The Explorer: Prime Time Review

Prime Time Review

Wednesday 07/30/2014
Prime Time Review: Two upcoming shows hip-hop heads should not miss

The summer has fully engulfed our city, bringing with it sweltering heat and burning winds. As the days get hotter and hotter, many are looking for a way to have fun without melting outdoors.  Whether it is going to a movie at the theatre, a local trampoline—world, or finding some nighttime entertainment, the cool route is always the better route.  For those with an inclination for hip-hop music and a good concert, there are two events coming up in the next few months that you won’t want to miss.

On Aug. 31st Atmosphere is coming to The Rialto Theatre with guests Prof, Dem Atlas, and DJ Fundo. While not everyone may be familiar with the prolific Atmosphere, they are a group well worth knowing about.

Formed in 1989, Atmosphere has been called the group that has, “…transformed the city [Minneapolis] into something else entirely: a nexus from which underground rap spiraled-out to the masses.” The group was originally composed primarily of rapper Sean Daley, better known as Slug, and Anthony “Ant” Davis, as well as other artists who toured with the group and worked on their early albums. The duo, joined with other local Minnesota artists and formed the record label Rhymesayers Entertainment.  Now more of a family than a simple record label, Rhymesayers is composed primarily of local Minnesota artists but has also expanded to representing nationally recognized hip-hop and rap artists.

Atmosphere sits at the head of what many consider to be the most well-composed collection of artists in the underground hip-hop industry.  The label hosts its own Soundset Festival, a multi-day concert that draws well over 20,000 attendees. And now, the group, currently composed of Slug, Ant, Nate Collis playing guitar, and Erick Anderson on the keyboard, is bringing their perfected sound to the Old Pueblo.  

Only one month after Atmosphere comes to town, Club Congress will be hosting another Rhymesayers artist, Brother Ali.  The blind, Islamic emcee has earned a reputation that goes well beyond such simple classifications.  Ali could be called more of a musical activist than a simple artist.  “In an age of hip-hop where the paradigm of swag over substance reigns supreme, few emcees are willing to use their platform to tackle the hot-button topics and pressing social maladies of our time - but it’s apparent that Minneapolis-based hip-hop artist Brother Ali is one of those few.”

Ali released his fourth full-length album under the guidance of platinum selling producer, Jake One. Jake One has worked with big name rap artists the likes of 50 Cent, T.I., and Wiz Khalifa. Ali’s newest album, Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color, “presents a scathing yet honest critique of America and its many flaws while simultaneously presenting a hopeful outlook of its possibilities.” Brother Ali’s music taps deep into the beating heart of hip-hop and attempts to shine the light on the real problems in the world, not just the fancy clothes and big parties found in many different artists’ repertoire.  Ali’s show will be at Congress on Oct. 8.

With these two fantastic headliners coming to our city, this is one of the greatest chances anyone could have to begin to understand the enormous and ever changing culture that is underground hip-hop.  Get out of the oppressing summer heat and find your way into these two historic local venues for a fantastic show. 

Posted in Livenup, Prime time review, Listen, Northwest chatter on Wednesday, July 30, 2014 4:00 am. Updated: 7:39 am. Comments (0)

Wednesday 07/23/2014
Prime Time Review: ‘Goosebumps’ film coming next summer

The highly regarded San Diego Comic Con event never disappoints when it hits the west coast every July. The buzz around the event is not without warrant. 

Every year film producers bring fans sneak peaks on their favorite film franchises, and announce groundbreaking news about fascinating worlds in which we are sure to visit on our next trip to the cinema. 

On July 24, the 2014 Comic Con event is expected to unveil plenty of exciting information regarding a 1990s throwback film based on a popular book franchise. “Goosebumps”, which stars the whimsical A-list actor Jack Black, is set to hit theaters in August of 2015. 

It is timely and clever for producers to take a stab at bringing the popular children’s book franchise to the big screen, as it is sure to grab the attention of both the children of 2014, as well as the children of the 90’s, now well into adulthood. 

The film’s plot will not borrow directly from any of the 100 plus books from author R.L. Stine’s franchise, but instead will take a much broader approach. The movie introduces Zach, a young city boy who moves to a small Maryland. Zach befriends a girl named Hannah, who happens to be the daughter of scary book author R.L. Stine (Black). When Zach accidently releases all of the ghoulish creations of Stine’s books into the real world, the team must work together to round up the monsters before they destroy everything in sight.  

Rather than seek out an aura of true horror, the film aims at blending its spooky nature with an off the wall comedy twist. No stranger to family comedy, Black should fit perfectly in this universe. The star of films such as “School of Rock” and “Kung Fu Panda” also promises to make the R.L. Stine character his own. 

Black recently explained in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that he did not study Stine in hopes of portraying him as accurately as can be, instead Black created a cold and cantankerous version of the author in order to give him just the right personality for the script. 

It may still be too early to tell if the “Goosebumps” film will do justice to the 1990s book series that became a nationwide icon of children’s literature. After all, the film re-unites Black with director Rob Letterman, who teamed up in 2010 to bring the universally detested family flick “Gulliver’s Travels” to fruition. 

But something is just so unmistakably exciting about the idea of seeing every childhood fear once explored under the cover of a blanket fort and flashlight, now brought to life nearly 20 years after the fact. 

Posted in Livenup, Screening, Prime time review, Northwest chatter on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 4:00 am. Updated: 9:05 am. Comments (0)

Wednesday 07/16/2014
Prime Time Review: Tabloid favorite Lindsay Lohan sues Rockstar over videogame character

Lindsay Lohan is heading back to the courtroom soon. However, this time it is she who is filing the lawsuit. The tabloid star is launching a lawsuit against Rockstar Games because she believes her likeness was utilized for one of Grand Theft Auto V’s characters without her permission.

The lawsuit states that the character, Lacey Jonas, is an unequivocal reference to Ms. Lohan. The suit goes so far as to state that Lohan’s voice and style were utilized to create the character, all without her permission. Citing privacy laws, the actress is claiming unspecified damages from not only Rockstar Games, but also Take Two Interactive.

The character in question plays a minor role in the blockbuster game. Jonas is encountered in an alleyway in “Vinewood”, a section of the large open-world game. Jonas is hiding from paparazzi and asks the player to get her home without the paparazzi knowing. During the course of the ride home, the in-game actress admits to the player that the stresses of her life and fame have caused her to become anorexic.

On the surface level, this seems like nothing more than a publicity stunt for Lindsay Lohan, hoping to claw her way into the spotlight. But does this suit have any ground to stand on?

While Lohan’s accusations of using her voice, image, and clothing from her fashion line may seem a little far-fetched, the inclusion of Chateau Marmont Hotel in West Hollywood, where the actress once lived, is being used as evidence of image rights violation.

Reports of the lawsuit originally surfaced through TMZ last December but had gone quiet until now. While there is no specified payout in the lawsuit, lawyers have stated that there would be “serious money” involved.

Lohan has picked quiet a successful game to levy a lawsuit against. Grand Theft Auto V was able to eclipse an impressive $1 billion in sales in less than 72 hours and has continued to maintain a strong fan base since. The game is primed to make even more money soon as it is slated to be released for the Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC this coming fall. Will Lohan’s lawsuit hold any water against the gaming giant?

