Tuesday, May 29, 2012

HBO's Hard Knocks returns in 2012

The popular and award winning HBO series Hard Knocks, which takes an inside look at an NFL training camp, will return and head to South Beach in 2012 with the Miami Dolphins. It was canceled in 2011 due to the NFL lockout causing a shortened camp. The show will premiere on Tuesday, August 7th.

This was a necessary move for the Miami Dolphins. One of the NFL's most popular and successful teams, they've fallen on hard times lately and ticket sales have started to suffer. From 1970 to 2003 they only suffered two losing seasons and had more wins than any other NFL franchise, including the only perfect season in pro sports. But from 2004 to 2011 they only had two winning seasons and one playoff appearance. Now they've got a new attitude after the failed Bill Parcells era, and hope to return to former glory. During the Parcells era the franchise was silent and anonymous, and would have never done something like Hard Knocks, which is why this is so important. They need to win back the trust of the fans. Of course, a return to being a winning playoff franchise will be the only way to truly do that, but this should help.

They just drafted quarterback Ryan Tannehill (and his much buzzed about wife Lauren Tannehill). The franchise has not had a star quarterback since Dan Marino, who retired in 2000. While Tannehill probably won't do much in 2012, since most rookies don't just burst onto the scene like Marino did, they will be able to introduce him and their new coaching staff to the fans, giving hope for the future. Here's some info from the official press release:

“We are delighted that HARD KNOCKS will be returning this summer and placing the spotlight on the Miami Dolphins, a venerable franchise that had an exciting off-season activity,” says Ken Hershman, president, HBO Sports. “This marks the first time that the series has featured a first-year head coach (Joe Philbin) and we are extremely grateful to both Coach Philbin and the entire organization for agreeing to participate. As always, there will be plenty on the line for veterans, free agents and rookies.”

“On the 40th anniversary of the greatest season in NFL history–Don Shula’s perfect ’72 Dolphins– it is perfectly fitting that Hard Knocks is heading to Miami to capture the start of a new era for one of the league’s proudest teams,” says NFL Films president Steve Sabol. “After Hard Knocks’ hiatus last summer, I know our team at NFL Films can’t wait to get back on the field.”

Let's hope this is one reality show Kim Kardashian stays away from. Unless we get a duel between Reggie Bush and Kanye West.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises Commercials Hit TV

Commercials for The Dark Knight Rises have begun taking over the airwaves. The ads premiered during the season finales for American Idol and Modern Family, and like everything else related to The Dark Knight Rises, have sent people into a frenzy.

I like the Catwoman themed commercial. The banter between Bruce and Selina is turning out to be top notch. You can clearly see in this ad that she enjoys toying with him, just like Catwoman should. While dancing at the ball Bruce comments that she is wearing a "brazen costume for a cat burglar." She retorts, "yeah? Who are you pretending to be?" I love it already. Later on when Bruce is leaving the party the valet guy says, "your wife said you'd be taking a cab home." A surprised Bruce asks, "My Wife?!" Cut to Selina/Catwoman grinning and driving his prized Lamborghini away. Yes Bruce, she is a brazen cat burglar.

July 20 can't get here soon enough. The film stars Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Michael Caine, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman and Juno Temple. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Dark Knight Rises Character Posters

We've just gotten six new theatrical posters for The Dark Knight Rises and two promotional posters (aka the ones they sell in Hot Topic/Wal-Mart). The new character theatrical posters give two each to the main characters - Catwoman (Anne Hathaway), Batman (Christian Bale) & Bane (Tom Hardy). One has each character looking bleak with the text "RISE" written above, and rain pelting them. The other poster has more of an action pose for each character, with snow all around them.

I like the difference of the three stormy/rainy posters to the three snowy blue posters. They also clearly show the contrast between the dark & gloomy Dark Knight Rises and The Avengers. Check them all out below and click for larger ones.




And finally the two promo posters:

Sunday, May 20, 2012

SNL Says Goodbye to Some Veterans

The season finale of Saturday Night Live was also the final episode for Kristen Wiig, Andy Samberg and possibly Jason Sudeikis; all of which joined the show together in 2005 along with Bill Hader. Some reports say Sudeikis is unsure if he wants to leave. He does portray Mitt Romney, so unless someone else takes that over he could be back for the fall.

