone. From boring to funny to real to pretentious and back to boring. It takes our moods through an unfortunate ride. There are some moments that ring true, especially between the parents and their children, but the movie has too much other stuff dragging that down.

The good: There is so little mentioning of spirituality in most mainstream movies and when it is mentioned, it is often trite and/or shallow. We will give this movie credit for taking on lots of huge universal themes and being very overtly spiritual. It’s ballsy, and sure to offend people who aren’t into that kind of thing. The “plot” of the movie is that a boy finds God. Don’t cry spoiler at us. There’s no plot, and even if there were, it’s not linear, and the main character mentions it in the beginning voiceovers.

When do you EVER see that in a quality movie with a budget that is not a made-for-TV special on the Hallmark channel, heavy-handed, cheesy, and specifically geared toward Christians? The message, introduced early, so this isn’t a spoiler, is that there are two paths, the one of nature and the one of grace. Nature is competitive and ruthless, and grace isn’t just out for itself. It also features lots of prayer.

The movie is beautiful. There is great animation and nature shots. It’s just gorgeous. We could have done without one horrible, screeching opera song during a space montage (and this is coming from an opera lover. Just because it’s classical music doesn’t mean it’s good music). But there was plenty of good classical music played after that. We loved Pitt’s character realizing that he had missed the point in life by trying to “be someone” and get glory, when he should have just existed and enjoyed what was important. The father-son relationship felt authentic. We know lots of fathers like that. The movie is easy to relate to.

The dialogue that was present (although there was very little) was to-the-point, good, and sometimes profound. The dialogue and message were tailor-made for this blogger, who places a higher value on grace than almost anything. Heck, knowing God is super up-there too. It’s not like this is Richard Dawkins writing this! The fact that this blogger didn’t love this movie is insane, since this is pretty much this guy’s target audience: Movie nerd softie who loves spiritual things and pretty pictures. This movie should have floored this blogger.

Best time and place to watch this? If there were ever a movie to go to alone, it’s this one. If you aren’t worried about what your companions are thinking and if you are in a completely serious mood, you will probably get to experience what the director wanted you to experience. As an art project celebrating the beauty of life and creation, it totally works. As a movie, it’s mostly pretty lousy, with a few good scenes.

First half: D
Second Half: B
Visuals: A+
As art: A
As gripping entertainment: D-
As a movie: C+

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Pretty Little Liars - My Name is Trouble review

What is it about this show that won’t let Emily do anything wrong, ever? While the other three girls have messed-up, big time, A had to do the dirty deed of making sure Mrs. Fields got the phony letter from the college. True, Emily didn’t correct her mom and tell her that the letter was faked. But why must Emily be the only angel among the four?

We were psyched to see a flashback of Alison where she wasn’t a one-dimensional (albeit, awesome), mean, scheming brat. She felt unsafe in her home with Jason and his friends and even shed a tear in front of Spencer. That’s probably why Spencer wasn’t afraid of her. Ladies, never cry in front of your enemies. It does nothing to keep the fear alive.

Wren is back! In case you forgot about him, he was Melissa’s old fiancĂ© from the beginning of season one who started having a thing for Spencer. When he and Spencer were caught, Melissa dumped him and he disappeared from the show. We love that Melissa was sneaking out to meet him and not Ian. That genuinely surprised us. Melissa was showing a secret someone an ultrasound last week. Is it Wren’s baby? We don’t like that idea, because we liked Wren with Spencer, and if it’s his baby, he’s going to be pretty attached to Melissa.

Toby is fine, for now, and he looked good without his shirt on, but we don’t see him as a real partner for Spencer, long-term. They are bonded over the towns suspicion and misunderstanding of them. When that goes away, what will they really have in common? Like Spencer is going to be forever intellectually stimulated by a guy with a GED who works construction… There is nothing wrong with either of those things, but the almighty Man Pride might make the relationship go sour when Spencer becomes Secretary of State. Just sayin’.