Posted in Prime time review, Livenup, Northwest chatter on Wednesday, July 16, 2014 4:00 am. Updated: 9:06 am. | Tags: Lindsay Lohan , Rockstar Games , Grand Theft Auto V Comments (0)

Wednesday 07/09/2014
Primetime Review: Marvel continues to build with “Guardians of the Galaxy”

By now the 2014 summer movie season is in full swing, and we have seen our fair share of action packed adventures. There is one upcoming film, however, that may well be one of the most important movies of the year. Marvel’s “Guardian’s of the Galaxy”, which is set to release on Aug. 1, is seemingly a mere outer space saga full of cartoonish characters and ships blowing up. In reality, however, it is the next step in Marvel’s flawless execution of changing the movie industry forever. 

“Guardians” will tell the story of a motley crew of mercenaries that turn out to be the galaxy’s last hope of survival. Nothing groundbreaking here. But Marvel will fuse this new and fantastic out of this world story with its already flourishing planet earth based Avengers franchise. If all goes well with critics and box office numbers, Marvel just may build upon a new and fantastic production strategy that is revamping the way Hollywood operates: world building. 

What Marvel has accomplished in the last six years is nothing short of magic. So magical, in fact, that other production companies have made desperate sloppy attempts at recreating that magic. Earlier this year, Sony Pictures released “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”. Critics failed to swoon over the film, as it felt disjointed and unsatisfying. The story line lacked oomph, and the lack of discretion behind hidden Easter eggs was almost insulting. It almost seemed as though the film was less a stand-alone allegory about a noble super hero, and more a rickety bridge to future films that the company wants to make. Sure enough, even before the release of “Spider-Man”, Sony had already announced sequels and spinoffs involving comic book characters that were not so subtly introduced in the latest Spider-Man film. 

Marvel’s comic book rival, DC Entertainment, is also heading in a direction that may lead to disaster. The success of last year’s “Man of Steel” somewhat justified the hasty announcements of a sequel, but in the spirit of impatience, DC and Warner Bros. chose to leap frog that idea. Instead, the “Man of Steel” sequel was transformed into “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice”, which will be a Batman and Superman crossover film that intends to pave the way for a world of superhero spinoffs.

The primary problem with Sony and DC’s world building technique is that they are planning sequels and spinoff films before the audience has even had the opportunity to demand them. In a similar vein, they are force-feeding new characters to moviegoers before viewers have even had the time to bond with the old ones.


Posted in Livenup, Prime time review, Northwest chatter on Wednesday, July 9, 2014 4:00 am. Comments (0)

Wednesday 07/02/2014
Prime Time Review: North Korea threatens war over movie

The hermit nation of North Korea has recently proclaimed its newest round of threats towards the United States. This time however, the nation is not concerned about military issues or demonstrations, but a Hollywood movie. The always radical and unpredictable country threatens a “resolute and merciless response against the United States” and calls the release of a single film “reckless U.S. provocative insanity”, labeling it an act of war.

What movie could garner such a swift and radical response from North Korea? A documentary looking inside the troubled nation? Or maybe a propaganda film portraying North Korea in a less than favorable light? No, the movie that has North Korean officials so riled up is “The Interview”, a comedy movie directed by Evan Goldberg and starring Seth Rogan and James Franco.

“The Interview” is an action-comedy movie in which two celebrity TV journalists (Rogan and Franco) secure an exclusive interview with North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-Un. Before the interview, the two journalists are recruited by the CIA to assassinate Kim. While this concept may seem funny to Americans and even the rest of the world, the levity is not shared amongst officials in North Korea.

At first, North Korea panned the movie off as nothing more than “rubbish” and gave little care to the comedy, but have now released more dire responses through the nation’s state-run news agency, KCNA, “The act of making and screening such a movie that portrays an attack on our top leadership ... is a most wanton act of terror and an act of war and is absolutely intolerable.”

The preview is filled with plenty of chase scenes, missile attacks, and other events that gimmick the constant threats and bolstering of arms by the hermit nation. The trailer not only comes packed with some interesting action scenes, but also the goofy, none too serious comedy style of Franco and Rogan. The two actors have worked together for over a decade now on some memorable comedy projects like “Freaks and Geeks”, “This is the End”, and “Pineapple Express”.

Are these two “stoner comedians” really releasing a movie that would warrant all-out war? Of course not.  This is not the first time the nation has condemned a Hollywood movie.

In 2002, former North Korean leader Kim Jong-Ill, father of Kim Jong-Un was appalled by the James Bond Film, “Die Another Day”. The film depicted a North Korean citizen selling nuclear weapons, falling in line with the idea that North Korea is part of a modern axis of evil in the world. 2004 saw the release of “Team America: World Police”, a marionette-style movie created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone of “South Park” fame. “World Police” showed former North Korean leader Kim Jong-Ill as an insane megalomaniac with a deep seeded sense of insecurity and loneliness. More recently, the remake of “Red Dawn” in 2012 showcased a North Korean military that was taking over the United States. While this film did not bring as much ire from the North Korean government, many scenes from this movie were used in propaganda films by the North Koreans to show their military superiority.

While these threats just seem like another in a long line of kicking and screaming from the isolated nation, there is always room for some serious consideration concerning these most recent proclamations. The country has been under U.N. scrutiny in the past year because of nuclear tests as well as missile launches that occurred despite sanctions and warnings against the country. More recent reports have shown possible development of a new anti-ship cruise missile in a propaganda film, while others have doubted this.

Regardless of whether or not the nation will follow through with their renewed threats, North Korea’s posturing is only drawing more PR for the upcoming movie.  See the movie in October and judge for yourself how the hermit nation is portrayed.

Posted in Prime time review, Livenup on Wednesday, July 2, 2014 4:00 am. | Tags: North Korea , The Interview Comments (0)

Wednesday 06/25/2014
Prime Time Review: Tucsonan selected for CBS Reality TV

Fans of the CBS reality show “Big Brother” will have a hometown hero to root for this upcoming season. 23-year-old Tucsonan, Christine Brecht, was selected to be among the 16 hopefuls participating for a big cash prize in this year’s competition. Brecht has already been whisked away from her friends and family, shut off from the outside world, and prepared for her TV debut.

“Big Brother”, now in its 16th season, is a competitive escapade for its contestants. Brecht will be placed in a lavish home with her fellow “houseguests”, made to compete in various mental and physical challenges, and will be filmed around the clock. At the end of the competition, the last contestant standing will be awarded a grand prize of $500,000. Brecht’s competition is diverse, ranging from 21 to 42 years old, with occupations that include a YouTube personality, a DJ, a baseball player, a police sergeant, a minister, and a makeup artist.

This season of “Big Brother” has a few twists that set it apart from its predecessors. For those who understand the show’s format, there will be two Heads of Household each week this season. The Heads of Household will be awarded a large suite all to themselves, and will have the authority to nominate other houseguests for elimination. The Heads of Households themselves are not immune to elimination, however. Another twist entering this season will allow fans, or “Team America”, to have an interactive influence on the competition’s outcome. Finally, an entirely new concept entitled “Battle of the Block” is being adopted, and it is designed to shake things up, creating power shifts, and placing contestants on the chopping block.

