Thursday, June 3, 2010

ThunderCats! HOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

Usually I am not excited about old movies or TV shows being updated and refreshed, but I found myself excited by this news from the Gizmodo via the Hollywood Reporter, that Thudercats is going to be coming back on Cartoon Network. Check out the link to Gizmodo and Hollywood Reporter

I remember liking the original ThunderCats when I was little. I used to pretend to be Tygra with my magic whip that made me invisible. I would wake up early to try to watch it, but for some reason i could never consistently watch it. i would just see random episodes here and there with little cohesion in what i was watching. Now i get another chance as an adult in indulge my inner child on these characters again. I have two fears however about this remake
1) Snarf - man that guy was annoying
2) it will shatter the good memories i have of ThunderCats from my childhood, cause it will suck.

I am happy to see its being made by the studio that made the Animatrix cause i dug that, and i also like Anime so maybe it will be awesome! I will definitely be setting my DRV to record this when it comes out!

I do hope though that they can come up with some new ideas rather than just digging up these old shows. Its fun sometimes but come on we need something new!

Why I don’t care that ATT is eliminating the unlimited data option.

It was announced that ATT is no longer going to offer the unlimited data option for smartphones on new contracts, and frankly I don’t care. First off I never go anywhere near 2gb on my Iphone. I think on average I use about 700mb a month of data (I check it a whole bunch via the ATT app). I don’t really stream music or movie on my Iphone, and I don’t usually use it for pulling down large files, that’s what one for the three computers I have in my possession is for. Now it’s possible that when the new OS comes out that allows for multi tasking I will end up consuming more data with things like Pandora, but I still don’t think I will be getting close to the cap. If I owned an Ipad and I was streaming movies or TV on it this might cause me to leap up in usage and maybe I will have an issues with the cap, but at far as I am concerned if you are using the Ipad to stream movies and TV you should probably be on a wireless connection which would not eat into your data cap. In most places I can think of where I would want to whip out my Idevice and stream some TV I would have access to some kind of wireless connection so using the data would not be required, I am hard pressed to think of a place where I would really need to stream that TV show now where I would not be on wireless. Ok, one of the changes that is also coming out in the new OS is the ability to actually tether your phone to a computer or device. This is nifty, but again I do not think I will be tethering my phone to a computer and then doing data intensive things, I mean yeah if there was no cap I wouldn’t have to care, but as more ATT customer will tell you the network kinda blows, so if my choice is to stream that Stargate episode to my computer on a tethered connection or to wait till I am on a wireless connection I will wait till I am on the wireless, and off the network. I don’t really have much of a personal used case for tethering, but I am sure there are people out there that will use the hell out of this feature, but again I don’t think the use will be for things that require a lot of data usage, more for things like; getting your email at the airport, or in a cab.

Second as I mentioned ATT kinda blows. As more and more people buy Smartphones on the ATT network and use those smart phones for data it will degrade and degrade the network. Putting this cap in place, a cap that ATT claims will not affect like 90% of users (me included) it will hopefully help with the network congestions. It will make people more responsible with their data usage. Now I guess the claim could be made that since ATT already has the problems they have and already almost no one is reaching the cap it might not help at all, but if more and more phones come on the network they eat a bigger and bigger chunk of the pie even if they don’t use more data than the current users. This does not give ATT a free pass to just keep things they way they are they need to spend the time and the money to boost their network and increase the bandwidth and the reliability of the network as a whole, which leads me to my penultimate point as to why I don’t care that they changed the policy on the data plans

Eventually I think that these networks will get to a place where it will be possible to offer the unlimited data package again, granted it will probably come back as a more expensive option, but I personally believe that it will be back.

Lastly this will end up saving me money. When I bought the Iphone I had to bundle it with the $30 a month data plan, if I can shave off a few bucks a month with a plan with a cap that I don’t think I will ever reach I am all for it. Granted my contract has more than a year and a half on it so I will get to enjoy my unlimited plan till I need to renew, and who know what phone or provider I will end up with when that happens.
So there is my 2 cents on the ATT data plan change. In summary I don’t care.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Hobbit Dream Team

So you've probably heard the news that Pan's Labyrinth director Guillermo del Toro has stepped down as director for the much delayed Hobbit movies. This is really disappointing since he has already shown he's a great director of fantasy movies. So who would be a good replacement? Here is my DREAM directors for this movie:

Zombie Jim Henson - With movies like Labyrinth and Dark Crystal in his wheelhouse, Jim Henson is an obvious choice for one of the best fantasy stories ever told. His creature workshop could breath new life into Tolkien's middle earth. David Bowie as a sexy Gandalf?
Why it won't work: He is dead.

