Category Archives: justin timberlake

Yogi Bear 2010

Yogi Bear ~ This is the live action and CGI big screen movie from Christmas 2010 that pretty much bombed at the box office. Much like The Green Hornet a year or so back, I have to wonder if its because the current movie going audience has no point of reference for Yogi Bear any longer.

When I was a wee toddler waaay back in the late sixties, I have great memories of watching classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters like Yogi Bear with my dad. It’s a good memory, sitting with my father, seeing the five to eight minute adventures of Huckleberry Hound, Jinx the Cat, Pixie and Dixie, and Jellystone Park’s favorite pick-a-nick basket thieves, Yogi and Boo Boo Bear.

Later those good memories of semi-good kids cartoons were ruined by parents groups in the seventies, leading them to join together to fight pollution on “Yogi’s Gang,” and then later were sidelined as peripheral funny animal characters on “Scooby-Doo’s Laff-A-Lympics.” After that, except for a handful of forgettable appearances, Yogi was, well, forgotten. Maybe, after the seventies, with good reason. Still, the 1960s cartoon shorts have a warm spot in my heart.

That said, I doubt most of the folks who saw this in theaters even knew who Yogi is, um, was. Those that did, might have been put off as I was. The CGI Yogi and Boo Boo is kinda cool, until you see them next to live action human beings. Then the reality sets in that they are bears because the size ratio is correct and troubling. Bears, even those wearing ties, sometimes tend to eat people. I can see young kids being maybe freaked out by this.

The plot is much too long and complicated for the characters who work best in ten minute increments at most. Similar structure has ruined of films of this genre like Rocky and Bullwinkle, Dudley Do-Right and even Looney Tunes and The Simpsons. Honestly, I would have been happy with eight ten-minute vignettes than one eighty-minute movie, but that’s me.

Intellectually disturbing (for me at least) is the fact they acknowledge Yogi and Boo Boo are not only bears, but talking, thinking, tie wearing bears. They even acknowledge its rare, but they never explain why. That drives me nuts. Maybe it’s just too meta for me to get past, but it bugs the hell outta me.

Then there’s also the voice casting of Dan Ackroyd and Justin Timberlake as Yogi and Boo Boo. Timberlake is not bad at all, but Ackroyd, once you know it’s him, never sounds like anything but Dan Ackroyd doing a bad Daws Butler as Yogi Bear imitation. Some folks may have enjoyed and praised us, but not me, I couldn’t get past it.

All in all, Yogi Bear wasn’t bad, fairly harmless actually, and did have the spirit at least of those original sixties cartoons. Anna Faris didn’t annoy the hell out of me, and it had Journey music, so it couldn’t be all bad. Good for the kiddies even though they might not even know Yogi or Boo Boo.

In Time

In Time ~ This is one of those types of science fiction concept flicks that would have been right at home on a double bill with other 1970s era movies like Rollerball, The Omega Man, Logan’s Run, and Planet of the Apes. The concept is the draw point. Here in In Time, the idea is a world where time is currency. Similar to the aforementioned Logan’s Run, one has a limited lifespan, 25 in this case, but more time can be earned or stolen, and some people can live for centuries.

This is a lot more clever than it at first appears to be. Much fun is had in dialogue with time measurements in place of monetary amounts. Many of the characters are named after famous watchmakers. Fun.

Justin Timberlake deftly plays Will Salas, who loses his mother to time limit and also is given over a century by a stranger in the space of a day. The stranger also imparts over a century to him before expiring himself. On the run from perennial baddie Cillian Murphy as a Timekeeper (that’s futurespeak for cop) for the stranger’s murder, Will ends up on the run with Amanda Seyfried as a hostage. She’s the daughter of a rich socialite, played by Vincent Kartheiser, Pete Campbell of “Mad Men.” This is where In Time spins into current day thriller as opposed to retro-sci-fi.

In Time was written by producer and director Andrew Niccol who’s had similar flicks under his belt like Gattaca, The Truman Show, and S1m0ne. It’s as if he’s got one foot in the day after tomorrow scifi vibe. He also wrote the story that The Terminal was based on and produced a handful as well. I’ll be looking for his name in the future based on In Time. There’s more to this flick than seems at first glance, worth a look.

The Social Network

The Social Network ~ You know how the opening sequence to Raiders of the Lost Ark gives you everything you need to know about the protagonist Indiana Jones? This film does the same thing with Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook – he’s socially inept, thoughtless, self-important, and basically an asshole. It’s all you need to know about him, game over, story done. The rest of the film is about Facebook, and how it affects everyone else, and just everyone else, because after the opening sequence, I really didn’t care how it affected Zuckerberg – kudos to actor Jesse Eisenberg, writer Aaron Sorkin and director David Fincher. As a matter of fact, given the Academy’s penchant for the handicapped – and trust me, Zuckerberg is handicapped – Eisenberg has a good chance of taking that Best Actor Oscar.

