January 30, 2011

My Review: 127 Hours

Now that 127 Hours has been re-released in theaters due to it's Oscar nominations, I finally got to check it out.

The movie is about the true story of a young man named Aron who gets his arm trapped while in the mountains. He's alone, no one knows that he's there and he ends up getting stuck there for 127 hours until he decides to cut off his arm. Brace yourself for 85 minutes, because that scene is pretty gross...and realistic!

So what makes this the kind of story that should be turned into a movie? Sure, it's a great story of perseverance, bravery and survival, but I didn't know how I would end of liking a movie that is essentially about a man being stuck. So what makes you want to go to see a movie like this? Two reasons: James Franco and Danny Boyle.

James Franco has become one of my favorite actors. In addition to being adorable, he really can do anything. The man is still going to school pursuing degrees at ivy league universities, acting in big budget movies, guest starring on TV shows like 30 rock, directing a documentary about Saturday Night Live and oh yeah, being on a soap opera. Who would think that this would be the same guy who's first big break was Harry Osburn in "Spiderman"?
*I personally have been a fan since "Freaks and Geeks", but I still consider "Spiderman" to be when people started to notice him.

Danny Boyle is a director with a lot of range as well. He is famous for directing an Oscar winning movie "Slum Dog Millionaire", a zombie film "28 Days Later" and the opening ceremonies of the Olympics.

Both men have been nominated for "127 Hours" and they truly deserve it. When I watched the movie I kept comparing James Franco to Tom Hanks and what he did in "Castaway". Both men carried an entire film where they were essentially by themselves for 80% of the movie. Danny Boyle deserves immense credit for keeping this film interesting, suspenseful, moving, emotional and at times humorous.

I think "127 Hours" was a great film, and I am impressed with what that film did with the story. I also liked seeing the real Aron at the end of the film, knowing that he's doing more than okay.

I definitely recommend seeing it, and it's okay if you shut your eyes when the "arm scene" happens.

Grade: A-

January 28, 2011

Maybe "Retired at 35" Should Retire Early

As a fan of the first original TV show from TV Land, "Hot in Cleveland", I had hopes that I would also be a fan of "Retired at 35". So far, I am not.

I thought I would like it; it stars Jessica Walters (Lucille Bluth, Arrested Development), George Segal(Just Shoot Me, and everything else) and has guest stars like Fred Willard But the jokes are too cheesy and the humor is too flat. Maybe it's because I'm not old and retired, but I really don't see the appeal of the show so far.

The show is about a young man, David, who is 35 and hates his job so quits while he's visiting his parents. Now he is living with them in their retirement home. His parents are having problems and decide to separate once he makes this decision, and boy, does the hilarity ensue. Not.

The show has very few laughs. David has an idiot best friend who is really not funny even though he's obviously supposed to be. David sleeps with an older woman who turns out to be his old crush's mother, which was maybe the only interesting thing about the pilot, but that hasn't really gone too far. Really the show is comprised of old people being out of touch (the dad calls facebook "facial book", which isn't even clever), and making sex comments that weird out their son.

I have seen advertisements for this show since "Hot in Cleveland" premiered last year, and I guess they've been re-tooling ever since. This show still needs a lot of work, and excluding the two older stars needs better actors.

I'm giving it one more episode, then I'm retiring.

January 26, 2011

Web Series Review - Project 420

Created by Adam Kerpelman, Lin Qiu & Harry Chaskin

The Story: In the early 1950's, the CIA gave birth to Project MK-ULTRA, a covert program designed to research and develop mind-altering substances. Millions of dollars and two decades later, the Program was purportedly abandoned, stating that 'the tests made little scientific sense.' This was a clever cover story. Behind closed doors, in a secret government facility, our tax dollars are still at work…

My Take: Government conspiracies. Top secret science experiments stemming back to the 1950s. Murderous drug lords. A trio of research scientists who are paid to be baked all the time. Such are the interweaving story-lines that make up ‘Project 420’. This action/comedy/stoner web series brings a well rounded, top quality production value to the table, proving once more the prowess and importance of internet television.