But despite the challenges ahead, Tucson’s own dog in the fight believes she has the perfect strategy for winning the grand prize. She explains that she plans to carefully select confidants in the house, and to build alliances with those who may help her survive the threat of elimination. Brecht, an avid board game fan, claims that she will maneuver her fellow houseguests like game pieces, using them to her advantage and ultimately reaching her goal through careful planning and masterful execution. It is sure to be some stiff competition, but Brecht is confident that she will bring the prize money back to Tucson.

For those who want to tune in and cheer on their fellow Tucsonan, “Big Brother” will premier in the evening on both Wednesday, June 25 and Thursday, June 26 on CBS.

Posted in Prime time review, Livenup on Wednesday, June 25, 2014 4:00 am. | Tags: Big Brother , Christine Brecht , Tucson Comments (0)

Wednesday 06/18/2014
Prime Time Review: ‘Orange is the New Black’ released to Netflix

Jenji Kohan’s critically-acclaimed Netflix series, “Orange is the New Black” is back for its second season. Set in a woman’s correctional facility, the high-brow humor, witty literary references, and evolving characters all bring an interesting twist to the prison television drama. Even better news for fans of the show, all 13 episodes of the second season have been released at one time, completely affirming the instant gratification, binge-viewing culture of which many of us are a part.

The show is based on a true story and a book by Piper Kerman called “Orange Is the New Black”: My Year in a Women’s Prison. Kerman also lends her first name to the shows main character, Piper Chapman.

The first season of the show was centered on Piper Chapman, played by Taylor Schilling, as she goes from being an engaged, well-to do New Yorker to a hardened inmate in the American justice system. Chapman turns herself in to authorities for a crime she committed 10 years prior with her at-the-time girlfriend, Alex, played by Laura Prepon of “That 70’s Show” fame. The two ex-lovers find themselves reunited after a decade, now amongst a host of comical and sometimes crazy inmates. Despite being a show centered on the lives of convicted criminals, the lines of black and white often blur as the characters and their motives develop throughout the course of the show.

The second season of the show reintroduces a Piper Chapman we have not seen before. No longer the scared woman thrown into the prison system, Chapman is hardened by her experiences and returning with a new, edgier perspective. With 13 more episodes, the spotlight has turned slightly away from Piper Chapman and toward the numerous women and guards that create such a brilliant show. As the numerous faces of the prison change and mature, the stories of the women mature with them. The development of the fantastic cast goes so far as to include an episode without the show’s main character involved.

The backgrounds of the supporting characters are told almost entirely through flashbacks of times before prison walls, snippets into the varied and colorful lives that this cast of characters used to live. From time spent in affluent families to committing credit card fraud, the show holds nothing back when it comes to creating a realistic group of prisoners. New introductions into the prison’s social atmosphere will bring up drama for returning characters as old faces disappear into the correctional system.

With the entirety of the goings-on inside of the prison walls, the outside world does sometimes seem a little boring in comparison. That may be the point, but the scenes of the show involving Piper’s fiancé Larry, played by Jason Biggs, seem a little too boring. While his struggles seem uninteresting in comparison, it is the contrast between the inside and outside worlds that was at one point the basis for the show.  Long gone are the days of Larry worrying about Piper and her time in prison, Now Piper struggles to make her own place in a cut-throat and sometimes confusing prison world.

Overall, what is most impressive about the second season of the show is its ability to create humility and humanity in a group of characters who share some violent and dangerous backgrounds.  Characters begin to develop beyond their stereotypes, and in many ways this is a good thing. With characters continuing to just fulfill archetypal roles a show can become stale and boring quite quickly, losing the interest that a new show carries with it. Jenji Kohan and the crew behind “Orange is the New Black” are continuing to prove that there is some real fight in the online media streaming industry. With Banners for the show streaming across major websites throughout the internet, the hype is out for the new season, and it’s definitely worth a watch.

Posted in Prime time review, Livenup on Wednesday, June 18, 2014 4:00 am. | Tags: Orange Is The New Black , Netflix , Jenji Kohan Comments (0)

Wednesday 06/04/2014
Prime Time Review: X-Men: Days of Future Past - where does it stand?

The newest addition to the line of X-Men movies provides a plethora of famous names and faces from both Hollywood and comic books, but does this star-studded action movie have the chops to be the hit of the summer?

“Days of Future Past” is the seventh film in the franchise spanning over a decade and is a sequel to 2011’s “X-Men: First Class” as well as 2006’s “X-Men: The Last Stand”.  The film is set in a future in which giant robots had been developed to hunt down all of the mutants in the world and once and for all end the mutant problem. But as with most plans to destroy one group of people, it backfires. Both humans and mutants become prime for the slaughter and the future seems all but lost. In a desperate bid to save their future, Prof. X and the X-Men send Wolverine back in time to change history and prevent their doom.

Cast in this desperate bid to save the world are almost all of the familiar names and faces associated with the X-Men film franchise. Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen come back to play their iconic roles as Professor X and Magneto, respectively. Alongside them are many of the classic X-Men we have seen before; Wolverine, Mystique, Storm, Beast, and a few thousand other mutants. Joining these long standing mutant actors are those that played their younger versions in the smashing success, “X-Men: First Class”.  Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy reprise their roles as the younger versions of Magneto and Professor Xavier.

Any movie with a plot based around time or dimensional travel can be a little confusing to grasp. While there is some attention that must be paid to what is going on, the movie flows through the twists and turns of the future’s past with Simon Kinberg’s fantastic screenplay. Reprising this obscure story line from the history of the X-Men comics seems to translate well onto the big screen.

Despite some complaints, the film has received nothing but glowing reviews from most fans and critics alike, many calling it the ideal summer blockbuster. Combining the plot lines from the end of “The Last Stand” and the climactic ending of “First Class” creates a volatile mixing pot for action. This combination may be a little confusing at first, but the all-star cast is an absolute smashing success.

After a decade-plus of X-Men movies and spin-offs, “Days of Future Past” makes us realize why we loved the X-Men in the first place. Fantastic action and stunning CGI effects teamed up with an all-star cast playing some of the most memorable characters in the world of comic books. Take your children, significant other, or even your friends out to see this summer blockbuster.

Posted in Livenup, Screening, Prime time review on Wednesday, June 4, 2014 4:00 am. Updated: 9:38 am. | Tags: X-men , X-men Days Of Future Past Comments (0)

Wednesday 05/28/2014
Prime Time Review: Microsoft announces new version of Xbox without Kinect

In a surprise announcement last week, Microsoft revealed a new model for their Xbox One home gaming console to be available to the public June 9. This Kinect-free unit will be on sale for $399. This change in the console’s hardware and an improved price tag will allow the Xbox to compete with the superior sales of Sony’s Playstation 4. Both of the consoles were released in time for the holidays last year after an exciting marketing war. Late last month, Sony released a figure stating that nearly 7 million units had been sold in the 5 months since the console’s release. Comparing this to the reported 5 million Xbox One units sold by Microsoft, a clear winner has emerged in the next generation of home gaming consoles.

This news comes as a surprise as Microsoft had been adamantly sticking to their guns on the implementation of their revolutionary motion control device. Called the next step in home gaming by Microsoft when it was announced to the public, the Kinect device operates much like a web cam and allows Xbox users to control their console through body movement and voice input. The news of the hardware’s removal in the new model comes almost exactly one year after the Xbox One was announced to be included with the motion capture device as a requirement for using the Xbox One.

