Sunday, July 29, 2012

Opening Weekend of the 2012 Olympics a Hit

The Opening Ceremony and the first two days of the London 2012 Olympics have come and gone, and have delivered on every level. Though, did anyone think they wouldn't?

The Opening Ceremony featured a short film with James Bond (Daniel Craig) and the Queen Herself, Queen Elizabeth II, showing off her dry sense of humor. A stand-in Queen jumped out of a helicopter, and the real Queen entered the stadium to take her seat. Paul McCartney also gave a solid performance, showing that even one of the biggest stars in the world can get choked up being at such a massive event, as he did at the start of "Hey Jude."  There was also a mysterious woman who snuck into the parade of athletes with the team from India (see below). You can't miss her, she is the one in a red jacket and teal pants, walking and waving like she is one of them. I love that she managed to bypass security in a bright colored outfit and get to the front of the line with nobody saying anything to her. She did it with a smile, which must be the key.
Ryan Lochte beat Michael Phelps for Gold on Saturday, and Phelps failed to medal in the event. The US Women's Soccer team beat Colombia 3-0 to clinch a spot in the Quarterfinals with one group Stage game to go against mysterious North Korea on Tuesday. Abby Wambach got punched during the game by the sneaky & dirty Lady Andrade, getting a black eye, behind the refs back. Wambach responded by burying a goal into the back of the net. Colombia has yet to score a goal in a major tournament (ha ha). And its ironic that her name is "Lady", because she is obviously far from being one. The power-house Spanish men's soccer team lost two games to Japan & Honduras, being eliminated in the group stage. Hope Solo also cause a furor, tweeting her displeasure for US icon Brandi Chastain's criticisms during commentary. I'll stick by Chastain on this, its her job to be critical, not 100% positive all the time. *Update* - Lady Andrade has been suspended by FIFA two games for striking Abby Wambach. 

Kim Rhode (shooting) became the first American to win a medal at five straight Olympics dating back to Atlanta 1996. Both Volleyball teams picked up wins, as did the Basketball teams. Misty-May & Kerri Walsh also kicked off their quest for a 3rd straight Beach Volleyball gold with a hard fought victory. It won't be as easy this time around. USA also won its first diving medal since Sydney 2000. In the men's 400 free swim relay, USA couldn't shock France like they did in Beijing 2008, getting silver behind France this time. Bill Gates is also a big Table Tennis fan, taking in some of the action. Great Britain picked up some medals, but are still searching for their first Gold of the games. China currently leads the pack in both golds and total medals, with USA right behind. 

The London 2012 Olympics have also been ratings gold for NBC so far even though some complained that certain event were held back for tape delays to show in prime-time. The Opening Ceremony was NBC's highest rated ever, getting around 40 million viewers to surpass Atlanta 1996, which had 39 million. The first night of competition also surpassed Atlanta as the most watched opening night ever. I guess NBC gets the gold?

Friday, July 27, 2012

London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony

The Opening Ceremony to the London 2012 Olympics is just hours away, being shown in the USA on NBC at 730pm ET (tape delay). I already have the inspiring Olympic theme songs stuck in my head, as millions of you probably do. The ceremony is directed by Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle. It will of course celebrate British culture, and most of it is kept under wraps, but there are some rumors that have slipped through as well as some confirmations.

One amazing rumor that I hope is true is that a 40-foot Lord Voldemort from Harry Potter will do battle with various other British characters such as ones from Alice in Wonderland & Peter Pan. He will apparently be taken down by 30 Mary Poppins actors who will descend from the rafters. We'll see how exactly this plays out. I assume Ralph Fiennes will be portraying Voldemort on some giant screen or something similar.

Another is that there will be a short film of James Bond. Earlier in the year they were filming some helicopter scenes around London, with two helicopters chasing through the Tower Bridge. Maybe they can't compete with the 2,008 drummers from Beijing 2008, but London has the advantage of beloved popular culture and entertainment, plus huge musical superstars.

Paul McCartney will also be performing to apparently close the opening ceremony. Expect a huge sing-along of The Beatles classic, "Hey Jude". The Spice Girls have been confirmed to be performing at the Closing Ceremony on August 12th. Mick Jagger has denied that The Rolling Stones will be making a surprise appearance at one of the ceremonies.