That was a touching scene with Spencer and Melissa where Spencer asked for her sister’s loyalty and protection, something she had when they were littler. Melissa claimed to not remember and said, “Don’t make me choose between you and my husband (Ian).” Laaaame. In her defense, that would be a very tough call. Husband or sister? But on this show, that’s an easy choice, because Ian is sketchy and violent, whereas Spencer is awesome.

Melissa was being such a sneaky butt that we weren’t even mad when Spencer stole Melissa’s wedding ring and sold it to a pawn shop to buy Toby a truck. But we’re pretty sure that’s going to come back and bite them in some way. We can just see Toby arrested for theft, refusing to rat out Spencer.

Hanna’s mom and dad were getting cozy, so Hanna deleted a text from her dad’s fiancĂ©e so that this other relationship would go down the toilet. We don’t blame her. At all. Maybe that’s why we want Emily to be bad too…we like when the girls are a little bad. Bad, but not stupid bad (like Aria dating Ezra). Hanna balanced it out with some good: trying to help Lucas land a school hottie. We love this idea! On the one hand, we don’t want Lucas with Hanna. She belongs to Caleb. On the other, we love him and want to see him happy. Hanna as cupid sounds great to us. And entertaining. That could be her calling. She could have a show like The Millionaire Matchmaker.

Jackie Molina sighting! Although she wasn’t given much to do yet, Jackie spotted Ezra and Aria canoodling. Hopefully she figures out that Aria is a child soon (if she doesn't already know, since they've met once before, albeit briefly). Ezra and Aria have moved their risky PDA to Hollis. Aria is taking a class there. She so would. She can’t bear to not be a student in a place where Ezra is teaching. After all, it’s not as fun when it’s more appropriate, right? (Wrong.) Keep in mind that Aria’s dad is teaching at Hollis too. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Even if you like this couple, you have to admit that, for this, they deserve to get caught.

Aria’s class is an art class, because that’s probably the only class she is smart enough to take at Hollis. It’s so easy a blind girl can do it! We feel a little bad for laughing when Jenna came onscreen making ceramic pots. Maybe Jenna just likes a challenge. She had a cool tearful moment. We’re starting to think that Jenna is the most well-rounded, interesting character on this show. Creepy as all get-out though. When she found out that Aria was in the class and she had accidently poured out her heart to this girl, she was very upset. Understandable, since Aria’s friends slapped her glasses off in the bathroom, blinded her, and threatened her. Love it. Keep it up, bad girls.
This was an entertaining episode, but are there too many characters on this show? Do they really expect us to remember every guy who came and went a year ago? Well, if they're as hot as Wren we will, but otherwise not so much.
Episode Grade: A-

Weeds - Bags review

Weeds has reinvented itself again with these same characters…many of whom readers and viewers of the show have lost all sympathy for. Nancy has been in jail for three years. She hasn’t even served half her sentence when she is released out of gratitude from the FBI agent she helped last season.

Why the light sentence for the murder of Pilar? Well, she pled manslaughter/self-defense. Nancy had a lesbian lover in prison. This is unsurprising, because not even women can resist the sexiest mom of all time, especially in prison where men are not an option. Also, it seems like everyone on TV is getting a lesbian lover nowadays.

The rest of the Botwin clan are just as weird, but less entertaining, without Nancy. Of course, they are all going to leave their cool, carefree lives in Copenhagen to come enable Nancy to be a very inept criminal again. She’s doing something with hand grenades and other weapons right now, for her jail lover. That sounds more compelling than selling weed….again.

Also, Silas as a male model? That FINALLY happened. Good job, show. Finally doing something realistic. Shane is more bearable. Andy is about a thousand times lamer. He’s a tour guide. Still in love with Nancy too. Baby Stevie is all grown up and so cute! But he calls his mom “Nancy.” It’s Nancy’s jerk sister’s fault.