Officials from Microsoft stated that the decision to remove the Kinect has come as a result of feedback from the gaming community. Requiring customers to have an array of microphones and a camera not only attached but operating to use the console was a feature of the Xbox One that was removed before launch last year after an enormous outcry. Microsoft seems to be listening to their customer base, occasionally, and is continuing to listen to feedback.

Microsoft deciding to remove the Kinect from the base model of the Xbox One allows users to operate their consoles and play games without the Kinect hardware. This could come as an improvement for many people wishing to play the Xbox One, but also as a detriment to many developers. This removal isn’t all bad, though. In theory the removal of the Kinect could also free up some significant processing space to enhance the Xbox One’s performance capability, something that the Playstation 4 holds the upper hand in.

Though the success of the Xbox One and the Kinect have remained below that of the Playstation 4, many developers and gamers were excited to use the Kinect on the Xbox One.

Offering an Xbox One model without the Kinect apparatus comes as a blow to many video game developers that were beginning to put together some impressive projects for the Kinect, Disney among them. Is Microsoft taking a step back from the hardware that they have so adamantly claimed is the future of the gaming vision?

Posted in Prime time review, Livenup on Wednesday, May 28, 2014 4:00 am. | Tags: Xbox , Kinect , Microsoft Comments (0)

Thursday 05/22/2014
Prime Time Review - Four summer films Likely to disappoint viewers

The summer movie season is upon us, and with it comes all of the anticipated hoopla of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters. Most film producers save their best efforts for the months when sitting in a cool movie theater sounds the most appealing, making it the best time of year for movie fanatics. But for every box office success, there are a few films that fail to hit home with viewers and critics alike.  The following are a few of the films most likely to leave the audience regretting their $12 and two hour investment.

If you are wondering what mankind has done to warrant another Transformers film, you are not alone. Somehow Michael Bay keeps swindling his way into the wallets of Hollywood’s biggest producers, the result being explosion after explosion and robot battle after robot battle. The most upsetting part about a fourth installment to the Transformers franchise is that it will almost surely fare well in the box office. Viewers flock to theaters whenever there is promise of 3D glasses and more cartoons than live action characters. But do not expect “Transformers: Age of Extinction” to win anything shiny come awards season. Bay has a history of missing the point when it comes to filmmaking, often substituting quality storytelling for an amusement park ride experience.

The first Hercules film of the year was nothing short of an embarrassment, so why producers green lit the release of “Hercules”, staring The Rock, is nothing short of a mystery. The film will likely be marketed toward the young male gym rat demographic, but even this target audience knows a stink bomb when they smell one. The trailer reveals what you would come to expect from a Greek folklore war film: glistening muscle men combating mythical creatures with swords, spears, arrows, daggers, and other pointy things. This genre of film follows a strict formula, but Hollywood producers should probably stop trying to recreate “300” and move on. Look for “Hercules” to receive a collective “thumbs down” from critics this summer.

Less than a year after receiving generally negative reviews with 2013’s “Planes”, Dane Cook and company are at it again with their follow up “Planes: Fire and Rescue”. The first film was poorly written and executed, making the prompt creation of a sequel all the more puzzling. The film franchise most likely serves the sole purpose of creating an avenue for a new line of toys to sell to children, and in that aspect it should probably be judged less like a bonafide film and more like a 90 minute commercial for playthings.

We are still months from its release, but there are already few red flags with this summer’s “Jupiter Ascending”. Andy and Lana Wachowski (the pair of brains responsible for steering the “Matrix” trilogy in the wrong direction) direct the film. Given the Wachoswki methodology, you can expect plenty of over the top cartoon fantasy blended with a confusing plot and big name actors being underutilized. The film appears campy at best. Channing Tatum plays Caine Wise, a half wolf and half human creature with Edward Cullen fangs and Legolas ears. Mila Kunis plays a heroine named Jupiter Jones who works as a lowly janitor before finding out she is destined to be queen of the universe. Eddie Redmayne plays Balem Abrasax, one of the leaders of a diabolical alien race with heavy English accents. Though “Jupiter Ascending” deserves originality points for creating a series that is not based off a television show, comic book, video game, or children’s toy, the film looks far too over the top, and will likely tank in the box office.

The summer movie season has much to offer by way of fantastic films that captivate viewers. These films, however, will most likely not fall into that category. Avoid these movies this summer, and you just might save yourself, and your wallet, a whole lot of disappointment.

Posted in Prime time review, Livenup, Screening on Thursday, May 22, 2014 3:05 pm. | Tags: Movies , Jupiter Ascending , Transformers: Age Of Extinction , Hercules , Planes: Fire And Rescue Comments (0)

Wednesday 05/07/2014
Prime Time Review - Star Wars: Episode VII casting draws praise from Hamill, mixed reactions from fans

Slated for release Dec. 18 of next year, Star Wars: Episode VII is quite possibly one of the most anticipated events in recent nerd culture. Since the installment was announced to be in the works, questions swirled from all around: Who will be directing? Will any of the original cast make a return? How far in the future is this episode? It seems as though some of the final questions were answered when the official Star Wars website announced the casting for the new movie:

“Actors John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow will join the original stars of the saga, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker in the new film.”

Yes, the original three will be making a glorious return to the big screen in their timeless roles. Interestingly, the decision was made somewhere along the line to also bring back the original actors Daniels, Mayhew and Baker.

While this is by no means a discredit to their abilities as actors, the physicality of all three of their roles seems to be a big roadblock. It will be interesting to see if Daniels can still bring C-3PO to life with the same lovable effect he once had. Mayhew’s role as Chewbacca will also present some difficulties; Mayhew hasn’t been in the best of health for some time and has arguably one of the most physical roles in the movie. In the world of computer animation that we live in today, it seems as though putting Kenny Baker back into the R2-D2 can seem a little over the top.

The Disney produced film will be directed by none other than J.J. Abrams, known for his work rebooting the “Star Trek” series in the past few years, among numerous hit television shows the likes of “Lost” and “Fringe”. With such a fantastic and proven director, could there be any issues with what is now the complete picture of the new movie?

Mark Hamill sees nothing wrong, tweeting his excitement shortly after the casting was released:

“UK table read- I was knocked out by the diverse & extraordinarily talented new cast members. WOW they’re good! The saga is in superb hands.”

Despite the backing of Luke Skywalker, the casting does pose some other interesting questions. Aside from the return of three original cast members with taxing physical roles, the main members of the cast have a slight mono-chromatic tinge. There have always been disgruntled fans pointing out the lack of racial diversity amongst the main cast in the history of the franchise, Mace Windu and Lando Calrissian being the African Americans of note. It African Americans of note. It seems as though the galaxy has suffered from a diversity issue. This, clearly, does not mean the franchise or Abrams is racist, just that there has been some slight overlook to simulating a more realistic, diverse cast.

Women also seem to be noticeably absent from the spotlight throughout “Star Wars” film history. Princess Leia was, by no means, a pushover, but she is the sole strong female figure of note in the history of the films, as Padmé left a lot to be desired.

By continuing the trend of this style of casting, Abrams seems to have missed his chance to bring some huge changes to the film series. In recent years, the Star Wars Expanded Universe has made colossal advancements in developing strong, female roles, bringing in many new and diverse characters. The return back to the film series will not be taking place in the expanded universe.