Lin and Pat are roommates who spend their evenings smoking the ganja and playing first person shooter video games. By day, they are research scientists engineering a top secret strain of highly potent marijuana. The duo accidentally stumbles upon the crime scene of their gamer buddy Gorav, who stole a leaf of their top secret plant and sold it to the ‘not the sharpest knives in the drawer’ sons of a mysterious drug lord. Enlisting the help of their research partner, Miriam, the trio gets caught up in a whirlwind of government conspiracy and super-drug trafficking. I know, it’s a lot to put in your pipe and smoke all at once.

The show primarily rides high on the story itself, with each episode revealing more and more of the plot, and ending on a cliffhanger, making you want more. The performances are solid, fairly top notch for this medium of entertainment. Shot in HD (I believe on a digital SLR camera, kudos to that), the people behind the camera definitely know how to make colors vivid for the web. They even throw in a couple special effects, which works very well for a show on the web. For anyone who is a fan of the stoner comedy (i.e. Harold and Kumar or Pineapple Express) this is definitely the series to be watching. Project 420 will leave you laughing, intrigued and have a sudden craving for Funyuns.

Project 420 already has eight episodes under their belt, which is the entire first season. They were recently picked up for distribution by Koldcast, which is currently showing the first episode on their homepage, as well as fan pages on Facebook and Twitter. The series also has a home-site, www.project420.tv, which has additional info on the creators and some merchandise you can check out.

January 25, 2011

My Opinion on the Nominations

Well I called it didn't I? I called the ten best picture nominees! Go me!

Enough gloating...

Here are some of the things I'm happy about, surprised about and who are most likely the winners:

Best Actress:
Natalie Portman is the front runner in this category, however the other nominees are nothing to scoff at. Annette Bening could also have a shot, and critics are still raving about Michelle Williams in Blue Valentine. I do feel like Julianne Moore was snubbed, but oh well.

Best Actor:
Colin Firth is the front runner, but James Franco and Jesse Eisenberg are also well in the running for this award. I'm surprised about Javier Bardem and Jeff Bridges getting nominations considering they were not up for Golden Globes. They took the place of what some people thought would be Ryan Gosling for Blue Valentine and Mark Wahlberg for the Fighter.

Best Supporting Actor:
Christian Bale is the front runner, but I still love Geoffrey Rush and I would say he's a contender. I also think Andrew Garfield from Social Network was snubbed.

Best Supporting Actress:
Both Amy Adams and Melissa Leo from the Fighter could take the prize, but I also think Hailee Steinfeld could also be considered a possible winner for True Grit. Noticably absent and considered a snub, Mila Kunis for Black Swan.

Best Director:
Everyone's been whining about a "snub" for Christopher Nolan, but c'mon. The other 5 directors in this category are more worthy of the nomination. Quite frankly it doesn't matter, because David Fincher is most likely going to win.

Original Screenplay:
I think The Kids Are Alright is going to win, but the King's Speech could also win as well as the Fighter.

Adapted Screenplay:
C'mon, The Social Network is going to sweep these kind of categories.

I thought there weren't too many surprises, and I'm happy with the nominations. What do you think?

For Right Now...Here are the Nominees..

Best Motion Picture of the Year
127 Hours (2010)
Black Swan (2010)
The Fighter (2010)
Inception (2010)
The Kids Are All Right (2010)
The King's Speech (2010)
The Social Network (2010)
Toy Story 3 (2010)
True Grit (2010)
Winter's Bone (2010)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Javier Bardem for Biutiful (2010)
Jeff Bridges for True Grit (2010)
Jesse Eisenberg for The Social Network (2010)
Colin Firth for The King's Speech (2010)
James Franco for 127 Hours (2010)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Annette Bening for The Kids Are All Right (2010)
Nicole Kidman for Rabbit Hole (2010)
Jennifer Lawrence for Winter's Bone (2010)
Natalie Portman for Black Swan (2010)
Michelle Williams for Blue Valentine (2010)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Christian Bale for The Fighter (2010)
John Hawkes for Winter's Bone (2010)
Jeremy Renner for The Town (2010)
Mark Ruffalo for The Kids Are All Right (2010)
Geoffrey Rush for The King's Speech (2010)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams for The Fighter (2010)
Helena Bonham Carter for The King's Speech (2010)
Melissa Leo for The Fighter (2010)
Hailee Steinfeld for True Grit (2010)
Jacki Weaver for Animal Kingdom (2010)