And of course, the parade of nations featuring all the athletes will take place as per tradition.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

London 2012 Olympics Storylines

The London 2012 Olympics begin on Wednesday (July 25) with Women's Soccer, followed by Men's Soccer on Thursday before the official Opening Ceremony on July 27th. NBC will be full of storylines throughout the games for American viewers.

Michael Phelps & Ryan Lochte - Possibly the top two swimmers in the world, both from the United States, will battle it out in a couple of events. You've probably seen Lochte all over TV and on the cover of various magazines. Phelps of course won 8 gold medals at Beijing 2008, and 6 gold medals at Athens 2004. I personally hope Lochte wins more. I mean, Phelps has enough medals by now. During an interview with Bob Costas he showed that some are kept in a plastic bag. Regardless, swimming is one of the big highlights of the tournament. Veteran Natalie Coughlin will be going for her 12th total medal in the Women's Team 4x100-Meter Freestyle Relay.

Women's Soccer Rematches - Last summer's FIFA Women's World Cup provided many great moments. Abby Wambach's LAST second header goal against Brazil. Japan defeating host Germany, powerful Sweden, then winning it all against the USA. At the Olympics, the United States will take on France on Wednesday, who have improved even more since their fourth place finish at the World Cup and will be the toughest test for USA in the group stage. Team GB (mostly England players) will make its Women's debut, though fans of Scotland & Wales don't really support a Great Britain team so the excitement in those countries for both soccer tournaments are not quite as high. Japan will look to become the first team to win a gold medal right after winning a world cup. For Brazil, Marta will be looking to finally lead the Brazilians to a Women's Soccer major tournament win, after finishing 2nd to the United States the past two Olympics. USA looks to continue their gold medal streak, winning gold in 1996, 2004 & 2008. (Norway beat them out in 2000.) And finally, Canada hopes to make an impression in a tough group, since they will be hosting the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, which will be expanded to 24 teams.

Basketball - The little barbs traded between this USA squad and the 1992 Dream Team have been entertaining. However, the gap has been closed on the United States more than it was back in 1992. USA will still dominate most teams and bring the most excitement, and are heavy gold medal favorites. But they might get a run from Argentina, Spain and France. LeBron James is looking to win a gold medal in the same year of his first NBA Championship with the Miami Heat. The US women's team will most likely dominate every team, with the exception of Australia & Russia who can put up a fight.

LoLo Jones - One of Twitter's most entertaining athletes, and proud 29-year-old virgin, she is looking to get past her mistake at Beijing 2008. The gold medal favorite hit one of the hurdles causing a stumble, which of course is the end of any track stars medal hopes in the hurdles. I have little doubt she will have a great race this time around, and should be a gold medal favorite once again.

Volleyball - The popularity of Volleyball has grown, with Beach Volleyball entering prime-time at the last Olympics. Misty May-Treanor & Kerri Walsh became the first Beach Volleyball team to win back-to-back golds and will now look to win a third straight. The United States won gold in both Men's & Women's Beach Volleyball as well as Men's Indoor Volleyball as underdogs. The Women's indoor team won silver. It will be tough to repeat that feat of medaling in all four disciplines, but sure will be fun to watch them try.

Serena Williams - Serena Williams will be looking for the only thing she doesn't have on her outstanding Tennis resume - Olympic Singles Gold. She actually doesn't have any singles medals, and is one of the favorites to at least get a silver or bronze, especially after winning Wimbledon. She does have doubles gold with sister Venus. Also in Tennis, Mixed Doubles (male/female) will be returning to the games for the first time since 1924. Might this lead to other mixed sports with males and females on the same team, such as Beach Volleyball?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Mariah Carey: New American Idol Judge

Mariah Carey is confirmed to be one of the new judges on FOX hit American Idol. The show recently lost Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler, so look for one more new judge to be added.

I personally think there are too many of these singing competition shows, and no matter what they do, ratings are not going to improve. They'll reach a certain audience now and stay that way. Same goes for Britney Spears over on The X Factor, no matter how nutty she acts. Ratings might increase slightly, but they will never reach the heights that American Idol had in the beginning. Plus, the shows have become more about the judges than they have about the singers.