Any negative feedback is assumptive, at best. The casting does not dictate how the characters will be written, or how they will interact with one another. After the overall poor performance of the prequel trilogy, fans have extremely high expectations for this Abrams-captained reboot of the much beloved universe.

Somewhere in the world, the galaxy far, far away is being rebuilt for the big screen.

Posted in Livenup, Screening, Prime time review on Wednesday, May 7, 2014 4:00 am. Updated: 10:04 am. | Tags: Star Wars Episode 7 , Star Wars , Disney Comments (0)

Wednesday 04/23/2014
Prime Time Review: AC/DC refutes retirement rumors despite absences

Fans of the perennial Australian rock gods, AC/DC, can breathe just a little bit easier. Rumors have arisen over the past week concerning the band’s retirement after over 40 years of heavy rocking. These rumors stemmed from news of poor health of founding member and rhythm guitarist, Malcolm Young.

The band finally spoke up to combat these rumors with a statement released on their website: “After 40 years of life dedicated to AC/DC, guitarist and founding member Malcolm Young is taking a break from the band due to ill health. Malcolm would like to thank the group’s diehard legions of fans worldwide for their never-ending love and support.”

After playing together for over thirty years, Johnson and the rest of AC/DC form a very tight family. Since the death of original lead singer Bon Scott in 1980, Johnson has headed one of the most influential and successful rock bands in the world. AC/DC had been planning to do their 40th year anniversary tour, playing forty different venues in forty different places, but now this mega-tour seems to be in a precarious limbo.

This sadly does not seem to just be a passing illness, either. Mark Gable, a fellow Australian musician, stated that the illness was quite serious: The most common rumor concerning what exactly the illness is, as nothing is officially confirmed, is that Young is suffering from a blood clot in his brain due to a recent stroke. During rehearsals at the beginning of this month, Young, 61, realized that he couldn’t play like he used to. 

This sad news doesn’t just put a future tour in jeopardy, but a new album. Johnson also stated that, ““We are definitely getting together in May in Vancouver,” he said. “We’re going to pick up some guitars, have a plonk, and see if anybody has got any tunes or ideas. If anything happens, we’ll record it.”  This is bittersweet news at its finest. A new AC/DC album may soon be in the process of creation, but without one of its founding members. 

AC/DC was formed in 1973 by Malcolm and his younger brother Angus Young, the latter being well known for his shorts and school-boy attire. Since its inception, AC/DC is been a constant force in the rock music world. Throughout the decades, the band has refused to change what they do, to change their sound, and the results are shown in popularity. 

Despite the multiple lineup changes in the past few decades, the band remains where it should, working towards putting out more music.

Posted in Prime time review, Livenup, Listen, Northwest chatter on Wednesday, April 23, 2014 4:00 am. Comments (0)

Wednesday 04/16/2014
Prime Time Review: Which “Colbert” will appear on “The Late Show”?

The televised announcement of  “The Late Show” host David Letterman’s retirement sparked an immediate knee-jerk reaction of public speculation over who would be chosen to fill the void left by the longest running talk show host. Familiar names began to enter the fray as potential successors. Rumors circulated regarding Neil Patrick Harris, Tina Fey, Chelsea Handler, and even Jay Leno as the next torch bearer. Ultimately, however, it would be Comedy Central’s golden goose, Stephen Colbert, who would be awarded the opportunity to take his talents to one of the most coveted spots in television. 

Colbert first entered the spotlight as an analyst on John Stewart’s The Daily Show before ultimately earning his own satirical talk show, The Colbert Report, in 2005. Over the last decade, Colbert’s popularity has soared, finding much success in the ever-coveted 18-49 demographic. Young adults could not get enough of Colbert’s faux-conservative character, who mockingly depicts a very uninformed, naïve, and often idiotic news personality. 

Given Colbert’s gimmick as a quasi-talk show host, the biggest question going into the new “Late Show” era will be whether or not the audience will be tuning in to watch Stephen Colbert, or “Stephen Colbert”. Though CBS has yet to reveal any information pertaining to the show’s outline, most members of the media seem to agree that Colbert will have to lay his eccentric caricature to rest, embracing instead a less extreme persona. This may be difficult to imagine, as audiences have often had trouble determining where “Colbert” the character ended and Colbert the man began. But Stephen Colbert is, above all else, a performer. His invented character was nothing more than ingenious acting from a very charismatic entertainer, and the talk show host himself has claimed that he has no trouble in leaving his invention behind. 

Yet, some skepticism about Colbert’s reception in his new role must exist. Though the real Stephen Colbert undoubtedly possesses all of the magnetism, charm, and inherent skills of a bona fide talk show host, one must also question how the public will respond to what is sure to be a much more dry and subdued version of the “The Colbert Report” host. At best, Stephen Colbert runs the possibility of being slightly less comical, and at worst, risks being seen as down right boring. The new host runs as a risk for CBS, which has chosen to gamble on a version of Stephen Colbert who has never seen the spotlight, and who most of the world has never even met. 

Posted in Prime time review on Wednesday, April 16, 2014 4:00 am. Comments (0)

Wednesday 04/09/2014
David Letterman announces retirement

David Letterman, host of the “Late Show”, announced his retirement during the taping of the April 3 episode, ending his 21-year run as the host of the show sometime in 2015.

The 66-year old comedian is saying good-bye to the show that he has been such a namesake for since 1982, deciding not to renew his current contract that expires next year. Letterman will be ending one of the most impressive late-night runs ever, and one of the most influential talk shows in television history.

Letterman gave a heartfelt thank you to his fans while taping the night’s show: “I just want to reiterate my thanks for the support from the network, all of the people who have worked here, all of the people in the theater, all of the people on the staff, everybody at home, thank you very much.” 

While this announcement may be saddening to many fans of Letterman and the show, there is a positive way to look at this. With most of this year and an undetermined amount of time in next year’s line-up, we will have plenty of time to truly appreciate what he did for not only his own show, but television in general. 

The biggest questions that follow this news are concerning the great host’s future replacement. With the lineup of late-night talk show always changing around and stars disappearing at random, it is difficult to pin down who will take over the show. 

When Jay Leno left the “Tonight Show” in 2009 and started his own show, Conan O’Brien took Leno’s position as the host. Leno returned to “Tonight Show” in 2010, after O’Brien’s contract was severed. It was then announced that Jimmy Fallon would take over for Leno. After leaving the “Tonight Show”, O’Brien found himself with the opportunity to make his own show, “Conan”. After all that turmoil, Jimmy Fallon was the one who found himself as the new pioneer of late-night television.

With all that being said, who will do it? Who will fill the spot of the great David Letterman? Great comedian-hosts such as Stephen Colbert, Craig Ferguson, and Jon Stewart are just three of the multiple names put forth by fans in speculation of a successor. While it seems less than likely to happen, Colbert and Stewart being on the same network does raise some interesting speculation on the matter. Ferguson seems the more likely candidate, though, as his show does follow Letterman’s on CBS’ lineup.

While Letterman may not have always carried the best ratings for CBS, or may not have been the most comically on point, there is no denying the huge impact that Letterman has had on late night television.  Letterman’s style and the attitude that he brought to the production has become a major contribution to television in general, especially to those such as Fallon and Ferguson. 

For those who have never seen an episode of Letterman’s “Late Show”, you still have at least a year to get some viewing in.