Best Achievement in Directing
Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan (2010)
Ethan Coen, Joel Coen for True Grit (2010)
David Fincher for The Social Network (2010)
Tom Hooper for The King's Speech (2010)
David O. Russell for The Fighter (2010)

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
Another Year (2010): Mike Leigh
The Fighter (2010): Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson
Inception (2010): Christopher Nolan
The Kids Are All Right (2010): Lisa Cholodenko, Stuart Blumberg
The King's Speech (2010): David Seidler

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
127 Hours (2010): Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy
The Social Network (2010): Aaron Sorkin
Toy Story 3 (2010): Michael Arndt, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich
True Grit (2010): Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Winter's Bone (2010): Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
How to Train Your Dragon (2010): Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders
The Illusionist (2010): Sylvain Chomet
Toy Story 3 (2010): Lee Unkrich

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Biutiful (2010): Alejandro González Iñárritu(Mexico)
Dogtooth (2009): Giorgos Lanthimos(Greece)
In a Better World (2010): Susanne Bier(Denmark)
Incendies (2010): Denis Villeneuve(Canada)
Outside the Law (2010): Rachid Bouchareb(Algeria)

Best Achievement in Cinematography
Black Swan (2010): Matthew Libatique
Inception (2010): Wally Pfister
The King's Speech (2010): Danny Cohen
The Social Network (2010): Jeff Cronenweth
True Grit (2010): Roger Deakins

Best Achievement in Editing
127 Hours (2010): Jon Harris
Black Swan (2010): Andrew Weisblum
The Fighter (2010): Pamela Martin
The King's Speech (2010): Tariq Anwar
The Social Network (2010): Kirk Baxter, Angus Wall

Best Achievement in Art Direction
Alice in Wonderland (2010): Robert Stromberg, Karen O'Hara
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010): Stuart Craig, Stephenie McMillan
Inception (2010): Guy Hendrix Dyas, Larry Dias, Douglas A. Mowat
The King's Speech (2010): Eve Stewart, Judy Farr
True Grit (2010): Jess Gonchor, Nancy Haigh

Best Achievement in Costume Design
Alice in Wonderland (2010): Colleen Atwood
I Am Love (2009): Antonella Cannarozzi
The King's Speech (2010): Jenny Beavan
The Tempest (2010/II): Sandy Powell
True Grit (2010): Mary Zophres

Best Achievement in Makeup
Barney's Version (2010): Adrien Morot
The Way Back (2010): Edouard F. Henriques, Greg Funk, Yolanda Toussieng
The Wolfman (2010): Rick Baker, Dave Elsey

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score
127 Hours (2010): A.R. Rahman
How to Train Your Dragon (2010): John Powell
Inception (2010): Hans Zimmer
The King's Speech (2010): Alexandre Desplat
The Social Network (2010): Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song
127 Hours (2010): A.R. Rahman, Rollo Armstrong, Dido("If I Rise")
Country Strong (2010): Tom Douglas, Hillary Lindsey, Troy Verges("Coming Home")
Tangled (2010): Alan Menken, Glenn Slater("I See the Light")
Toy Story 3 (2010): Randy Newman("We Belong Together")

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
Inception (2010)
The King's Speech (2010)
Salt (2010): Jeffrey J. Haboush, William Sarokin, Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell
The Social Network (2010)
True Grit (2010)

Best Achievement in Sound Editing
Inception (2010)
Toy Story 3 (2010)
TRON: Legacy (2010)
True Grit (2010)
Unstoppable (2010)

Best Achievement in Visual Effects
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)
Hereafter (2010)
Inception (2010)
Iron Man 2 (2010)

Best Documentary, Features
Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010): Banksy
GasLand (2010): Josh Fox
Inside Job (2010): Charles Ferguson
Restrepo (2010): Tim Hetherington, Sebastian Junger
Waste Land (2010): Lucy Walker

January 24, 2011

The Razzies

With such a great year filled with fantastic films, it was actually easy to forget some of the bad movies that were released. Thankfully there are the Razzies to remind us, that Hollywood still puts out some real garbage in theaters.

Leading this year's nominations are "The Last Airbender" and "Twilight Saga: Eclipse" both tied with 9 nominations. I can't say there are any big surprises this year with the nominations, nor much to argue with (the movies I saw on this list totally deserve to be on here), but I was surprised "The Expendables" only got one nomination. Don't get me wrong it is a total guilty pleasure film, but it had Razzies written all over it since conception. anyway here is the list of nominations:


The Bounty Hunter

The Last Airbender

Sex & the City 2

Twilight Saga: Eclipse

Vampires Suck!