As much as I usually dislike Aaron Sorkin’s work, he was adapting from Ben Mezrich’s terrific book “The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius, and Betrayal,” so that counts for something. Two other elements make this film a no-brainer for me to like – it was directed by one of my favorite directors, David Fincher, and it has a score co-composed by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. Trent is one of my music gods. The direction, like the score, is very different and new territory for the creators, and yet, amazing work, the music being a highlight. Both are also nominated for Oscars. And Justin Timberlake is damn good too.

At this point, I have only seen half of the ten films nominated this year for Best Picture, but of those, The Social Network is the best, I think it has a very good chance of winning. I would give good odds to Fincher and Reznor as well. The Social Network might just sweep this year. Recommended.

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Pandorum

Pandorum ~ When this first came out so many of my friends were buzzing about saying “You have to see this.” Having finally seen it, I really don’t understand what the big deal was. It’s a horror flick on a spaceship. Old idea, and it’s been done before – and one of the first – Alien – is still the best.

In the future Dennis Quaid and Ben Cooper (looking distractingly like Justin Timberlake) wake up from hypersleep missing huge chunks of their short-term memory – specifically who they are and what their mission is. They start to explore what at first seems like an empty spaceship and find – surprise surprise – they’re not alone. Hilarity ensues, as they say.

What follows is pretty much textbook O Henry and “Twilight Zone” fodder. It’s predictable, but nowhere near as predictable as Avatar. Pandorum is good if you see it for free, but don’t pay for it. Dennis Quaid could really do better.

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The Late Night of Jimmy Fallon

I’ve never really been a fan of Jimmy Fallon. I mean, I don’t hate the guy, but then again I’ve never laughed my ass off at him either. He’s probably a really nice guy, just not a really funny guy. After years on Saturday Night Live” he’s got a shot at ‘real’ stardom taking over for Conan O’Brien on “Late Night” while Conan moves up to “The Tonight Show” in June. I tuned in for the first two nights and I’m still not sure what to make of it.

Fallon seems genuinely nervous throughout the first night’s monologue, and taking on an always-difficult interview like Robert DeNiro is a bloody baptism by fire – but he made it through pretty well. It was obvious that Fallon was much more comfortable with Justin Timberlake than DeNiro. Maybe he should just have friends on? And if he was really smart he would have gotten Justin to really sing. Although Van Morrison was nice too. Good demographic reach with the variety of guests.

Bits like “Lick It for Ten” and “Target Demographic” and *sigh* “Space Train” may have seemed traditionalist for “Late Night” but I don’t think it worked for Jimmy. He keeps trying to be other folks, and he should just be himself. Funny or not, I know he’s much cooler than he’s coming off so far. Fallon needs to find his own groove, preferably something he is comfortable with, because so far he doesn’t seem very comfortable with a lot going on here.

On the second night, the monologue was still shaky, but saved when Jimmy threw it to The Roots for a brief musical interlude. There’s no doubt about the fact that he has the hottest house band on Earth backing him up. He just needs to use The Roots for more than ‘slow jamming’ the news. Sharing a bit more of the spotlight with them could never hurt the show. They kill with the opening and closing themes. I would watch the show, just for them.

The Facebook status updates were not only hilarious but hip and different from what anyone else is doing out there in the talk arena. And Jimmy seemed to be having fun with it, good for his comfort zone. And he was certainly less nervous than Mayor Bloomberg. The ease continued with Tina Fey. Yeah, definitely, dude, just interview your friends, it works for you. It’s a vibe similar to Johnny Carson back in the day, in my opinion. Make it casual and make it just chatting with pals.

I had much the same regret about Jon Bon Jovi that I had about Justin Timberlake the previous night – why didn’t he sing a whole song? Can you imagine the ratings bump that would have been? Santigold was no slouch, she was trey cool, but come on, if you have Bon Jovi, make him perform. Make him sing the way he made Tina dance.

Speaking of ratings, “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” apparently did quite well so far, and I think that’s a good thing. Jimmy Fallon on his Twitter insists that the show will only get better, and honestly I don’t doubt it. It’s gotten twice as good in only two nights. I know I’ll be watching.

Best of 2008: Music

What’s Muh Up To?

While the rest of the pop culture universe is going insane hand over fist over cameraphone to get pics of Brangelina’s new twins, me, I’m still thinking about Madonna.