Howard Stern joining NBC's America's Got Talent helped, but America's Got Talent is unlike all the others because you can literally go on stage and do any type of act you want. Speak of AGT, Carey's husband Nick Cannon is the host. Nick & Mariah have a grip on the top two reality competition shows now. As for Howard Stern, he is the best judge on television. He's not afraid to give funny & blunt criticism, but he also gives constructive criticism to try to help acts improve in the eyes of the viewer. Stern wants to have dinner with Nick & Mariah (asking Nick about her almost every week much to my amusement), though now it may be on hold with Mariah's new gig over on American Idol.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Rush Limbaugh Is Insane

Its pretty much always been a given that Rush Limbaugh is insane. Apparently he must be hitting the pills again. He said that the villain Bane (Tom Hardy) in The Dark Knight Rises, is named because of Bain Capital and it's part of a pro-Obama agenda. Anyone who listens to Rush Limbaugh's radio show is a complete moron. Meanwhile, he called the people who will see this movie "Brain-dead".

The character of Bane was first created in 1993; The Dark Knight Rises was written in 2008 & 2009. Apparently the creators time-traveled to 2012 according to Limbaugh. By the way, Limbaugh is increasingly looking like Batman villain Solomon Grundy. I wish Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) would go kick his ass with those steel heels. It wouldn't be hard since he's too fat to run away.

Anyway, Rush Limbaugh is a fuck-face. I'm wondering now if the only reason Limbaugh says these crazy things is to get publicity and tap into the "insane" demographic. Its nice that someone can say stupid things and have a cushy job...I should try it.

In an update, Chris Nolan has commented after being asked about it. Nolan said, "I’m not sure how to address something that bizarre, to be honest. I really don’t have an answer for it. It’s a very particular comment to make." Morgan Freeman also responded, calling it "ridiculous" and saying, "Chris wrote a fictional story that didn’t have any political thoughts in mind, so it’s like art or something you know, it’s all in the mind of the beholder." 

And people really need to stop comparing fantasy/action/adventure films with politics in general.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Toy Story 4 & Finding Nemo 2

Ellen DeGeneres is getting her wish. Pixar & Disney will be releasing "Finding Nemo 2" and "Toy Story 4". Andrew Stanton will be back to direct "Finding Nemo 2", and Ellen DeGeneres will presumably be back to voice Dory considering she has been pushing for them to make a sequel on her hit talk show. Currently it is set to be released in 2016, which can always be changed.

"Toy Story 4" is also in the pipelines apparently. There was some doubt since the trilogy was wrapped up nicely with Toy Story 3, including two wins at the Academy Awards (Best Song, Best Animated Film) and a nomination for Best Picture. But the hit film made over a billion dollars at the worldwide box office, and attained a ton of praise from critics and fans. Now "Toy Story 4" has not been officially confirmed by Pixar, but Tom Hanks recently said it is happening and now with the "Finding Nemo 2" news, many a speculating this will be announced next. So the "Toy Story" news might still be false, but I doubt Hanks would have said anything if it wasn't happening. So if it's false, then blame Mr Hanks.

So excuse my french here, but children must get the fuck out of my way when these films come out, they're mine (and yours, of course).

Monday, July 16, 2012

Spoiler-Free Reviews of The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises arrives in theaters this week, and the critical reviews are pouring in. Its safe to say the film is a massive hit with critics as it will be with audiences as well. I'll post some spoiler-free highlights from various critics below, so don't be afraid to read. All the newcomers have been praised, with Anne Hathaway (Catwoman/Selina Kyle) and Tom Hardy (Bane) seemingly nailing their performances as the two main newcomers.