Jack Black, Gulliver's Travels

Gerard Butler, The Bounty Hunter

Ashton Kutcher, Killers and Valentine's Day

Taylor Lautner, Twilight Saga: Eclipse and Valentine's Day

Robert Pattinson, Remember Me and Twilight Saga: Eclipse


Jennifer Aniston, The Bounty Hunter and The Switch

Miley Cyrus, The Last Song

Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis & Cynthia Nixon, Sex & the City 2

Megan Fox, Jonah Hex

Kristen Stewart, Twilight Saga: Eclipse


Jessica Alba, The Killer Inside Me, Little Fockers, Machete and Valentine's Day

Cher, Burlesque

Liza Minnelli, Sex & the City 2

Nicola Peltz, The Last Airbender

Barbra Streisand, Little Fockers


Billy Ray Cyrus, The Spy Next Door

George Lopez, Marmaduke, The Spy Next Door and Valentine's Day

Dev Patel, The Last Airbender

Jackson Rathbone, The Last Airbender and Twilight Saga: Eclipse

Rob Schneider, Grown Ups

WORST EYE-GOUGING MISUSE OF 3D (Special category for 2010!)

Cats and Dogs: Revenge of Kitty Galore

Clash of the Titans

The Last Airbender

Nutcracker 3-D

Saw 3-D (aka Saw VII)


Jennifer Aniston & Gerard Butler, The Bounty Hunter

Josh Brolin’s face & Megan Fox’s accent, Jonah Hex

The entire cast of The Last Airbender

The entire cast of Sex & the City 2

The entire cast of Twilight Saga: Eclipse


Jason Friedberg & Aaron Seltzer, Vampires Suck!

Michael Patrick King, Sex & the City 2

M. Night Shyamalan, The Last Airbender

David Slade, Twilight Saga: Eclipse

Sylvester Stallone, The Expendables


The Last Airbender, written by M. Night Shyamalan, based on the TV series by Michael Dante DiMartino and Brian Konietzko

Little Fockers, written by John Hamburg and Larry Stuckey, based on characters created by Greg Glenna & Mary Roth Clarke

Sex & the City 2, written by Michael Patrick King, based on the TV Series created by Darren Star

Twilight Saga: Eclipse, screenplay by Melissa Rosenberg, based on the novel by Stephenie Meyer

Vampires Suck! written by Jason Friedberg & Aaron Seltzer

WORST PREQUEL, REMAKE, RIP-OFF OR SEQUEL (Combined category for 2010)

Clash of the Titans

The Last Airbender

Sex & the City 2

Twilight Saga: Eclipse

Vampires Suck!

The red are my choices for the worst of the year. I can't wait to see if anyone shows up this year to accept their award, like Sandra Bullock did last year!

Who do you think should walk away worst of the year? Anything the Razzies missed?

January 22, 2011

Is Perfect Couples a Perfect Comedy?

I was hesitant to watch the new NBC comedy "Perfect Couples", which was sandwiched between Community and the Office on Thursday nights. I wasn't going to watch it, and I didn't even record it, but my boredom led me to it on Hulu and I am actually happy I got to see it.

Perfect Couples is the story of 3 couples who all went to college together and have stayed in touch. All 3 couples are very different, giving it a typical sitcom premise. The show stars Olivia Munn, the guy from "Worst Week" and the girl who plays the waitress on "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia". In fact, the whole cast looks very familiar and they have all appeared in various television and movies in minor roles.

NBC really promoted the show badly. The commercials made it seem like a really cheesy sitcom with a laugh track that would probably get cancelled after 6 episodes. What it is in fact is a clever show that is actually funny. Usually pilots in general are disappointing, and are a fraction of what the show will actually become. However, this is one of the few pilots that actually have a lot of potential and could have been its own stand alone episode.

I suggest watching the pilot and let me know if you have the same impression. The pilot is on Hulu, and there is also an episode titled "Perfect Tens", which could either be the next episode or an alternate pilot, but either way there are two full episodes on Hulu for the show and NBC has only aired the one.

I got a chance to watch this "Perfect Tens" episode as well and it was also funny. So I think this show has got a shot. Hey, if "Outsourced" is still on I think anything is possible.