Let us now mourn for Esteban Reyes, the serial spanker and gangster from the last two seasons, who the FBI agent tells us was found dead in prison. We are sad about this. He brought some real danger to the show. Also, he was pretty hot. Say it ain’t so. Maybe.

Who knows if the right body was identified or if someone covered for Esteban/it’s all a conspiracy. It’s possible. He could show up at the end of this season. But, then again, the actor has been doing lots of movie roles, so he’s probably busy. But what an anticlimactic way to get rid of what was probably the show’s biggest villain. Andy should have gotten to shoot him or something.

It might be this show’s last season. While it moves swiftly and has gotten less pretentious, it might be time to end it after this year. It has never been a chore to watch, but it is far from a favorite. And Walter White is simply the superior TV drug dealer. Nancy is kind of a moron.

This was a predictable, average start to the season. The only remarkable thing about this episode was the awesome catch Shane made when his ex-lover threw his laptop at us. The fact that she was an old puppeteer and wanted to be impregnated didn't even make us blink. It's Shane. Of course that's his girlfriend.

Episode grade: C+

True Blood - She's Not There review

We love the song “She’s Not There”! It was featured in the closing credits too. Anyway, the season four premiere actually had a lot going on. Thankfully, there was a one-year time jump so the characters who were just mopey and lame (Bill, Tara) are interesting again.

When we left Sookie Stackhouse, she was in the land of the faeries. She spent what felt like fifteen minutes there, but apparently time is different on another plane, so when she got back to the normal world, more than a year had passed. Sookie must be special, because she is the only part-faerie who figured out that it was dangerous for part humans to stay in faerieland. Unrealistic. She grabbed her grandfather (who was also there) and escaped. Queen Mab showed up, and she was ugly. Some ugly bat dudes appeared and randomly helped Sookie escape. Sookie’s grandfather died once he got back to earth, because he had eaten the faery fruit.

So….yeah….that was that. The best that can be said about those events is that they happened quickly. The show didn’t waste too much of our time on such stupidity. Or maybe that’s the WORST thing that can be said about it. It felt really rushed and it made little sense. After all the faerie build-up, we are a little annoyed at how that panned out.

Sookie returned to find out that Eric bought her house so that she would be “his.” He stole Bill’s “Sookie is mine” line, only he butchered it. Jason is way less annoying than he has ever been and seems like a decent cop. His backwoods creepo were-panthers locked him in a freezer though. He’s still hanging out with them and caring for them even though Crystal is gone. Andy is still annoying.

Bill and Eric have been trying to clean up the vampire community’s reputation post-Russell, and they are particularly smooth at it. Seriously, we would listen to them. And vote for them. And sleep with them. Pam tried, but she came off as super-stiff and fake. Kind of like…nope….we’re not going to go there. No politics. But we are voting for Romney, in case you were wondering.

Bill and everyone else thought that Sookie was dead, but Eric “never gave up on” her and has to remind Sookie of that a LOT, as if denial makes him a much more attractive option than everyone else she loves. Bill and Sookie remain broken up (good), Bill is the new vampire king (too bad we didn’t get to see him fight the queen), and he is dating Andy’s sister Portia. Way to move on quickly.

Jesus is trying to get Lafayette to embrace his witch powers and keeps taking him to a Wiccan coven that contains Petunia Dursley from the Harry Potter movies. She does not have a British accent in this, but we are still pretty sure that it’s her. We guess her latent witch powers for which she envied her sister Lily finally surfaced. She must have shunned Hogwarts for some middle school goth’s backyard and some serious drugs though. She is looking scarier than ever, bringing dead birds back to life, and channeling dead Eddie (who used to sleep with Lafayette). We’re kind of impressed with her acting skills. She’s weird. And she will be sticking around. This is the year of the witch. Honestly, we kind of wish Lafayette had died in season two like he was supposed to. And we preferred Jesus on Southland.

