Monthly Archives: July 2012

Ted

Ted ~ The Bride and I watch Seth McFarlane’s “Family Guy” every week, and enjoy it quite a bit. That said, about every two to three weeks we have a discussion about how maybe we’re not going to watch it any more. I’m a fan of ‘cringe humor,’ which McFarlane excels at, heck, I listen to Opie and Anthony every day, but The Bride isn’t, and doesn’t. Sometimes “Family Guy” just goes too far for her.

When I first heard of Ted, McFarlane’s jump to big screens, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it, but I knew The Bride wouldn’t be coming with me to see it. All that said, I laughed out loud at this movie. I don’t do that all that often. I did it at The Three Stooges, but before that? We’re talking maybe years.

The concept is one of a little boy with no friends who wishes his teddy bear was real, and lo and behold, the wish comes true. This is the tale of what happens when said boy, and bear, grow up. Mark Wahlberg makes a fine comedic turn as the boy, grown to drug and alcohol induced irresponsibility with his bear Ted, voiced by writer/director McFarlane. “Family Guy” alumnus Mila Kunis plays Wahlberg’s long suffering and patient girlfriend of four years. All involved are quite good.

Ted is funny, dirty, cringe worthy, and yes, believe it or not, even heartwarming. Speaking of laughing out loud, in a semi-full theater, it was only me and two women up front who were doing so. I felt a little dirty about it, but maybe everyone else was from the PTA or they just couldn’t get into the latest chick flick.

If you’re a “Family Guy” fan or if you liked movies like The Hangover or Bridesmaids, you will love Ted, recommended. And if you liked Airplane, or especially 1980’s Flash Gordon, this is must see. No ifs, ands or buts, must see.

Trail of Potato Chips Helps Nab Thief

The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises ~ In recent weeks I have developed quite an internet reputation as the guy who hated The Dark Knight. Exhibit A can be found here. That said, I actually liked Batman Begins, the first movie in the Christopher Nolan Batman Trilogy, quite a bit. Lucky for me, The Dark Knight Rises has more in common with the first movie than the second.

The Dark Knight Rises picks up eight years after the events of The Dark Knight. The unholy pact between Batman and Jim Gordon at the end of that movie, creating the deceit that Batman killed not only Two-Face’s victims but also Harvey Dent himself. This results in the Dent Act securing a crime-free Gotham City for nearly a decade, during which Batman has vanished.

Bruce Wayne has been a recluse, Howard Hughes style, but is brought out of exile by a slick cat burglar named Selina Kyle. Rookie cop John Blake figures out Wayne’s secret and wants to know what happened. Meanwhile the terrorist Bane plots the destruction of Gotham City. There’s your set up. I figure I could have saved myself the trouble of seeing the second movie and gone from one to three pretty easily.

The cast is excellent this time out. Head and shoulders above the rest are Gary Oldman and Michael Caine who get far too little screen time. Oldman’s subtle intensity as Gordon and Caine’s guiding worry as Alfred are the gold standard of the film. Similarly, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake is the star of this flick, he shines.

Tom Hardy is a suitably menacing Bane in both appearance and intelligence. Anne Hathaway, while never called Catwoman by name, is magic every second she’s on screen. I couldn’t get enough of her. Even Christian Bale puts in his best Bruce Wayne appearance so far in the series.

The story of The Dark Knight Rises borrows liberally from the comics, specifically Knightfall, The Dark Knight Returns and No Man’s Land – and that’s all right. It works. It’s a very complex story of epic proportions, unexpected plot twists and multiple endings and it works.

Oh, to be sure, there are problems here, but nothing like there were in The Dark Knight. I hated the mumble twins – Batman and Bane. Batman still growls, but it’s nowhere near as bad or ridiculous as it was in the last flick. Bane has a breathing mask that garbled his voice as well, but at least there seemed to be some improvement over how it sounded in early previews.

The third quarter of the film drags for me, and probably for everyone else who read Knightfall, but I did like the obvious and literal reference to the Lazarus Pit. I did love the endings, and the Bat was cool despite it bending director Nolan’s grounded-in-reality rule.

All in all, despite the tragedy in Colorado, The Dark Knight Rises is a great film, better than Batman Begins, and it more than makes up for The Dark Knight. See this film, don’t let anything or anyone keep you from going to the theaters.