January 20, 2011

Season 10 is Beautiful, Baby!

I’ve been an Aerosmith fan for years (I got to the music store the morning Done With Mirrors released before they got it out of the shipping box). I knew Tylerisms would be more than a fair trade for Cowell’s scowl. “We’re all here, ‘cuz we’re not all there.” (from “Fever”, off the album “Get A Grip”, 1993). Tyler wrote it, so he can use it.

American Idol launched its tenth season Wednesday, January 19th with two new star judges, Steven Tyler and J-Lo, Jennifer Lopez, and its going to be better than its been in years.

I’ll even watch it beyond the open audition period. Don’t we watch the open auditions like you watch figure skating or car racing, for the wipeouts?

The new judges bring something to the show that it was lacking – hope. Jennifer was tortured to say no. Tyler stated “I’m looking for the next Janis Joplin.” Simon clearly wasn’t looking for anything but the next gravy train.

Tyler asked contestant Michael Perroto, “Did you eat paint chips as a child?”, and he also told several contestants, even some men, that they were beautiful. We get some nasty and some nice this season. Bonus!

We get some musical gravitas we didn’t previously enjoy. Contestants are auditioning for two of the biggest stars in music. If Simon Cowell tells you that you’re awful, maybe you just don’t have that pop thing he’s looking for. If Steven Tyler tells you “the notes aren’t there”, and J-Lo apologizes for your lack of talent, consider a new dream.

I’ll even overlook that Aerosmith hasn’t released a new album in ten years, for now, (“Honkin’ on Bobo” doesn’t count) while I count the bleeps he makes every episode. I hope they find the next Janis, and I hope Tyler doesn’t scare her off the show. I’ll enjoy watching either way!

---Ed Kowalski

January 19, 2011

Desperate Housewives is Making a Desperate Comeback

This article is probably only for someone who watches the show...

As someone who is a fan of Desperate Housewives I can understand why some people are not into it. In reality the show is a silly, dramedy that borders on a soap opera. I guess I've watched it for so long that I don't really see a need to stop unless the show gets really boring.

This season I was very close to stop watching the show. It was the show that was cluttering up dust in my DVR and I would only watch it when I had too much free time.

They started the season on an interesting note: Bringing back Paul Young, who is now out of prison and introducing a new character Renee played by Vanessa Williams. Missing this year is Katherine played by Dana Delany, who left last season to get away from the drama. There were two main plot lines this season, the first being that Gaby's daughter Juanita is not really her daughter and that Paul Young is back to have his revenge on the neighborhood. And yet, this didn't seem to hold my attention...until...

The neighborhood went crazy and so did it's people. The episode "Down the Block there's a Riot" was definitely a riot. Susan got trampled and now only has one kidney, Renee felt pressured to tell Lynette that she once slept with Tom and Paul Young got shot(and survived).

The episode was what the season needed and has been going strong since. Now with Zach Young back in the picture and Paul knowing that his wife is Felicia Tillman's daughter things will continue to be interesting. Not to mention that Gabby seems to have gone a little crazy now that her biological daughter Grace is out of the picture.

Hopefully this season continues it's current streak.

January 18, 2011

My 10 Oscar Nominee Predictions

Here we go...

The Social Network

Black Swan

The King's Speech

The Fighter

True Grit

127 Hours

The Kids are All Right

Toy Story 3


Blue Valentine OR Winter's Bone

Time will tell. They will be announced on January 25th. Award show is Februrary 27th.

The Golden Globe Winners

I meant to do this yesterday, but sometimes I get so caught up in TV and watching netflix.

So I must say, I was very happy with the winners this year for the Golden Globes. I think that the movie award winners were expected, but there was a lot of surprising TV ones.

For one, I'm so happy Laura Linney won for television actress. I loved the Big C and she was the reason, she's so good in EVERYTHING. Also, I was very happy for Katey Sagal winning best supporting actress for Sons of Anarchy. I don't watch the show, but it's been on my list of things to watch for a while. I also thought Chris Colfer for best supporting actor was well deserved, and he seemed so humble and surprised. I almost teared up seeing his cast mates cry for him while he gave his very emotional speech.