Tara is now some ultimate fighter dating a beautiful lesbian martial arts master. We find this superior to everyone else Tara has ever been involved with. The lesbian lover doesn’t know Tara’s real name or where she grew up. Tara is kind of a liar right now. We still find her useless.

Tommy has replaced Hoyt, living with Hoyt’s mom and taking care of him. It’s really funny. Jessica and Hoyt fight a lot and even that just turns out to be adorable and purehearted. Sam found some friends who share his same powers. He was really mad at Sookie and is far from the mopey nice guy he started out as on this show. Arlene’s baby seems to be a devil baby. He ripped the heads off of Barbie dolls. Arlene is more concerned than Terry, and we are not concerned at all.

So, to recap: Tara, Andy, Lafayette, Bill, Arlene, and Crystal still annoy us. Sam and Jesus just started annoying us. We still like Pam, Hoyt, Jessica, Eric (yum), Terry, and Hoyt’s crazy mom. We just started liking Petunia Dursley, Portia, and Jason Stackhouse. We go back and forth on Sookie. Where was Alcide?

This show is such a mixed bag. But we like the way things are heading. New positions for Bill, single Sookie, and creepy witches. It has to be better than last year, right? Fans of the show should be pleased with this premiere. It's more of the same, only different enough to still be interesting. This season has been hyped like crazy. It needs to come through.

Episode grade: B+

We hope you're ready for everyone to be called "Dawg" again and for 16-year-old girls to get creeped upon....

Because Randy Jackson and Steven Tyler have been confirmed for the next season of American Idol. J-Lo is still on the fence.

Randy is the most useless judge of any season (except for maybe Ellen), and he needs to realize that everyone wants him gone. Just go retire and live your life, dawg. He always has an agenda too.

Tyler spends most of his time in a stupor, using nonsense sayings and cursing. When he snaps out of it and becomes coherent, he's useful though. And he knows how to pick good contestants.

Still, this show should cycle in new judges every year since Cowell is gone.

The Glee Project - Young Misfits Compete to Be the Next Character to Annoy Us on Glee!

We are so glad that Emily got kicked off, because she’s the fakest faker who ever faked, except for maybe Lindsey. She had a real moment when she talked about how she was used sexually by music producers but overall, we weren’t digging the schtick. We don’t think she lied about her past, but we don’t think we have to like her because something bad happened to her.

We liked Damien’s sign that said “Numb” because it’s relatable to a lot of people who go to a job they don’t like, punch in and punch out, and then go home to have a few beers, go to sleep and repeat the cycle. There are very few people living lives that they are passionate about, and most people do go through their days just trying to get by and not tick other people off, doing what is expected.

We thought it was blunt and admirably honest for Hannah to pick “fat.” It’s sort of what everyone is thinking, and she just addressed it, putting it out there. We really liked the contestants’ "Mad World" cover and video. We’re digging Cameron right now. We like his voice and how secure he is. He wasn’t holding back some secret or emotion. He just really is mature and well-adjusted. Damien and Cameron should not have been in the bottom two. They were fine. At least we got to see them do solos.

We wonder if Cameron’s admission that he is a Christian will help or hurt him. Ideally, we think it should neither help nor hurt him in the contest, but that’s not always the case in political show business. On the one hand, Ryan Murphy was more than fair to religious people and Christians in his season two religion episode. On the other, Christians aren’t the coolest group in town right now, and most of them aren’t supportive of the homosexual lifestyle. And Glee? Well, duh.

Cameron did a nice version of "Your Song", but it was true that it had little emotion. Ryan Murphy says the person that this show picked is “perfect” for Glee. We wonder if they will be well-received and get more than the guaranteed seven episodes. Not a lot of people are watching The Glee Project. It is possible that people are just “Glee’d out” and want a break for the summer. We think the more probably reason is that no one wants the “real” world to collide with their fictional show. If you know the actor in real life, it might ruin the fantasy of the Glee world to have to pretend they are just a character.

Favorites: Cameron, Hannah, McKynleigh