Tim Burton - Movies like Sleepy Hollow and Big Fish suggest a director who could do this, but self indulgent movies like Willie Wonka suggest otherwise. If we could get a time machine and grab Tim Burton before he got too big for his britches and decided he can just stamp his own stylistic nonsense onto any franchise he wishes no matter how great (batman, planet of the apes, willy wonka oh god), then it would work. Why it won't work: No part for Johnny Depp

Terry Gilliam - Movies like Baron von Munchhausen and Time Bandits have the feel you want in a fantasy movie. Amazing sets and whimsical characters, made his movies awesome
Why it won't work: His incredible bad luck would be compounded by the bad luck this movie already has and it would create a black hole

Wait who directed HellBoy? He would be great!
Why it won't work: That was Guillermo del Toro you moron.

George Lucas: You know that time machine I wanted to grab for Tim Burton? Do that with him, but grab him hot off the heels of producing Willow.
Why it won't work: jar jar baggins

Peter Jackson: He did a stellar job with the LotR trilogy, but I was happy to see that he wanted someone else to direct the hobbit. The Hobbit was written in a different type of language than LotR so it would be fitting for it to be told a different way on film. It needs some more stylistic charm to it than the LotR. Some time has gone by and he could probably do that now. He could look at it with fresh eyes, and pull off telling this story the way it needs to be told.
Why it won't work: Currently because he says he won't do it.

I really hope Peter Jackson caves and takes the reins on this one, or someone comes out of obscurity to hit it out of the park like he did for LotR.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Still Hope For Better Off Ted? Probably Not, But We'll Try

Long story short, if the NBA finals don't go to game seven, we get the last two un-aired episodes.

If you have never seen this show, season 1 is on Netflix Instant Watch and it's got a great cast, excellent joke delivery that doesn't stop to explain itself, and was solidly written.

I'll leave this list of outtakes (they had to make a PC version for ABC obviously but filmed the naughty bits) to prove my point.

Season Wrap-Up: Community, Season 1

First off, fuck CBS and fuck Big Bang Theory for putting the next season in Community's timeslot. Way to take more ratings away from shows that deserve them. But I digress.

If it wasn't for Community, Modern Family would be my favorite new show. As it stands, Community kicks everything else in the teeth. The season ended last week and some people were disappointed, others speculative.

Love is in the... uh...

Let's go over the finale and the episode before it. I'm including the episode prior to the finale because Modern Warfare really blew things out of the water in terms of the show's humor and tight writing. A lot of fans were curious how they could outdo such a great episode.

I wouldn't say they came close. However, with season 2 on the way, there still had to be some kind of closure to the show that leads it into next fall. And I think for how intense Modern Warfare was, it was jarring to go back to the usual Greendale. Once you get that out of the way, English As A Second Language was classic stuff. Jeff deconstructing Annie and using Abed's love of movies to deter him from giving in to her charms is brilliant. Senor Chang's mental breakdown leading to a fight with Jeff on top of his smashed Lexus with a keytaur is not something I can say I saw coming. Despite Chang's lost teaching status he's still on the roster, and the study group has moved to taking Anthropology next year. It maintained the same bar of quality and referential humor, while paving an excuse to keep the group together.

A roll of quarters, why?

Speaking of keeping the group together, Pascal's Triangle Revisited was a very interesting episode. Troy learns that living with Abed would be a bad thing for their friendship (as noted by eating a gigantic cookie as the episode goes on). The dean's fetish for dalmatians comes full force, Jon Oliver returns as professor Duncan and tries to hit on everyone, and Britta competes in the Transfer Queen competition, as noted by the banners on all the contestants that say Tranny Queen. One of the contestants is listed as Danielle Harmon, get it? Tranny queen? Never mind. But speaking of Dan Harmon, his love for trolling his fans knows no bounds. A conflict happens and Jeff has to decide between Britta and professor Slater as they both love him.