The movie awards were expected and deserved. Social Network won best screen play, best director and best film - all of which I'm expecting to win an Oscar as well. Natalie Portman won best actress(loved her accceptance speech) and Colin Firth won best actor for drama, both of which I think they'll win and oscar for as well. I'm happy Annette Bening won for the Kids are All Right, although I still have no idea what Paul Giamatti won for(meaning I never heard of the movie). I think the only surprise winner for me was Melissa Leo for The Fighter, because I thought Amy Adams would win. But the win was still well deserved, as was Christian Bale for supporting actor.

As far as Ricky Gervais is concerned...he's Rick Gervais. I don't think he was any more offensive than he was last year, so it was stupid on NBC's part to hire him again. I personally love Ricky Gervais and was not offended, but I can understand why people were. However, I also think some people are just too sensitive. The only people who really should have been offended were the actors he made fun of, and they should learn to laugh at themselves.

I really think this was a great year for tv and movies...

January 12, 2011

Web Series Review - Throwing Stones

Written & Directed by Bart D. Van Bemmel & Jason A. Wheeler

The Story: When a group of high schoolers have to attend Saturday School they must work together to overcome their differences in over to survive when students end up missing.

My Take: The overall objective of these reviews is to showcase a true testament to independent filmmaking. To take whatever little money and resources a creative and production team has and put it together to make something just as, if not more enjoyable than anything you will find on television. With a mere two episodes produced, both running around three minutes each, Throwing Stones proves to do just that, and making it my must see new web series this week.

Think of it this way - Hollywood decides they want to remake The Breakfast Club, the iconic 80s film about a mismatched group of teenagers stuck together in their high school for a Saturday detention. After a very lengthy executive meeting, they decide to turn over the concept to Eli Roth, writer and director of cult horror gems Cabin Fever and the Hostel series. (Insert onomatopoeia here), you have Throwing Stones.

The story and horror mystery unfolds in non-linear fashion, effectively gripping myself right off the bat. We are thrown back and forth between a seemingly normal Saturday in which this group is stuck in the school library to a time when said ensemble is being hunted by an as of yet unidentified terror. I’m sure as more episodes are released (eight in total), these two moments in time will fuse, revealing the killer and furthering the dread these teens are experiencing.

As of now, this series is certainly headed in the 
right direction. The dual moments in time shifting towards each other adds a unique and rather thrilling dose of suspense, as well a unique way to showcase two varying displays of cinematography. The first being before the massacre has a fairly standard style and color to it. The second enhances the horror (and bondage) with a darkened colorization and constantly moving camera.

Performances are fairly top notch for this medium, with the actors portraying the terror and fear they are experiencing with a high caliber on this anything but ordinary Saturday. Character development is difficult to judge at this state, as we have only really gotten the opportunity to experience the world they are in, and not a chance to get to know the characters (one of which most likely having deadly motives). My only hope for this series as it progresses is that the terror and gore increases significantly. But, only time will tell.

With just two episodes in, and a proposed six more to go, this web series is a must see for any and all who are a fan of good, ol’ fashioned slasher flicks. You can check out episodes, cast/crew bios and more at www.throwingstoneswebseries.com, as well on www.koldcast.tv.

January 11, 2011

My Review: The King's Speech

I have been so lucky lately to see so many great movies in theaters. There is nothing worse than sitting through a bad movie, especially if you have to pay for it.

The King's Speech was one of those great movies. I thought I would be bored and then it exceeded my expectations. I mean it's a British period piece...snore fest. But nothing is boring when you have the great talents of Geoffrey Rush and Colin Firth. I list Geoffrey Rush first because he kept the movie funny, and then Colin Firth because he was the star of the movie and he's an amazing actor.

The movie centers around King George the sixth and his speech impediment, and the speech coach who helps him get through it. What I really liked about this movie was that not only was it a true story, but it was a good true story. And it was about friendship, and I love movies about friendship.

The supporting cast was also really good, considering they were all people from the Harry Potter franchise. Bellatrix Le Strange, Dumbledore and Peter Pettigrew all make an appearance.

I kid...they have really names. It's always nice to see Helena Bonham Carter in something other than a Tim Burton movie.

Overall it's a great film, great story and entertaining to watch. I admit the trailer does not make it seem that great, but I suggest you give it a shot before Oscar season.

