Archive for the Entertainment tag

Mike

The Format, Free Album Download

Mike, Music No Comment

Get it at The Format’s site. To celebrate the 1 Year Anniversary of the release of Dog Problems the album is being offered for free. Well, you do have to give an email address that signs you up for their newsletter, they say you can opt out. I had been looking to get this album but at Best Buy it was about $14, way more than I’m willing to spend on any CD. I took advantage of this offer yesterday. I’d heard two of the tracks on Sirius over the past few months and love them both: The Compromise and She Doesn’t Get It. The tracks are mp3s encoded at 256k VBR. Very solid and very cool of The Format. The download is free until July 16th, so get over there.

Mike

New Tuesday

Entertainment, Mike No Comment

DVD
Animaniacs Volume 3 and Pinky & the Brain Volume 3 – Animaniacs is my favorite cartoon ever. It was the show I would watch every day when I got home from school. Pinky & the Brain were so good they got their own spin-off. I still think of them all together as one big ball of greatness. A few years ago Toon Disney (I’m pretty sure that was the channel) started showing Animaniacs at 6pm. I caught a few shows and it was as great as I remembered. A lot of the shows I loved when I was younger are horrible to watch now. Saved By the Bell and Alf come to mind first. Animaniacs stands up to time unbelievably well. Freakazoid!, my 2nd favorite cartoon ever, might actually be better. Its been a few years since I’ve seen Freakazoid! In college we were able to track down the show online and it was fantastic. I haven’t had a chance to pick up the first two volumes of these shows, but I might have to grab at least one volume this week.
Reno 911: Miami – I have yet to watch the show. The movie trailer looked funny so I will be checking out the movie. If I like it, then I will start getting the seasons on DVD. If you think I will like it, you can try and persuade me to move it up in the Netflix queue.

Music
Some albums I will be checking out, not necessarily buying but a lot of them have free streams this week.
Lifehouse – Who We Are
Straylight Run – The Needles The Space – I listened to this one and its very slow, which is too be expected. I heard the new single, Soon We’ll be Living in the Future, on Sirius and really like it. With Straylight Run I find that there are handful of songs that I love but the rest of the album I don’t care for.
The Junior Varsity – Cinematographic

Games
SimCity DS – If I was in a position to play my DS a lot this would be a perfect game. I have loved every SimCity game.
Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition – I didn’t play this one on GameCube but it got such high praise. This version sounding even better, plus its only $30.

Mike

American Express Commerical

Commercials, Mike No Comment

Another new commercial that I’m hooked on. This time its just a single one, not a whole campaign. I’m just trying to branch out in my commercial coverage. I sure do talk about them a lot for someone who spends a lot of energy trying to avoid them.

I’m talking about the new American Express one. There are a bunch of stars in it: Shawn White, Ellen Degeneres, Andre Agassi, Sheryl Crow, and Norah Jones. None of them matter. I would be just as big a fan of the commercial if none of them were in it. Its all about Martin Scorsese.

The stars are saying what causes they are interested in supported. Some random guy walks into the shot. Scorsese flips out. Who is this guy? Why is he in the scene? What is this lake he is talking about? He’s brilliant. Why isn’t he doing more acting instead of directing. I think he should do both.

I got to thinking that I think watching Scorsese direct his films might actually be more entertaining than his films. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy his films. The Departed was excellent. I think I’d have even more enjoyment though if the camera was behind him directing the entire movie. I’d get all of The Departed with some Scorsese flip outs in between. Awesome, right. Plus, you’d get all the actors in The Departed possibly fighting back. Or just taking whatever he thew at them. I’d be curious to see the on set dynamic.

The commercial can be seen if you (more…)

Mike

Summer Music: Now

Mike, Music No Comment

In the mood of summer music I’ve purchased a bunch of new CDs. So far two of them stand out, I will have a little something to say about them. The others are great but haven’t separated themselves from the crowd yet. I’m curious in a few years when I look at this list how many of them will still be around. Its very possible that all of these bands are at the top of my favorites at that time.