Now, here Jeff makes a point, and I think there is something in the air that's plagued multiple season finale writers (HIMYM and 30 Rock made the same conclusions about finding yourself). Jeff is undecided because Britta is the kind of woman who fits the slob lifestyle he lives now, but Slater fits the sophisticated lifestyle he wants. In the end, he picks Annie. The Community slashfic groups on the internet probably spontaneously combusted. This is one of the ways Dan Harmon trolls his audience, and I love him for it.

So what does this mean looking ahead? The show often retcons itself by stating flat out something's done and over with, so I'm not worried. Duncan probably spiked the punch or something stupid will come along and everyone will back off and go back to normal. While some shows suffer from a reset button every episode, Community manages to keep it up by letting the base study group be the launching point for something ridiculous. The words "Last week, on Community" aren't words I'd expect to see on-air, and it's sort of comforting knowing every time you tune in you will be rewarded with something great.

Moving to the entire season, it's had a flawless run. There was a lot of dissension among the ranks over the episode Investigative Journalism due to everyone hating Jack Black, but to those people I say you're an idiot for not realizing that Jack Black's whole purpose was to be deliberately annoying, showing the group that they don't need a wacky fat guy who kicks. Sometimes I think the meta jokes might have flown by, but I've been saying it all season long: Community is a niche show. It fits a specific sect of nerds and people who have been cramming media and popular culture into their mouth like a buffet table at a feeder convention. If I had to guess, I'd say people who like MST3k probably make up this demographic a good bit.

But while it appeases a specific audience, it does it well. Some shows like Big Bang Theory feel like they wrote the word "nerd" on a piece of paper and started a bullet point list on how nerds act based on what people thought of them in 1985. We're all still socially awkward, but we have so much pop culture on our side that we are disappointed when someone doesn't get our references, and Community challenges us in that respect. There are so many layers in most of the jokes. The first one that comes to mind is Jeff and Troy dressing Pierce up as the Cookie Crisp wizard, leading to this line:

"It’s not a meteor, it’s a cookie wand! Me and Jeff made it because it made you look more like the Cookie Crisp wizard! Which is not even a reference I get, because the Cookie Crisp mascot wasn’t a wizard when I was kid! It was a burglar!"

Without getting too distracted, if you're reading this blog, you probably already watch or should watch this show. It may have not had perfect ratings, but it had a perfect season. It's inspired debate and discussion, most of which end up being solved with "you're thinking about this show too hard." Years from now there will be people assuming this show is an indulgent guilty pleasure, but a guilty pleasure means it's something you wouldn't normally watch. This is a show practically catered to you. Enjoy it.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Season Wrap-Up: Modern Family, Season 1

Of the new shows that came out this season, Modern Family brought back the family sitcom. It finished its first season last week with a great finale.

This is one of the funniest things I have seen in my life, hands down.

The finale was billed as a three-parter, which doesn't make sense given the previous two episodes were linked together when the family vacationed to Hawaii, and the finale was about a group photo back home. These were all amazing episodes regardless. I really wish I had something negative to say about the past season as a talking point, but it's been a consistent level of comedy from start to finish. Ed O'Neill never lost his comedic touch and the faint glimmers of Al Bundy still live on in Jay Pritchett. Ty Burrel is both adorable and retarded as Phil. Eric Stonestreet and Tyler Ferguson play the best TV gay couple ever with Cam and Mitch and it never stops being laugh out loud hilarious when one or both of them panic uncontrollably. Everyone is just into their role perfectly. Much like Community, the cast outside of the show acts practically like a family, and I think when you have a cast that are very good friends and lob jokes at each other off the set, you get actors that work naturally together. And for a show about a family, that is really essential for selling some of the crazier things that have happened on the show.

I keep my wallet in my front pocket, so that's what that is.

But back to the original point: the family sitcom has grown stale for a while. Watching an episode of The Middle before Modern Family comes on is like night and day, and one thing I've liked about the better new shows lately is they're adapting to a more updated form of comedy. Yes, you're always going to have your 2 And A Half Mens and things you label under Stuff Old People Love For No Apparent Reason, but there will always be people reinventing the wheel. I really don't think a premier season for has gone off this well in a while, I mean they renewed the snow in January, and on average gets 9-10 million viewers each week.