Oscar nomination Predictions:
Best Actor - Colin Firth
Best Supporting Actor - Geoffrey Rush
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Film

Costume design

Grade: A-

January 4, 2011

Worst Cooks Make the Best Entertainment

Food Network’s new season of Worst Cooks in America began Sunday, January 2nd (9:00 pm), and what a start. Chef Robert Irvine is back. Chef Anne Burrell is as vocal as ever. Two contestants started stove-top fires. It’s going to be fun to watch these ugly duckling cooks turn into swans.

To quote John Hammond, “I know my way around the kitchen.” I’m not a professional chef, but I can cook an edible and even pleasing meal, so its amusing to watch people who can’t. I can still relate to these kitchen newbies’ poor choices and mistakes.

Chef Irvine’s first contest was a chicken dish, which included de-boning a whole chicken. I couldn’t do that if I was stranded on an island and the chicken was my only meal. One of the contestants didn’t even know how to use a knife. I thought knives are pretty self explanatory.

Irvine, who previously hosted Dinner Impossible in which he made gourmet meals on hardware supplies, looked like he’d pull his hair out if he had hair to pull out.

Chef Burrell pleaded, “No more fires,” after one of her team members started an olive oil fire. A minute later another member of her team started a second stove-top fire. They probably keep plenty of “unitasker” fire extinguishers on the set (Oh, Alton Brown...). Anne Burrell has plenty of wild pink-blonde hair to pull out, but she berated the contestants instead, deservedly.

One of the contestants eliminated on Sunday undercooked a chicken dinner, starting fires and poisoning the chefs, good times! The other contestant that was cut wants to turn his bar into a restaurant. He had a lot at stake, but as the chefs say, you have to want it.

The show is entertaining even if you’re not a cooking enthusiast. Watching some one cook who has no business being in a kitchen is funny but hopeful, and one of them is taking home $25,000.

The Food Network has too many competition shows, but Worst Cook has the appeal of watching regular people muddle through awkward moments and gain pro skills, as pro as you can get in a ten day cooking boot camp.

A new reality show niche could evolve, from Worst Cook to Worst Interior Decorator, Worst Carpenter, Worst Pet Groomer, the potential is endless.

---Ed Kowalski

January 3, 2011

Web Series Review - Oh, Inverted World

Written & Created by Terence Krey

The Story: Mina, a misanthropic college grad returns home along with her three bearded best friends only to find out that...it sucks. As Mina and the Bearded Three try to cope with the monotony of being home and the fear of what to do next, a strange woman, Selene, comes to them with an even stranger prophecy: The Moon is going to fall into the Earth. And let’s not forget the dead rising, time rifts and people turning to dust. Our twenty somethings are in for quite a ride, all the while worrying whether or not they should even care…

My Thoughts: Ah, the trials and tribulations of returning home from college - returning to your rather mundane hometown; wondering where your income will manifest itself; dealing with lovers of the past and present; being stuck in the middle of a prophecy regarding the apocalypse. ‘Oh, Inverted World’ takes all of that and mashes it together in a decently executed program for the web. Yes, I did say ‘decently’, as, while the series is cleverly written with a production value that seems like an entire town got together to make this project work, it does contain some flaws that may or may not be redeemable in the eight episodes that remain.
The first and foremost positive is the story as a whole. It seems the creator of this series has it all mapped out and expertly melds the mundane lives of post-grads with a sprinkle of a prophetic end of the world. It is reminiscent of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy in that life seems to go on even though life is on the brink of not going on, poised in a quirky fashion. Second is the performance of Pamela Bell, who plays Mina, is a lead actress who easily carries the story and other characters.
Areas where I see room for improvement - the bearded three. After five episodes (all of which run nearly ten minutes each), these best friends of Mina are the supposed saviors of earth, yet barely have had any time to grow as characters. As well, the mysterious Selene, the soothsayer, struggles to maintain her dark and enigmatic traits. Though, I do have faith that with the planned eight episodes that remain, there is plenty of time for these characters to grow, as well as devote some time to the whole end of the world thing.
Overall, this show is presented with whit, charm and the always beloved dose of supernatural. It is a fun watch and I am eagerly awaiting the forthcoming episodes.
The first five episodes are online at www.ohinvertedseries.com, with the remaining eight episodes promptly airing every Sunday.

January 2, 2011

TV's Coming Back in 2011!

There are some shows that are coming back and some that are new. The ones in green are the ones I'm watching what are you watching?