I categorize these as Popemo. They aren’t really pop-punk. Somewhere along the way this stuff transformed so far away from whatever punk roots they all sprouted from that there isn’t much in common anymore. I also don’t think of them as pure pop, just that the sound is very popular right now. A lot of people refer to it as emo. I don’t like that comparison. When I think Emo, I think The Get Up Kids, Saves the Day, and Dashboard Confessional. One other new album I bought was from Secondhand Serenade. The lead singer sounds almost exactly like Chris Carraba in some of the songs. I didn’t include them on this list because they don’t fit with the Popemo theme.

As for how I say Popemo … I don’t put a hyphen in the middle there. I go with pop-eh-mo, said very quickly. If I knew how to do that phoenic type spelling with all the accents, I would.

Quietdrive
The top of the rotation right now. The album starts out reminding me of The Ataris and then throws a Cindi Lauper cover in there.
Pick: Maybe Misery

The Higher
Currently right behind Quietdrive in the pecking order.
Pick: Darkpop

Boys Like Girls
Pick: Heels Over Head

Permanent Me
Pick: Until You Leave

The Summer Obsession
Pick: Down For Whatever

The Rocket Summer
Very disappointed I missed out on this one. The most recent album is from 2005. The new album comes out in July. One guy plays all the instruments on the album. The whole thing is amazingly fun. He’s on a major label now and has a single out for the new album. I think you’ll be hearing from him.
Pick: Brat Pack (Possibly the catchiest song ever.)

Mike

New Tuesday

Entertainment, Mike No Comment

New releases for June 12, 2007.

Music
Paramore – Riot! – I enjoyed their last album and gave the stream of the new album a listen. I enjoyed it as well. However, it won’t make the purchase list this week. There is too much on the list for the next few weeks.
Cauterize – Disguises – I’ve always liked their sound. Take a listen on their MySpace.
Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur – Covers of John Lennon songs. I’m curious to hear the cover by Mick Fleetwood and Jack’s Mannequin.

Games
Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree (Wii) – I haven’t played the DS version, I assume its nearly identical to Brain Age. How will this translate to the Wii?
Tenchu Z (Xbox 360) – Any game description that starts with ‘Become the ultimate ninja assasain’ has my instant attention. I checked Game Rankings and so far two reviews gave it an average of 87%. I need a little more than that but things look good so far.

DVD
Nothing very exciting this week.
Ghost Rider – I had no desire.
Breach – I don’t even remember it coming out.
Office Seasons 1&2 – Not really new, just selling them together. I think I saw you get a free ticket to Evan Almighty with it. If you don’t have these seasons yet then buy them with or without the free ticket.

Mike

This Week on TV

Mike, TV No Comment

Hopefully the highlight of the week will be the return of Last Comic Standing. Sadly, I fear that it won’t be. Still, with the College World Series starting up I should be able to survive.

Sports

NBA Finals
Game 3 @ Cleveland: Tuesday (9, ABC)
Game 4 @ Cleveland: Thursday (9, ABC)
Game 5 @ Cleveland: Sunday (9, ABC, if necessary)

Men’s College World Series
Starts Friday at 2pm on ESPN2. Continues until June 24 or 25 on ESPN and ESPN2.

US Open – Golf
June 14-17 on ESPN/NBC. Taking place at Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, PA.

See the rest of the week in tv … (more…)

Mike

Summer Music: The College Years

Mike, Music No Comment

Last time I covered the early days of my pop-punk experience. This time around I’ll take a look at the bands I got into toward the end of my college career. During college I was introduced to tons of bands. The ones that follow have released a full length since and survived my constantly changing rotation this long. Once again I included a pick that is a solid example of why each of the bands is great for summer.