Posted in Prime time review, Livenup, Northwest chatter on Wednesday, April 9, 2014 4:00 am. Comments (0)

Wednesday 03/19/2014
Prime Time Review - Guided by Voices enhances prolific reputation

Indie rock and Lo-Fi music trailblazers, Guided by Voices, have become one of the longest running bands in the genre. Begun in 1983 in Dayton Ohio, the band has released more than 20 albums that have generated a cult following across generations. More impressive, however, is the fact that the band has shown absolutely no sign of slowing itself down.

The band’s most recent album, Motivational Jumpsuit, was released on Feb. 18. Reviews for the album have been primarily positive, which is to be expected from such an established rock outfit. The new release does not push any boundaries or break any barriers of music. Instead, Motivational Jumpsuit is a token of what GBV is known for, short and sweet tracks with fuzzy power chords and pop rock melodies. With the longest track clocking in at mere seconds over three minutes, the 20-track album can feel a little rushed and disjointed at times. GBV’s songs do not always necessarily flow or mesh with one another across an album as a whole, which may seem a bit novitiate to some, but also quite refreshing to others. Guided by Voices has never been a band that attempts to create synthetic and elaborate productions with each album. Instead, Motivational Jumpsuit and its predecessors harbor an organic garage band sentiment, albeit a garage band that has become overwhelmingly talented at writing guitar driven rock ballads with infectious melodies.

Guided by Voices is fueled by the artistic vision of singer-songwriter Robert Pollard. At 56 years old, Pollard has become a bit legendary in the underworld of Indie pioneers. On average, Pollard’s collective musical projects produce roughly six albums per year, most of which are written by the guitarist himself. One of the most prolific songwriters of our time, Pollard has written an estimated 1,600 songs that have been produced by record companies. In essence, the songwriter is more productive each year than most rock bands are in their entire existence.

Given Pollard’s unwaveringly fruitful output of musical movements, it is no surprise that Guided by Voices is already planning the release of their next album, which they announced a mere two weeks after the release of Motivational Jumpsuit. On May 13, GBV will unleash Cool Planet on loyal fans that have become enthralled with the band’s relentlessness and tenacity. The album was recorded in wintery Ohio during this year’s polar vortex and will receive a wide release via the band’s own record label, Guided by Voices inc. Comprised of 18 rock and roll tracks, there is little doubt that Cool Planet will harbor the same brief and crunchy song structure that has Guided by Voices has become known for. It may not be the most marketable or appealing style to new listeners, but it has gotten the Indie rock journeymen this far, and 31 years in the music business is not half bad.

Posted in Prime time review, Livenup, Northwest chatter on Wednesday, March 19, 2014 4:00 am. | Tags: Prime Time Review , Guided By Voices Comments (0)

Wednesday 03/12/2014
Primetime Review: FX renews ‘Archer’ for a pair of new seasons

The world of the spy and secret agents has intrigued audiences across all media. Dashing men in well-fitted suits fire golden bullets, get the girl, and hopefully save the day. Where there is success, there is often parody in the world of entertainment. We are lucky enough to have a brilliant spy-parody, a rarity in television, with a unique twist.

“Archer” is an animated, half-hour spy comedy set around the misadventures and sometimes successful missions of a secretive spy organization. The show is staged primarily at the headquarters of ISIS, the International Secret Intelligence Service, based in New York City. Even though each of the many characters brings a uniquely riotous blend of comedy to the show, “Archer” is based around the debonair Sterling Archer, or just Archer. Archer is the top agent at ISIS only because his mother owns the organization, and is a blend of repressed college frat boy and alcoholic gun toting super spy.

The show is currently airing its fifth season and this extension will run the show for a sixth and seventh season, potentially ending in 2016 with opportunity for syndication.  Two more years on the network comes with an air of confidence as FX executives boasted about the show’s consistent viewership and massive appeal amongst younger age groups. Many a night has been spent by a teenage boy and his buddies watching through an entire season of “Archer”. Seeing as the show has been one of FX’s cornerstones over the past few years and is one of the highest rated shows on basic cable, this move shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has watched the show progress.

Behind the hilarious show is a fantastic cast of voice actors, without which the show would have no legs on which to stand. H. Jon Benjamin lends his voice to Sterling Archer and has now picked up doing the voice of Bob on “Bob’s Burgers”.  The voice cast also includes Aisha Tyler, Jessica Walter, Chris Parnell, Judy Greer, Amber Nash, Reed and Lucky Yates.

The show’s fifth season has been titled “Archer Vice”, a name that is backed wholly and completely by the events on the show. It does show that viewers love one thing, cocaine and Miami Vice spoofs. The series has already taken Archer and the crew to snow crusted mountains, the African desert, gator infested swamps, and a host of other exotic and often comical locales across the world. With the budget behind operations at ISIS seeming to come from thin air, despite multiple plot lines of budgeting cut-backs, Malory Archer and her rag-tag collective of spies have brought nothing but laughter from viewers for years.

With two more seasons of the show already slated to be aired, it will be interesting to see where the writing staff behind “Archer” will be taking the show next.

Posted in Prime time review, Livenup, Northwest chatter on Wednesday, March 12, 2014 8:31 am. Comments (0)

Wednesday 02/26/2014
Prime Time Review: New Godzilla poster debuts a massive king of monsters

Godzilla is a worldwide pop icon both in the monster’s image and in name. Since its first appearance in the 1954 version of “Godzilla”, the raging king of reptiles has graced theaters around the world in almost thirty different films as well as in numerous other appearances across nearly every form of entertainment. 

The legendary Japanese franchise first received an American adaptation in 1998, directed and co-written by Roland Emmerich. While the special effects and intense battle scenes blew audiences away, the movie was heavily criticized for its poorly developed plot, bad casting choices, and scientific implausibility, even for a science-fiction movie about a giant lizard. In addition to fairly harsh reviews from critics, fans of the franchise were extremely disappointed.  The American adaptation drastically redesigned the image of the classic Godzilla, venturing far from Tomoyuki Tanaka’s original source materials. The movie won multiple Raspberry Awards including “Worst Remake or Sequel” and “Worst Supporting Actress” and was nominated in multiple other categories. 

The western media will get another crack at reimaging the timeless and terrifying image of Godzilla. A trailer was released for the movie in Dec. of last year, bringing about the beginnings of hype. Luckily for Godzilla fans, Yahoo movies has recently released a new poster for the upcoming film that contains a release date.  This poster shows an ominous monster more reminiscent of the classic Japanese Godzilla, raising havoc in only the way Godzilla knows how. What is really startling about this poster is the immense size of the King. Destroying San Francisco in this adaptation, the monster stands nearly 100-stories high in all of his fury. 

This is not the only source of excitement for this upcoming movie. Unlike the previous adaptation, May 15 will give us a Godzilla movie with a truly phenomenal cast.  Names include “Breaking Bad’s” Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson of “Kick- Ass” fame, Ken Watanabe from “Inception” and “The Last Samurai”, Elizabeth Olsen, best known for her role in “Martha Marcy May Marlene”, and Juliette Binoche. With such an experienced and diverse cast, there is at least one aspect of this reboot that should be of no concern. 