Monday, January 3

8:00 The Bachelor (ABC)

8:00 Pretty Little Liars (ABC Family)

9:00 Greek (ABC Family)

Tuesday, January 4

8:00 The Biggest Loser: Couples (NBC)

8:00 Paula Abdul: Live to Dance (CBS)

9:00 V (ABC)

10:00 Southland (TNT)

Wednesday, January 5

9:00 Ghost Hunters International (Syfy)

Thursday. January 6

8:00 Wipeout (ABC)

10:00 Jersey Shore (MTV)

Friday, January 7

10:00 Merlin (Syfy)

Sunday, January 9

8:30 Bob’s Burgers (FOX)

9:00 Californication (Showtime)

9:00 The Cape (NBC) – two hour premiere

9:30 Episodes (Showtime)

10:00 Shameless (Showtime)

Tuesday, January 11

10:00 Lights Out (FX)

Wednesday, January 12

10:00 Off The Map (ABC)

Friday, January 14

9:00 The Ricky Gervais Show (HBO)

Sunday, January 16

9:00 Big Love (HBO)

Monday, January 17

9:00 Being Human (Syfy)

10:00 Harry’s Law (NBC)

Tuesday, January 18

10:00 White Collar (USA)

Wednesday, January 19

8:00 American Idol (FOX)

10:00 Hot in Cleveland (TV Land)

Thursday, January 20

8:30 Perfect Couples (NBC)

9:00 Royal Pains (USA)

9:30 Parks & Recreation (NBC)

10:00 Fairly Legal (USA)

Friday, January 21

8:00 Kitchen Nightmares (FOX)

10:00 Spartacus: Gods of the Arenas (Starz)

Wednesday, January 26

10:00 Face Off (Syfy)

Thursday, January 27

10:00 Archer (FX)


Friday, February 4

8:00 Who Do You Think You Are? (NBC)

Monday, February 7

9:00 The Chicago Code (FOX)

Tuesday, February 8

9:30 Traffic Light (FOX)

Wednesday, February 9

9:30 Mr. Sunshine (ABC)

10:00 Justified (FX)

Wednesday, February 16

8:00 Survivor: Redemption Island (CBS)

Sunday, February 20

8:00 The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business (CBS)

Wednesday, February 23

8:00 America’s Next Top Model (CW)

9:00 Shedding for the Wedding (CW)


Sunday, March 6

8:00 Secret Millionaire (ABC)

8:00 The Marriage Ref (NBC)

9:00 Celebrity Apprentice (NBC)

Wednesday, March 16

9:00 America’s Next Great Restaurant (NBC)

Monday, March 21

8:00 Dancing with the Stars (ABC)

Tuesday, March 29

10:00 Body of Proof (ABC)


Wednesday, April 6

9:30 Breaking In (FOX)

Wednesday, April 13

10:00 Happy Endings (ABC)

My Review: Black Swan

Let me make a New Year resolution...more entries in 2011!

So...I finally got to see Black Swan, the new Darren Aronofsky film starring Natalie Portman. I must say, I was much more blown away than I thought I would.

For starters, Portman was amazing. Not only is she beautiful and talented, but she can dance ballet. She not only deserves an Oscar nomination and all the praise she's been getting, but I think she deserves to win. I thought her portrayal of an obsessive ballerina was extremely convincing.

I thought this was a great film mainly because it was a great thriller. Most thrillers today are actually horror films, but this film was actually thrilling! I was glued to my seat waiting for what was going to happen, except for the moments when I jumped out of them. I don't want to give anything away, but it is hard to blur the lines between reality and psychosis at times. And although there isn't much to "get" in this film, it's not a take or leave it kind of film either. It makes you think after the fact, which I think is a good staple of what good film making is.

I also really enjoy the supporting cast as well. I'm used to seeing Mila Kunis in comedic roles, but I thought she was really good in this film. I was also happy to see Winona Ryder making a comeback with a small role in this film. I think these 3 women did a great job playing 3 different kind of ballerinas, and the stress that comes with that.

If I had to guess on the Oscar nominations for this film I would definitely think:
Natalie Portman - Best Actress
Darren Aronofsky - Best Director
Best Original Script
Best Picture

There are definitely other nominations it was pick up, but I would bank on these 4.

It's definitely awards season! I have been seeing some great films lately.

Grade - A+