Cartel
Almost two years after hearing Fall Out Boy and instatntly knowing they were going to be huge, I heard Cartel and felt the same way. That was just after hearing their EP. When I got their full length, I knew I was right, it was nearly perfect. They got some play but didn’t really get popular. Besides of course in my CD players where it was at the top of the rotation for a few months. Now they are in the bubble on MTV recording their new record. I watched the premiere on MTV and it was unwatchable. Its MTV’s fault that its terrible. They barely covered anything about the actual band. They just asked them dumb questions about going into the bubble and for some reason thought talking to the crowd would be interesting. I’m glad they are getting the exposure and I hope the new album is great.
Pick: Burn This City

Hit the Lights
Hit the Lights was my third pick after Fall Out Boy and Cartel, these things seem to come every two years. I put their sound near Simple Plan but their lyrics have just enough evil in them to make me like them so much.
Pick: Loose Lips Sink Ships

Punchline
I could have gone to see them for free during my sophomore year. I wound up not going and thus did not realize what I was missing out on until my senior year. Action was the album that hooked me. 37 Everywhere came out last year. Another fun, incredibly catchy album. I have no idea why these guys aren’t huge. They have what it takes.
Pick: Not Afraid

All Time Low
This band doesn’t date back to college. However they fit better in with this group than my final installment. So far I just have an EP from them. I’ll give them time apparently they haven’t been out of high school for a year yet. They are just as good as the other bands on this list they just haven’t proven it over time yet. I need a least a full length.
Pick: Break Out! Break Out!

Next time, a look at my pile of recent purchases. They all fall under a genre I like to call Popemo.

Mike

I Love It Love It

Commercials, Mike No Comment

I may have jumped the gun with my look at the Red Stripe commercials. The new ones from Cold Stone Creamery might just be better. I think they may be from the same people that did the Emerald Nuts ads. They have the same eerie feel to them, the graphics are similar, and the web site is solid. The plots make a little more sense than the Emerald Nuts ones. In the sense that the fears of each person make sense. The fact that broccoli is in a Cold Stone might be a reach.

The idea is that the main character approaches a Cold Stone Creamery. Inside are four arch nemeses (I had to look up the plural of nemesis). The character wants his or her favorite creation but they have to face what they fear most inside of the store. I mentioned the broccoli, which was one of the fears of the Kid. He had the other standard kid fears: Boogey Man, Monster Under the Bed, and the Monster in the Closet. The commercial ends with ‘Do you love it or do you love it love it? This is a play on the sizes at Cold Stone: Like It, Love It, and Gotta Have It. On their web page they explain the sizes as Like It: tennis ball, Love It: baseball, Gotta Have It: Softball.

The site lets you see the current commercials. There are bios about each of the main characters. The bios contain even more information about the main characters. Makes me hope there may be a variety of spots for each character.

Make sure you check out the outtakes. By far my favorite is the Bigfoot Tracker. He loves to lose things, so he can track them down. The Monster Under the Bed is pretty entertaining as well.

On the site if you view the you can click on the balled up paper in the corner and you can submit your own story. I’m not sure if you get anything if your story gets picked. Still, I love the idea that they are asking for more suggestions. It leads me to believe there will be a lot more and they could have a ton of variety.

I should mention that I’ve only been to Cold Stone twice. It opened at school a few years ago. However, my school is known for its Ice Cream on campus. The fact that an outsider showed up trying to sell ice cream was unheard of. I refused to go for the first year or so. I had a coupon for a free one, so I figured I’d stick it to them by not paying them anything. The special that month was Cotton Candy. The creation had marshmallows. It was unbelievable. One opened recently near where I live, so I will be going more often, especially thanks to these great ads.

So far Bigfoot is the only one I’ve seen on TV. I am looking forward to a ton more of these. With new characters or a new variety of the current characters. They will reach greatness if they feature some of the nemeses as the main characters. What is the Boogey Man afraid of??

Go to the site for the ad campaign.

Mike

This Week on TV

Mike, TV No Comment

This week the Stanley Cup Finals are wrapping up (unless it goes 7), the NBA Finals are getting started. There is no horse going for the Triple Crown but I’ll still be looking forward to the race. French Open finals are also coming up on the weekend.

Besides sports there isn’t much to look forward to until Sunday with the Sopranos finale and John From Cincinnati premiere. Plus, Brian Regan has a Comedy Central Special.

Sports

Belmont Stakes (5, ABC) – No one going for the Triple Crown this year. Still, I’m hooked on this horse racing thing. Just watching, I’m not at the point of betting on it. You can make picks for fun at Ice Cream Helmet.

