Monday, September 19, 2011

Coming Soon...

Movie trailers are something I have loved my entire life.  There's a delicious anticipation in sitting in a freshly darkened theater, popcorn and Redvines in hand, a hush settling on the crowd and the screen flickering to life.  Flashes, clips, bits of enticing dialogue, snazzy music and that familiar deep voice present just enough tidbits of a soon-to-be-released movie to leave us wanting more. We might even lean forward in excitement, or turn to our neighbor as the screen momentarily flashes black to exclaim, "Wow!  That looks good!"  Then it begins again, the green ratings screen appears, and we settle back for the next small treat.

Good movie trailers are like tasting the cake batter.  Yummy enough to pique your interest and promising something even better to come.

Poor movie trailers, however, are an entirely different experience of disappointment and letdown.  Some show the entire movie in quick-flashing snippets, leaving the viewer feeling disinterested and unfulfilled.  Others are so inane ("G-Force", anyone?) that one might question the sanity of producers who put up money to make such rubbish.

Another point to make here is that in modern movie theaters, before the trailers, we have to sit through a handful of car, Coke and shoe commercials.  I despise this practice.  I've already paid an excessive price for the ticket and treats.  I shouldn't have to be bombarded by commercials in every single media outlet on the planet.  But that's another blog discussion altogether.

Overall, my habitual enthusiasm for trailers has not waned as I've grown older, and I even look forward to them on DVD, hushing my family and hurrying to get into my seat before they begin.

So what movies that are scheduled for the upcoming fall/Christmas season are you looking forward to, based on their great trailers?  Here are a few I have thoroughly enjoyed and can't wait to watch the films for:

The new "Muppets" movie looks clever and updated and funny, I can't wait!
If you haven't read my previous post about Matt Damon, then maybe you won't understand why I'm looking forward to this one beyond the fact that it does look like an interesting premise and hopefully a much more entertaining film than "The Zookeeper" with Kevin James looks.  I didn't see it. I won't see it.  Talking animals in live action films with humans make me crazy.

Okay, these are the only two I could find.  There aren't many movies coming soon that I'm all that interested in.  Share your upcoming favorites in the comments and I'll post the trailers if I agree with you. :)

On suggestion of my crafty friend:  (I'm not actually all that excited about this one, I'll have to reread the books and see if I feel differently this time around.  I thought they were good, but one of those series that maybe shouldn't be brought to the "big screen"... but I know a lot of people are really excited about it, so here you go!)

My sister, whose comment wouldn't post, suggested this and I agree with her, this one looks really good!  Very Bourne-Bond-ish. :)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Jumping the Shark

I've been pondering the meaning behind the modern idiom, "jumping the shark".  I learned about this when it was referenced on the wonderfully entertaining but short-lived "Arrested Development", which featured Ron Howard as the narrator and Henry Winkler as a lawyer named Barry Zuckercorn.  The inside joke originates from a few angles.  One is that Winkler and Howard shot to fame together on "Happy Days" a few decades earlier, when they were both much younger.  On the premiere episode of that show's fifth season, Winkler's character, known as Fonzie, performed a waterskiing stunt, (wearing his leather jacket!) by jumping over a shark in an enclosure near a beach.  The other is simply the physical act of jumping the shark-- Winkler "winks" at his past by literally jumping over a dead shark on a dock on "Arrested Development".  The joke is also a self-deprecating (though untrue) poke at "Arrested Development".

Here are the two clips, first from "Happy Days" and then the funny reference on "Development"
This is the idiom's current meaning as defined by Wikipedia: 
"Jumping the shark is an idiom, first employed to describe a moment in the evolution of a television show when it begins a decline in quality that is beyond recovery.
In its initial usage, it referred to the point in a television program's history where it has "outlived its freshness" [1] where viewers feel "the writers have run out of ideas" and that "the series has [lost] what made it attractive."[2] These changes were often the result of efforts to revive interest in a show whose audience had begun to decline.[3]"

 This is just a little something to watch for.  There have been many instances of this being done over the years, and I guess it's really a matter of personal opinion for viewers as to when they feel a show has "jumped the shark". And if you haven't watched "Arrested Development" yet, you really should.  It's one of the best TV shows I've ever watched. It's not for everyone, and it can get kind of naughty-- adult jokes, it's not for kids. But it's very funny and clever.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fall TV

It's that lovely time of year when the air begins to cool, the leaves die in spectacular visual fashion, the kids return to school, I begin thinking about Christmas shopping and Halloween costumes, and, best of all, the TV shows we know and love return for our entertainment.  What shows are you looking forward to this year?  Here is my list, photos courtesy of various network websites:

"The Office"- NBC's most popular 1/2 hour comedy returns for its 8th season, without the great Michael Scott. Longtime fans were sad to see him go, he was really the focal point of the show, even when he wasn't the focus of each episode.  He will be missed, but I look forward to seeing just how the writers manage to replace him with James Spader as the new boss.  Will he be quirky?  Undoubtedly.  Will he be as nutty as Michael?  I hope not.  I hope they let his character be unique, but still entertaining.  I am not a huge Spader fan, so he will have to win me over, but I have faith in the writers.  And if it doesn't work, this show had a good run, and it wouldn't be the end of the world for it to wrap up while it's "ahead". New episodes premiere on September 22, at 8:00 p.m.