Nolan also leaves a window open for sequels, although not necessarily for Batman and not necessarily for Nolan to direct. Among other possibilities, Anne Hathaway's sensational introduction as Catwoman makes a stand-alone movie for her enticing. Damn, the girl's good in the physical aspects of her cat burglar role, as well as being sexy and funny whether playing Selina Kyle or her feline alter-ego. - Bruce Kirkland, Toronto Sun

With spectacle in abundance and sexiness in (supporting) parts, this is superhero filmmaking on an unprecedented scale. Rises may lack the surprise of Begins or the anarchy of Knight, but it makes up for that in pure emotion. A fitting epitaph for the hero Gotham deserves. 5 Stars out of 5. - Empire Magazine

Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Marion Cotillard, recruited for duty after their stints in "Inception," are all on their game here, blending easily in a supporting cast anchored by old pros Caine, Oldman and Freeman. Perhaps the riskiest casting choice was that of Hathaway in the potentially problematic role of Selina/Catwoman, but although her kitty outfit reps a slightly more cartoonish touch than Nolan's neo-noir aesthetic typically allows (if nowhere near as campy as those worn by Halle Berry and Michelle Pfeiffer), the versatile actress nails the sardonic, hard-edged tone necessary to make this morally ambiguous vixen a dynamic foil for the Caped Crusader. - Variety

Talk about a tough act to follow, but “The Dark Knight Rises” doesn’t just follow it; it tops it in almost every way, making it a guaranteed frontrunner for Best Picture. Where most trilogies end on a weak note (witness the likes of “Return of the Jedi” and “Spider-Man 3”), “The Dark Knight Rises” succeeds as an epic triumph that scales the rare heights of “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” making it the crowning achievement of the Batman trilogy and the biggest, best, most exciting Batman of them all. - Scott Mantz, Access Hollywood

What brings Batman out of his shell and back into his bat suit? It starts with his attraction to Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway), a cat burglar who teases Bruce wickedly while hiding a secret agenda. Hathaway – sexy, scrappy and fast with put-downs – is dynamite as Catwoman, bringing welcome humor to a movie about to be enveloped in darkness. And no one is darker than Bane (Tom Hardy), a battering ram of a villain, his face covered by a grille that feeds him medicine to alleviate pain he's suffered from childhood. Hardy's face is covered for 99.9 percent of the film, but his physical and vocal performance is riveting. - Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

Friday, July 13, 2012

Watch The Walking Dead Season 3 Trailer!

The theatrical new trailer for The Walking Dead (watch below) has been released online following the debut at comic-con. Everyone is in action in the new trailer, and you get to see how The Governor (David Morrissey) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) will fit into the epic 3rd season. And epic is the perfect word, as this promises to be full of action with even better storytelling to go with it. There's also the first glimpse at the returning Merle Dixon (Michael Rooker) as well as the prison and the survivor community, Woodbury.

Andrea (Laurie Holden) & Michonne are going to make one kick-ass team. We can see Michonne does not trust The Governor from the start. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) is in full on "take no bullshit" mode, and you know once the gang joins back up with Andrea and new pal Michonne, they may go to war with The Governor. And both groups will be attacked by countless walkers (zombies). The 3rd season will premiere Sunday October 14 at 9ET on AMC. The show may be more anticipated than any show on TV, including network TV, and should beat the cable record 9 million viewers it received for the season 2 finale.

New Dark Knight Rises Stills

An interesting new still photo of Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle/Catwoman from The Dark Knight Rises has been released. It shows the cat burglar and femme-fatale in a compromising position with what looks like a SWAT team around her. Not sure whether she is being caught or what, though that unconscious guy whose hand she's using to hold the gun trigger looks to be having a bad day. She doesn't have the cat-suit on, so it might not be during a burglary, unless she's trying to blend in somewhere while doing it.

There's also this above photo of John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard). The reason its interesting is because this is the first time we've seen the two together, and the setting behind them looks like some suburban one as opposed to Gotham City. Though it could just be somewhere on the outskirts of Gotham. We'll find out in a week!
And in this one, Bane (Tom Hardy) clearly does not like the Gotham City stock exchange.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Dark Knight Rises Featurette; Catwoman Spin-off Film?

We're a little over a week away from the anticipated release of The Dark Knight Rises, and a new 13-minute featurette has been released to hold everyone over just a little bit longer. The video features everyone from the main stars Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway & Tom Hardy to mysterious new characters played by Marion Cotillard and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Cast members will also be doing the interview circuit. Wednesday July 11th you can catch Morgan Freeman on Jay Leno. Thursday July 12th has Anne Hathaway appearing on The Today Show, Live with Kelly and finally David Letterman. She'll also be on Jimmy Fallon on the 13th. There's bound to be a new clip of Catwoman/Selina Kyle shown. The Today Show also gets Christian Bale on Monday the 16th. 