Stanley Cup Finals
Ducks vs Senators
Game 4 @ Ottawa: Monday (8, NBC)
Game 5 @ Anaheim: Wednesday (8, NBC)
Game 6 @ Ottawa: Saturday (8, NBC)

NBA Finals
Spurs vs Cavaliers
Game 1 @ San Antonio: Thursday (9, ABC)
Game 2 @ San Antonio: Sunday (9, ABC)

French Open
Women’s Final: Saturday (9am, NBC)
Men’s Final: Sunday (9am, NBC)

Check out the week … (more…)

Mike

Summer Music: 1st Generation

Mike, Music No Comment

The past few weeks I’ve found the music I listen to has shifted. I had been listening to more screamo and indie-type rock (my best way to describe Say Anything and The Hold Steady). I started listening to music a little more pop and a lot more fun. Its summer time and I didn’t even realize that I change my listening habits when summer comes around. It also seems like a lot of bands that I like or am starting to like are releasing new albums around this time.

It started by going back to some albums that I hadn’t listened to a whole lot recently. Once I gave them a listen I started to grab for them more often out of the CD case. Now they are in a solid rotation with all the stuff I’ve just bought recently. They bring me back to when I first got them, which for most of them was some point in college.

It doesn’t seem like I’ve been listening to all these groups for a few years now. It seems like yesterday when I first heard them. They all date back to high school and early on in college. I don’t even know what I listened to before all this besides Weezer and Green Day. Well, I guess you can’t forget Hootie & the Blowfish. Cracked Rear View is a masterpiece.

Here is what I’d call my first generation. Each band I have a pick of a song that is a quality summer tune. You can’t go wrong driving around all summer with these bands.

(more…)

Mike

Part of the Show: Thank God You’re Here

Mike, TV No Comment

Thank God You’re Here started on NBC a few months ago. I was intrigued because I love improv/sketch comedy. They were going to have on some moderate celebrities. The idea was that a celebrity would be dressed in some sort of attire related to the skit they were about to do. They knew nothing about it. They would be sent through a door with the show’s cast prepared with a story. During the sketch the cast would set up the celebrities for jokes. The average performers only got creative when prompted by these queues. The solid performers would take over the scene, not waiting for their turn. It was surprising how few of them actually took control.

David Alan Grier is the host. I usually enjoy him. Dave Foley is the judge. I don’t mind Dave Foley, but was a judge needed? He was nice even when somebody was terrible. He apparently picked who was the best on the show and gave him or her a trophy.

I watched a the first few shows but it was nothing that I was going to watch during primetime. There are too many other options. I tried to DVR it, but I never had a desire to watch it. It would just sit there in my recorded list until I realized I was never going to watch it.

I do think the show could be a lot more successful. It should be on some cable channel at various times during the day. If I just caught it randomly during the day I’d be more likely to watch it. Each skit should be put on YouTube. Then have people vote on the best ones and direct people to the better ones. It may even be better to start online. Instead of a celebrity doing one scene have them do a couple when they come in. Make the TV show the best of these skits as voted online.

I do have the desire to try it out, to play the role of the celebrity. I think there are a lot of people that would enjoy this. Now its not good for TV, nobody cares what I do. I just think it would be a lot of fun. The cast is there to help me out a bit, if it turns out I’m terrible. If I was decent I’d want video of it to watch again and show people.

One issue I can see is that an audience is needed. The performance really plays off the crowd if its any good. How do you get an audience to see people they don’t have any relation to who might not be very good?

One way to do this is to have a tour. This could work going across the country taking people from the crowd. The cast would know how to play to the crowd, making it entertaining for everyone. A huge bonus is that when the cast realize that the crowd member is terrible they can just switch to making fun of this volunteer. Great fun. If popular enough it could stay in one place, be sort of a weekly/monthly event at a theater.

With the tour you have to get lucky in the crowd to get up on stage. There needs to be some way to be sure you’re going to get a shot. Perhaps pay a little extra. This removes the getting made fun of aspect, since you don’t want to pay to get made fun of. If you’re paying its likely you’re a little better than the average crowd member.

Either way this sounds like an entertaining idea. Really, for me, I just want to do some sort of improv. There must be a place where random people off the street can do improv.