ABC's crime comedy-drama, "Castle". I love this show.  I am a fan of the star, Nathan Fillion, but I also have grown to really love the other actors/characters on the show.  I look forward to seeing how they resolve the season-ending cliff-hanger from last spring, where Kate was hospitalized.  I wrote about it here. It should be an exciting beginning to the fourth season of this entertaining show.  "Castle" returns on September 19th at 9:00 p.m.

Another winner from ABC is the more traditional-format sitcom, "The Middle", starring Patricia Heaton and Neil Flynn.  The kids are exceptionally well cast, and the show is, in my opinion, the funniest half-hour on TV right now.  I laugh out loud more than once during every episode.  The show's creators and writing team have managed to perfectly capture life in middle class, mid-life America right now.  If you haven't seen this show, get renting or streaming and catch up.  This year begins the
third season of larger-than-life adventures for the Heck family.  Seriously, check it out. Especially those who currently have or have raised teenage boys will love it.  Or awkward early-teenage girls. Or any kids, for that matter.  Or no kids-- you were kids once, right?  You'll enjoy this show.

The show I am most excited about, though, is "Psych", which airs on USA. This show is the funniest HOUR on TV, and my only complaint is that they are making us wait clear until October 12 for it to return.  After which, I will have to watch it on, because we no longer have a satellite.  Not that I'm complaining, I'm just so glad Hulu is there for me.  I love the characters and I am so excited to see what happens now that Shaun and Juliet are officially a couple.  It's been a fun ride so far, with many a crime solved in entertaining and crazy ways.  I can't wait for Season 6...  If you haven't watched this show, but you love obscure '80's references and fake psychics (this show came first, by the way, and has poked fun at "The Mentalist"...), you will love this show.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Oceans and other things I like to look at...

 Last weekend, my teenage sons and my husband and I watched the three "Ocean's" movies (11, 12 and 13) featuring that glorious Hollywood trio of George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon.  Well, to be honest, hubby and I only watched the first two.  The first movie is well paced, entertaining, and all the confusing bits get explained soon enough to not be annoying.  Not so with the second.  It was overly-muddled, under-explained and, frankly, boring.  I didn't care for the flimsy plot, which seemed an obvious excuse to bring back a star-studded cast and not much else. The only thing I actually enjoyed was the evolution of Damon's character, Linus.  In the first film, the character was young.  The films were made in 2001, 2004 and 2007, so through the course of the movies, Damon ages 6 years total, and it shows.  He is adorable in the first movie, attractive in the second, and hunky in the third.  I love that his character is the go-to guy with the fast hands.  This entry is quickly devolving into an "I heart Matt Damon" schlop and that's not what I had in mind.  I intended to increase your cinematic intelligence with a thoughtful discussion of the three aforementioned "Ocean's" films and not sound like a 13 year old girl with a celebrity crush.

But I can't do it.

So I won't.

Enjoy some Damon-flavored "eye candy" instead and go watch the "Bourne" movies, "Good Will Hunting", "Invictus" and "Ocean's 11". 

Monday, September 5, 2011

I'm more than halfway through the second season of "Lost" now.  It's kind of bugging me how so many of the characters have behaved out of... character... all season.  I don't get it.  And I'm getting tired of the moony-eyed stares and people shooting people randomly and multiple inexplicable plotlines still hanging unexplained and muddled... I completely understand why my brothers both gave up after the second season.  I will continue on, though, as recommended by so many fans.  I will give it a fighting chance by sticking with it into the third season.  It had better improve, though...

I still like the characters and the story is still mostly compelling.  In fact, the show reminds me of a rather long novel. There are sections that make me have to keep reading, and sections that are weak and less interesting. I keep coming back for more with the hope that it will return to the enjoyment of the first few chapters...

Friday, September 2, 2011

Obsessed much?

I've been watching an average of two episodes each day.  I can't stop, because I need to know what comes next.  It's compulsive... I'm addicted... I can't stop!!  I'm about 4 episodes into season 2 and although I wasn't as taken with this season as the first, it is still very compelling TV.  I care about these characters and I HAVE to see what happens next.  This must have been extremely frustrating to fans of the show during its run, because they couldn't watch 2-3 episodes in one sitting (as I can... while doing chores, but still...).  They had to wait a week between episodes and months after a season-ending cliffhanger.  Oy.  I would have given up. :)  So, although I'm not nuts about Netflix raising their prices, I'm still a fan of theirs for having all of "Lost" on streaming for me. Now... do I have time for just one more???