Christopher Nolan also said in an interview with Access Hollywood that Anne Hathaway should star in a Catwoman spin-off with another director. He stated, “She’s an incredible character and we’re very excited to see her and hopefully we’ll leave people wanting more." When they followed by asking about a Catwoman spin-off film he said he was done, but, “I certainly think she deserves it, she’s incredible.”  

It would certainly be an intriguing idea for Warner Bros to not have to reboot the Batman franchise too soon by creating a Catwoman spin-off film. And I bet if the script was good, Christian Bale would be up for some kind of role in the film as Bruce Wayne. Maybe Jonathan Nolan would write/direct...

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Walking Dead Season 3 Preview

Attention all fans of The Walking Dead, AMC is currently airing every episode of the series all weekend long. Don't forget to tune into a brand new episode of Talking Dead with host Chris Hardwick on Sunday July 8 at 9pm ET. It will offer a glimpse of Season 3, complete with cast interviews and a set visit. There will presumably be an exclusive scene shown as well. 

AMC debuted a new poster featuring Rick (Andrew Lincoln), plus newbies Michonne (Danai Gurira) and The Governor (David Morrissey). Between this and the current non-stop heatwave, I can't wait for fall to begin.

Entertainment Weekly also premiered some new set photos of the cast at the prison, the main setting for the season. One is below, showing Maggie starting to kick some ass, looking like Milla Jovovich from the Resident Evil film series.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Send Pitbull to the Kodiak, Alaska Walmart

This is what the internet is truly good for. A new campaign has been launched to send Pitbull to perform at a Walmart in Kodiak, Alaska. I'm not even sure Sarah Palin knows where that is and she lives there. Though that may not be saying much.

Walmart has decided to run a contest where they will send Pitbull to perform at whichever local Walmart gets the most likes on Facebook. So a bunch of funny people have decided to rally others using social media to go and "Like" the Walmart page of Kodiak, Alaska, which is the most remote Walmart in America. Click here to head to the Kodiak Walmart Facebook page and Like it!

There are currently 40,872 likes of the Kodiak Walmart, which is five times the population of Kodiak. For comparison, the Atlanta Walmart with the most likes is at 6,686. Walmart Los Angeles has 990 likes.

Kodiak, Alaska
Kodiak, Alaska is suddenly the hottest spot in America. Pitbull is actually being a good sport about it all. He posted this joke on his Twitter: I hear there's bear repellant at Kodiak, Alaska @walmartspecials @sheets #exilepitbull daleeeeeee! Looks like he actually will be going to Kodiak, and they won't disregard the obvious joke of it all. To be honest, this is the best press they could ask for.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Angry T-Mobile Customer Destroys Store

Wow, this has got to be the funniest video of the week. A man in Manchester, England destroyed an entire T-Mobile store when he didn't get a refund that he felt he deserved. This is both funny and epic. Nobody got hurt, he just decided to completely destroy everything in the store, and even spray a fire extinguisher all over everything for good measure.

I love the crowd watching from outside, who obviously took video and uploaded the meltdown to YouTube ASAP. The man is 42-year-old Jason Codner. Some people take cell phones a little too seriously.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Hope Solo Makes Outstanding Save

The United States Women's National Team took on Canada in a soccer send off ahead of the London 2012 Olympics on Saturday on NBC. Team USA edged out Canada 2-1 with a goal by Amy Rodriguez in the final minutes of the game in 90 degree plus heat at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah.

Even though the 2012 UEFA Euro Championship between Spain and Italy is today, I can safely say this save (watch below) by USA goalkeeper Hope Solo is the best save of the weekend. Solo knows how to show up to make close, nail biting saves in these situations. Hopefully we see plenty of them at the Olympics.

The United States WNT soccer/football schedule at the Olympics is as follows:
USA vs. France, July 25. 12pm ET - Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland. 
USA vs. Colombia, July 28. 12pm ET - Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland. 
USA vs. North Korea, July 31. 12:15pm ET - Old Trafford in Manchester, England.

I believe all soccer matches (as well as Basketball & Volleyball) will be on the NBC Sports Network in the US. Possibly NBC as well.