It seems, at least, from the poster that this Godzilla will be much more akin to the Godzilla of years past. The monster was designed originally to be an analogy for the horrors of nuclear war that Japan faced at the end of World War II. Godzilla has since been construed as a metaphor for the failings of man’s ambition, the dangers of technology, and multiple other calamities. It seems that this reboot will be more of a throwback to the force of unstoppable fury and carnage that had graced television sets, theatres, and videogame systems for longer than nearly any other pop culture icon. 

There are practically no other monsters as recognizable as the king of them all. Godzilla has destroyed countless cityscapes and caused uncountable sums of damage. The terror of society that comes forth from the ocean’s depths will get another, well deserved, chance to have a successful American adaptation. Head out to your local theaters May 15, throw on those 3-D glasses, and prepare for terror.   

Posted in Blogs, Prime time review, Livenup, Screening, Northwest chatter on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 4:00 am. Comments (0)

Wednesday 02/19/2014
Primetime Review: “How I Met Your Dad” star has the right stuff

Fans of the now defunct hit sitcom “How I Met Your Mother” can attest to the fact that though the show was resoundingly successful, it also seemed to wear out its welcome during its final seasons. Some of the story lines became slightly overblown, as if writers were reaching desperately for ideas to carry the story into the next episode. Naturally, a large number of internet bloggers were skeptical when CBS announced that it had given the green light for a spinoff series entitled “How I Met Your Dad”. 

Skepticism aside however, CBS executives have done their homework, and they just may have an ace up their sleeve in the form of their incoming leading actress, Greta Gerwig. 

Gerwig is an indie film fan favorite, possessing a resume filled with loveable performances as girls next door and socially inelegant heroines. The most famous of these characters was her leading role in the instant cult classic “Frances Ha”, where Gerwig plays an awkwardly loveable free spirit who’s foibles and quirks are as cute as a button. The performance was masterful, and earning Gerwig a Golden Globe nomination for best actress. 

In her new upcoming sitcom, Gerwig will channel her inner “Frances” once more in order to play Sally, a young New York woman with a Peter Pan Syndrome-esque inability to grow up. The shows plotline will revolve around Sally’s recounting of events leading up to her failed marriage. 

Given the character archetype, and Gerwig’s prior experience, it would appear that CBS is looking to cash in on its own socially hip and clumsily enchanting female star in a similar vein to Fox’s Zooey Deschanel or NBC’s Tina Fey. 

The mold of a female infectious charmer meets slapstick comic is nothing new to television. It began with Lucille Ball in the 1950’s and stretches across television history and into the present. Gerwig fits perfectly into this circle of leading women.  

What makes Gerwig’s talents extra valuable, however, is the fact that they exceed far beyond that of acting in front of a camera. CBS’s new golden girl is also an accomplished writer, having taken on writing duties for four feature length films, including her magnum opus “Frances Ha”. Gerwig will lend her pen to the story lines of her new sitcom, teaming up with “How I Met Your Mother” lead writer Carter Bays as well as “Saturday Night Live” writer Emily Spivey. 

In addition, Gerwig will be taking on producing duties for the series. This will give the “How I Met Your Dad” just the right hint of authenticity, as Gerwig has succeeded in persuading executives to use New York as the upcoming sitcoms back drop. 

Gerwig has already enraptured the hearts of indie film fanatics, seemingly enticed the interest of NBC executives, and will more than likely win over the rest of the nation with her idiosyncratic likeability. NBC has made the perfect choice in the selection of the multi-talented actress as their next bright star to bring the “How I Met Your Mother” franchise back to television.

Posted in Prime time review, Livenup, Northwest chatter on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 4:00 am. Comments (0)

Wednesday 02/12/2014
Philip Seymour Hoffman: The death of a complicated man

Shock and sadness are the prevalent emotions for the friends, family, and fans of Oscar Winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman after he was found dead the morning of Feb. 2. His death is now being called an apparent overdose at an apartment he rented in Greenwich Village. 

The prolific actor could often be seen riding his bike around town, taking his kids to school, and stopping in at his local favorites for coffee or dinner. Ordering a four-shot espresso and chit chatting with others, the day before his death, the life of “Phil” seemed completely ordinary.  Cut to Sunday and the story is a much more tragic one. 

The story of Hoffman’s last few hours alive seems to be the most important task for investigators as they try to piece together the final events of the actor’s life. After a normal day around town filled with business meetings and coffee-shop trips, Hoffman went out to dinner with two associates that Saturday night for what seemed to be an official business get-together. By 9 p.m. witnesses across multiple locations record seeing Hoffman making several account withdrawals, totaling $1,200. After failing to pick up his children the next morning, the children’s mother grew concerned and asked one of Hoffman’s friends, playwright David Katz, to investigate. 

Katz and another friend were unfortunate enough to find Hoffman on his bathroom floor with a needle in his arm. Investigators also discovered close to 50 envelopes containing what they believed to be heroin. Empty bottles of prescriptions drugs were also found at his residence. 

Seeing a famous figure such as Phil succumb to the woes and trials of drug abuse should come as a warning to many others. Looking at the last few days of the actor’s life, it was the stereo-typical last days of an addict’s life. With intermittent periods of normalcy marked with episodes of erratic behavior, friends of the actor reported saying that there seemed to be something amiss with him. After returning home from filming scenes for the upcoming “Hunger Games” release, the actor was seen throughout Greenwich Village going through his normal, everyday routines. 

The news of the actor’s death should also hold deeper warning for those who have suffered from drug abuse in their own lives. Philip Seymour Hoffman sobered himself up at the age of 22 after graduating college and remained sober over the course of 23 years. A sober Hoffman made quite the career for himself, winning an Academy Award and a Golden Globe as well as numerous nominations. Movies such as “Capote” are considered by many to be one of the greatest examples of acting ever. After all of that time sober, you would think it was all smooth sailing. Sadly this is never the case with addiction. In 2012, the actor was reported using prescription pain pills again and later checked himself into rehab for heroin use. Now, at 46, an actor of his generation finds himself beaten by the chemical relief that he so desired. 

While it is probably never going to be discovered what drove Hoffman back to drugs, the events are sad nonetheless. After testing the substances found at Hoffman’s residence, police did confirm that it was in fact heroin. Authorities were then able to make some surprising arrests late on the night of Jan. 4 of four people believed to be connected to the drugs found in the actor’s apartment. While the heroin was not the same “brand” as that found in Hoffman’s apartment, one of the men did have the actor’s number stored in his phone and was in contact with him.  

News of the actor’s death shocked the nation as fans broke down in tears and friends seemed stunned by the passing. Seeming to many as just an average New-Yorker, Philip Seymour Hoffman should be remembered for the amazing career and roles he put behind him, not his sad and untimely end.

Posted in Prime time review, Livenup, Screening, Northwest chatter on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 4:00 am. Updated: 10:49 am. Comments (0)

Wednesday 01/29/2014
When does fame stop being an excuse?

“The lifestyles of the rich and famous”, celebrities are expected to live somewhat extravagant lives, enjoying the surplus of wealth that their careers have bestowed upon them. The recent success and controversy revolving around Martin Scorsese’s “Wolf of Wall Street” just goes to show that we as the viewing public like to watch stories of excess and wealth and all of the various trappings that go along with being famous. We all enjoy a good story, but when do we stop the excess partying, the never-ending good times that just become the makeup of tabloid covers? Enjoying a good romp on the movie screen or on your television set at home is one thing, but when the stories of celebrities gone wild extends into the real world, someone has to be there to stop them.