Random Tater Pic of the Day #56

Thumbs Up for London, Epic Fail for NBC

I just watched most of the opening ceremonies for the 2012 London Olympics. I had to turn away. NBC, in the form of Meredith Viera and Matt Lauer, destroyed any enjoyment I may have gotten from the show.

The opening ceremonies were amazing, and fun, and a spectacle to behold. I amused myself thinking that this is what we would get if the UK ever got off its butt and actually won Eurovision for a change. Yeah, it was that kind of spectacle.

There was a battle between Voldemort and Mary Poppins, a jab at America and our lousy healthcare system, appearances by Mr. Bean, JK Rowling, Daniel Craig and The Queen, tributes to the world wide web and children’s literature, and a touching love story told through the history of British pop music. We even had a three second audio cameo of the TARDIS sound during “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Like I said, amazing.

The problem was NBC had Viera and Lauer over-explaining everything to the audience at home. This isn’t the freaking Rose Bowl Parade, and we are not dull children. We have brains, and failing that, Google, we don’t need you to explain it all. I don’t know what shocked me more – the things they did not know or what they thought we did not know. I know I will never watch any program with them involved again. Even with thousands of Twitter folks telling them to shut up live, they continued their idiotic banter.

A note to the folks at NBC who put this together… Do you ever wonder why the rest of the world hates the United States? Tonight, it’s because of you.

French Fry Diary 398: London Fish and Fries

How CBS Is Ruining Big Brother

Since the first season of “Big Brother” viewers in the United States have not really been watching the real “Big Brother.” American audiences were not receptive, read as low ratings, to the format that had been so successful everywhere else in the world, so US producers made up their own rules. It’s become a unique entity, and that’s not even getting into oddities like US censorship, editing, and limited viewing or prerecorded broadcasts. “Big Brother” US is its own thing, and it’s killing it.

I could get into how incestuous it’s become. The only excitement seems to come from having old houseguests return, or having them transplant from and to other CBS reality TV programs. New viewers tend to be turned off by all of this internal continuity faster than a newbie reading an X-Men comic.

There is also the censorship issue. If CBS doesn’t want you to see something, and it doesn’t happen in the seemingly regulated Showtime late night hours, or you’re not subscribed to the paid feed (and even then sometimes), you’re just not going to see it. Like the rumors of houseguest Chima threatening to take a dump on the bed – the real ratings-getters never make the grade.

The most infuriating way CBS is ruining “Big Brother” is with their Big Brother Network email subscription service. They apparently don’t understand the simply concepts of subject lines, and most importantly, spoilers. I tend to watch my television on DVR, hours, sometimes days later than the original broadcast. More times than I want to admit, I have gotten an email from the BBN with “So-And-So Evicted” in the subject heading. Wtf??

You better straighten up, CBS, I don’t know how much longer I’ll be hanging around the Big Brother House.

French Fry Diary 397: The Mashed Potato Vending Machine

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast for the Week of 7-25-2012

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast is shot live every week at All Things Fun! – the area’s best comics and gaming store, located in West Berlin, NJ.

Co-hosts Ed (Black Hand) Evans, Allison (Hit-Girl) Eckel, and Glenn (Bad Hair) Walker discuss the new comics out this week in wicked high definition video, and also available on the YouTube. See it here!

Discussion featured in this week’s special costume and cover episode includes: Superman #11, Teen Titans #11, The Flash #11, Savage Hawkman #11, Aquaman #11, Firestorm #11, obscure comics trivia, Green Lantern and Batman this week, Justice League Dark #11, Avengers and X-Men this week, X-Treme X-Men #1, Mighty Thor #17, Incredible Hulk #11, Deadpool #58, Hit-Girl #2 (well used), Angel and Faith #12, media tie-in comics, Axe Cop President of the World #1, Zenescope bad-girls-o-rama, Allison’s kids comics including the Super Pets, Adventure Time toys, and trades.

Be sure to check out the wacky new All Things Fun! website, and the All Things Fun! Blogs, by Allison and Glenn, and ATF! on YouTube.

Special thanks go to Dina Evans who keeps us all in line, and on the straight and narrow, as well as running the show from behind the scenes.

And be back here every Wednesday (or Tuesdays at midnight) to watch the new broadcast, and thereafter throughout the week!

Get off my lawn!

Random Tater Pic of the Day #55