I have a love/hate relationship with the woman I fondly call Muh. I’m not mean; I won’t call her ‘Madge’ like TMZ. I think she’s a wonderful performer and entertainer, possibly one of the most savvy businesswomen around and arguably the best self-promoter on the planet. Her every move is calculated, even when it doesn’t seem like it.

But this, what’s this about? Madonna and A-Rod? Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees is the latest to be rumored to be romantically linked to Muh. A-Rod’s wife has apparently lost her mind over this, understandable that, but no one seems to be talking to Muh’s husband Guy Ritchie about any of this. Either way, Madonna thrives on this kind of stuff and Muh will survive. No doubt, baby.

The bigger story might be the age difference between Muh and A-Rod. Alex Rodriguez is 33, while Madonna (according to her official biography at least, and I don’t believe it for a second) is within months of 50. That makes the Immaculate One a cougar, doesn’t it?

Also in evidence would be her new Hard Candy CD in which she’s helped by wunderkind Justin Timberlake and his producer buddy Timbaland, both of whom are around half Madonna’s age.

So while Madonna only has four minutes to save the world and is learning new tricks from ex-boy banders, could it be she’s also teaching ball players two decades her junior new tricks? Older women/younger men relationships are nothing new. Heck, ‘boy toy’ was in the vernacular at least two decades before ‘cougar.’ And the video clip for “Four Minutes” says a lot as well. Just the fact that Muh can keep up with Justin on the dance floor is worth a thousand words.

It’s always been said that women mature faster than men. Add in the fact that women reach their sexual prime in their thirties and men at eighteen and you can see it’s a winning proposition.

Except of course if you’re Guy Ritchie or Cynthia Rodriguez…

For more on cougars and the sexuality of the older woman in general, I suggest you check out the blog of fellow writer and friend Fran Metzman, The Age of Reasonable Doubt. She’s got her finger on the pulse of all that and more.

New Old New Romantic


Some folks might say that Duran Duran has used up their share of comebacks. Every time the powers that be might think that they’re has-beens or far too old to be in the business, they pop back up. They’ve done it with previous releases like “Notorious,” “Big Thing” the so-called ‘Wedding Album,’ and “Thank You.”

And here they are again. The new album, Red Carpet Massacre, was released earlier this month, and again represents a change in sound while still retaining that trademark vintage DD vibe. This time the Pretty Boy Five, sans Andy Taylor, recruited new blood like Justin Timberlake and Timbaland to write and produce.

There was to be a new album called “Reportage,” fifteen tracks worth say the rumors, but when Andy Taylor parted ways with the boys, for what has been termed ‘irreconcilable differences,’ they set aside the material he was part of and continued on with Timberlake and Timbaland. DD continue with Dominic Brown on guitar.

Now while I can’t say I’m all that impressed with the single, “Falling Down,” which almost recalls an electronic ghost of “Ordinary World,” the rest of the album is superb. “She’s Too Much” which is to “Come Undone” what the above song tries to do, but it succeeds on its own, the echo only accentuating the sound. Similarly, “Box Full o’ Honey” wants to be “Save a Prayer” but remains original as well.

The funk comes out to play with the best tracks on the disc, “Nite Runner”, “Skin Divers” and the title tune. These are the most Timb-affected songs on the album and come off quite well. “Skin Divers” has all the magic realism lyrics of the original Duran Duran days and “Nite Runner” is my favorite by far.

I think “Red Carpet Massacre” is a critical triumph even if it doesn’t make its way to the top of the charts. Don’t call it a comeback, it’s just Duran Duran holding on to their new romantic roots, while continuing to evolve. Great stuff!

Summer Three-Quels II

In essence, the original Shrek was the new DreamWorks studio taking a slam at Jeffrey Katzenberg’s old employer Disney. It was full of bathroom humor, farts and belches, language and injokes the likes of which Disney would never dare touch. That unique almost offensive flavor in the face of what animation is usually thought of these days was refreshing.

The second film amped up the injokes and took a direct attack on Disney with their parody of a land called Far, Far Away, a place hauntingly similar to Disneyland. This time out there are new characters, more story, more injokes and an unfortunate reliance on cover songs rather than the original music that gave the first film charm.

The third time was unfortunately not a charm for the Shrek folks. This one has the odd feel of being in production before there was a script. What script there is has that weird feel of a guy standing up in a meeting going, “Wouldn’t it be cool if…”

A lot of this movie doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, and what ideas there are aren’t completed. The legend of Arthur, which I still have no idea why it’s here or what purpose it serves, does nothing for the story, and wastes the talents of Eric Idle and Justin Timberlake. Even the animation is sloppy in parts. All in all a disappointment.