AND YET BETTER OFF TED GETS CANCELE- okay I need to get off that train, but I'm going to be bitter about ABC until the season 2 DVDs are released and I can watch the final two episodes.

Overall, Modern Family has a grounded basis in well-known sitcom stereotypes, but refuses to indulge in them. You can passively watch the show from the distance and point out, "oh that's the bratty kid, that's the nerdy kid, that's a dumb dad," and so on, but it isn't until you sit down and watch that you see that there is a lot of complexity to all the characters, and that is revealed only when they interact with each other. Phil trying to find something in the garage and tripping up is one thing. Phil trying to find something in the garage and tripping up as his wife reads the list to the symptoms of ADHD, matching Phil's actions, is amazing. If there are two or more main characters on screen or playing off each other (whether they know it or not, like the clip above), it's like comedic alchemy. You know the end result will be a work of art, even if you're unsure about the ingredients going in.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Season Wrap-Up: How I Met Your Mother, Season 5

I am sort of on the fence for this season of MIMYM. I might be biased having watched seasons 1-4 and half of season 5 in a row, but this season was very haphazard in how it handled the characters and their interactions.

I am Christophe... Doppelganger.

Let's get the finale out of the way first. There was a lot of charming moments, but also a lot of awkward ones too. The episode felt longer than it was and I was worried that Marshal and Lily were going to put off having a kid for even longer. But in the end, Barney and Ted are still where they are. Robin choosing to stay in New York was an advancement of her character, but a predictable one. And let's face it, "put a baby in my belly" is a very awkward line to deliver in anything. Probably even a porno. But they did it twice.

Despite my complaints it was really funny. Barney's attempt at being his own doppelganger was great, as was his plan to have sex with everyone from every country. The episode was light on callbacks, the only one I can remember off-hand is Ted thinking he can pull off being a blonde (much like the boots). And wow does he look terrible as one. I'm glad someone in the show finally advanced their lives, and Ted's speech about how the gang became their own doppelgangers was sweet, and the fake-out soon after made me laugh but also want to slap the writers for tricking me so well.

I guess I had two major things that didn't sit right with me: I can understand that Lily is seeing what she wants to see cause she's ready to have a child, but at the same time, isn't it kind of cruel to lie and indulge her in seeing Barney's doppelganger? If the situation was that she kept seeing Barney everywhere, then I could sympathize with the rest of the group, but four months? Wouldn't it be more of the right thing to do to admit the doppelganger promise was just silly? It really seems out of character for everyone to lie to Lily, especially Marshal. And about something she has to spend 9 months carrying, moreso when it's an Eriksen kid.

Second thing ties into the rest of the season: Nothing happened. Robin had her ups and downs but ended up single and living with Ted. Ted bought a house but the only mention of it died in the same episode it started. There was a lot of one-shot episodes this season where everyone tried something different, then settled back to usual. Robin was the only one with a dynamic change to her character, but it didn't get a lot of screentime so she still felt like her issues were in the background. Torturing Barney in Slapsgiving 2 was great, but has Lily's father been back or mentioned since? It's a random thought but when I look over this season I keep seeing episodes where something happened, and it was never mentioned again. Nothing was added to these characters.

I think the continued success and seasons of the show might start to kill it. It's still extremely funny, but it doesn't need to constantly reset it self and essentially stalling. Every time Ted meets someone, it's always a different person every episode. He hasn't had a consistent girlfriend and it's easy to forget that the show is all about Ted. I was hoping Judy Greer would be Ted's girlfriend for a while after the end of The Wedding Bride (that and in the hopes of a future breakup episode with the line, "Say goodbye to THESE!"), and yes one episode isn't enough to tell that, but throw me a bone here.

Over the summer I will probably watch through the series or at least this season again just to get a better judgement call on the whole thing. I just don't want to see this show fall to the wayside after 4 strong seasons and one really funny but roundabout season. It's too early to pan it, or to make that decision until season 6. I'm probably being greedy, but I wanted something more, and with the show's namesake, that's not much to ask.