Another celebrity seems to be making their way down the long road of public humiliation and degradation, as once teen heart-throb Justin Bieber was arrested at 4 a.m. the morning of Jan. 23 for driving under the influence and drag racing in Miami. To make matters worse, Bieber was pulled over driving a rented yellow Lamborghini. According to local news sources, the singer was being followed by multiple Miami Beach Police Department SUV’s when they took up pursuit. After a chase of “significant distance”, Bieber was apprehended, failed to pass a field sobriety test, and was not in possession of a valid driver’s license.

To make matters even worse for Bieber, members of his entourage and friends were using their personal vehicles to shut down the street. Just like a scene from Fast and Furious, Bieber is trying to live the street racer dream.

This is not the first time Justin Bieber has recently found himself under scrutiny for less than sterling actions. Earlier during his stay, Bieber attended friend Lil Scrappy’s birthday party at the King of Diamonds Gentlemen’s Club. 

According to a representative from the venue, Bieber spent $75K in single dollar bills that night. Stories like this do not come as a shock to many who have watched the pop sensation slowly drop the guile of his innocent youth and try to develop a more machismo persona. 

Working against the image of a new, adult Bieber is an incident that occurred earlier this month which is undergoing investigation. California detectives searched Justin Bieber’s home this month looking for incriminating surveillance footage to serve as possible evidence in the pop star’s involvement in an egging vandalism incident in Oct. that caused a few thousand dollars in damage to the house of one of Bieber’s neighbors. In the process of carrying out the search, the dozen investigators discovered cocaine on one of Bieber’s friends that was in the house. While the man’s name was not immediately released, police did state that the cocaine was in plain sight in Bieber’s house upon the arrival of investigators. 

Egging someone’s house is a dumb decision for anyone of any age. The fact that there were thousands of dollars in damages delivered by a simple egging makes matters even worse. Having that in the minds of your fans is bad enough, but having police find cocaine in your house is a PR move in the worst way. As the shining image he has cultivated over the past few years in the hearts of many a young fan begins to fade, the spotlight will grow ever brighter as we the public scrutinize and analyze every mistake. 

Being famous comes with its benefits, which goes without saying. Being able to put your name on something that the whole world knows and loves is an accomplishment that many aspire to but very few ever come even close to achieving. When someone does get their big break and becomes enormously successful in the world, they have an obligation to not spoil their image to the people who look up to them and want to be like them. Especially in the case of a person like Justin Bieber, who has captivated so many young people, when do we finally say enough is enough?

Posted in Prime time review, Livenup on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 4:00 am. Comments (0)

Wednesday 07/30/2014

Prime Time Review: Two upcoming shows hip-hop heads should not miss

Wednesday 07/23/2014

Prime Time Review: ‘Goosebumps’ film coming next summer

Wednesday 07/16/2014

Prime Time Review: Tabloid favorite Lindsay Lohan sues Rockstar over videogame character

Wednesday 07/09/2014

Primetime Review: Marvel continues to build with “Guardians of the Galaxy”

Wednesday 07/02/2014

Prime Time Review: North Korea threatens war over movie

Wednesday 06/25/2014

Prime Time Review: Tucsonan selected for CBS Reality TV

Wednesday 06/18/2014

Prime Time Review: ‘Orange is the New Black’ released to Netflix

Wednesday 06/04/2014

Prime Time Review: X-Men: Days of Future Past - where does it stand?

Wednesday 05/28/2014

Prime Time Review: Microsoft announces new version of Xbox without Kinect

Thursday 05/22/2014

Prime Time Review - Four summer films Likely to disappoint viewers

Wednesday 05/07/2014

Prime Time Review - Star Wars: Episode VII casting draws praise from Hamill, mixed reactions from fans

Wednesday 04/23/2014

Prime Time Review: AC/DC refutes retirement rumors despite absences

Wednesday 04/16/2014

Prime Time Review: Which “Colbert” will appear on “The Late Show”?

Wednesday 04/09/2014

David Letterman announces retirement

Wednesday 03/19/2014

Prime Time Review - Guided by Voices enhances prolific reputation

Wednesday 03/12/2014

Primetime Review: FX renews ‘Archer’ for a pair of new seasons

Wednesday 02/26/2014

Prime Time Review: New Godzilla poster debuts a massive king of monsters

Wednesday 02/19/2014

Primetime Review: “How I Met Your Dad” star has the right stuff

Wednesday 02/12/2014

Philip Seymour Hoffman: The death of a complicated man

Wednesday 01/29/2014

When does fame stop being an excuse?

Wednesday 01/15/2014

Will 2014 be the year of streaming media?

Wednesday 01/01/2014

Start the year with science at UA Mirror Lab

Wednesday 12/18/2013

Is Disney snatching up all your childhood heroes?

Wednesday 12/04/2013

Prime Time Review: Spike Lee’s ‘Oldboy’ remake holds true to the original

Wednesday 11/27/2013

Prime Time Review: Hottest electronics this holiday season

Wednesday 11/20/2013

Primetime Review: El Tour de Tucson rides into town

Wednesday 11/06/2013

Prime Time Review: Horror fans rejoice, Bruce Campbell slated to return as Ash in ‘Army of Darkness 2’

Wednesday 10/23/2013

Prime Time Review: ‘South Park’ falls short of airing deadline for the first time

Wednesday 10/09/2013

Prime Time Review: Prolific author Tom Clancy dies in Baltimore at 66

Wednesday 09/25/2013

Prime Time Review: Grand Theft Auto V lives up to the hype

Wednesday 09/18/2013

Prime Time Review: New iPhone reveals Apple’s ups and downs?

Wednesday 09/11/2013

Jack Nicholson’s ‘retirement’ causes a stir. But is it true?

Wednesday 09/04/2013

Prime Time Review: Lessons to be learned from 2013’s summer films

Wednesday 08/21/2013

‘The Civil Wars’ bittersweet rise to number one

Wednesday 08/14/2013

Primetime Review: Amber Tamblyn to guest star on “Two and a Half Men”

Wednesday 08/07/2013

Prime Time Review: Johnny Depp warns of future retirement

Wednesday 07/31/2013

Primetime Review: The legacy of Walter White - ‘Breaking Bad’ series finale is almost here

Thursday 07/25/2013

Prime Time Review: Comic-Con is a hotspot for fresh ideas

Wednesday 07/17/2013

Primetime Review: Mount Lemmon SkyCenter to supply beautiful views

Wednesday 07/10/2013

Primetime Review: RiffTrax provides cinematic satire

Wednesday 07/03/2013

Prime Time Review: Remembering James Gandolfini

Wednesday 06/26/2013

Prime Time Review: Clark Kent missing in action

Wednesday 06/12/2013

Primetime Review: Christopher Nolan’s vision

Sunday 05/19/2013

Prime Time Review - 'Kitchen Nightmares'

Friday 05/10/2013

Prime Time Review - Indie Rock Veterans provides Tucson with memories Prime Time Review - The future of the online movie market

Friday 04/26/2013

Prime Time Review - New technology seeks to increase theater revenue

Friday 04/19/2013

Prime Time Review - The Pima County Fair is here

Sunday 04/07/2013

Prime Time Review - The end of the LucasArts era

Sunday 03/31/2013

Prime Time Review - La Cocina Provides Positive Local Outlet for Music

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