SNL sent Kristen Wiig off in memorable style, one of the best they've ever done. With Arcade Fire and Mick Jagger performing The Rolling Stones classic songs "She's a Rainbow" and "Ruby Tuesday", she danced with each of the cast members and shed some tears. Some alumni also returned for that moment - Amy Poehler, Rachel Dratch and Chris Kattan. Her humor will be missed, but this just gives her more time for movies and TV. The "Bridesmaids" star has six movies in the pipeline as of now.

Andy Samberg also said farewell, with the final SNL Digital Short airing - "Lazy Sunday 2" with Chris Parnell. The duo started the Digital Short idea back in 2005 with "Lazy Sunday" and it went viral on the web, ushering in a new era and coolness-factor for SNL. It also helped YouTube reach new heights, which is referenced in "Lazy Sunday 2." One of my favorite shorts is the "Natalie Rap" with Natalie Portman from 2006.

Now of course people will be saying "How will SNL survive without 'so-and-so'" and "The show will not be the same." People have been saying that since the 1970s, and the show continues on and new talent rises. While its sad to see them go, this is how SNL works. New people step up, and hopefully some of the newer cast can do that now that they have the chance. Former cast members of Wiig, Sudeikis and Samberg's caliber go on to do much more. (And they always return to SNL for fun) Here are some examples of former cast currently making us laugh elsewhere:

Tina Fey - If Fey didn't leave SNL, we wouldn't have gotten the great "30 Rock". Next year is the final season for "30 Rock".
Amy Poehler - Left SNL to star in NBC's "Parks & Recreation", one of the best comedies on TV.
Jimmy Fallon - Has his own late night talk show.
Will Ferrell - Don't even need to mention the countless movies he has done.
Maya Rudolph - On NBC's new hit "Up All Night". Her character Ava is one of the best on TV. Also did "Bridesmaids" with Wiig.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus - Went on to the TV classic Seinfeld, and currently stars on HBO's incredibly funny new show "Veep".
Ana Gasteyer & Chris Parnell - Currently playing a funny and dysfunctional couple on ABC's best new comedy "Suburgatory."
Molly Shannon - The queen of guest roles, recently featured in "Up All Night", "Glee" and "The Middle."

So basically, SNL will be fine. Taran Killam and Vanessa Bayer will probably be getting more screen time. No pressure. Watch Wiig's Farewell and "Lazy Sunday 2" below.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Mad Men Gets The Beatles

AMC's hit show Mad Men finally got an actual Beatles song on last nights episode "Lady Lazarus". At the end of the episode, Don's (Jon Hamm) younger wife Megan (Jessica Pare) gives him the latest Beatles album, "Revolver" (the show is currently in late 1966). She tells him to play the outstanding psychedelic track, "Tomorrow Never Knows." The song kicks in and we hear the rare sound of an actual Beatles song on a TV show. You can listen to it below.

The reason it's so rare is because the songs are expensive to license, and they are also picky about it in general. When the film Dinner For Schmucks got the right to play the song "Fool on the Hill" in the movie, Paramount/Dreamworks paid $1.5 Million. (Yoko Ono & Paul McCartney also saw the movie first and enjoyed it.) For Mad Men, Lionsgate reportedly paid $250,000 to feature the song. Its not just the money though, because many have tried to get songs and have been turned down. They have to like the script & context of the song before signing off on it. Paul & Ringo are fans of the show, which helped. I believe this is the first time a Beatles song has been featured in a TV show, at least recently. A few movies have had Beatles songs in them though: Ferris Bueller's Day Off, The Social Network, Bowling For Columbine, & Nowhere Boy. Plus their own movies of course.

The cost is referenced in the episode itself as a joke. Early in the episode the characters are pitching an ad campaign with their concept playing off the Beatles film, "A Hard Day's Night." Their task is to find a song that sounds similar, since it is too difficult and expensive to get an actual Beatles song for an ad campaign. Its a little wink and nudge at the audience that AMC spent the big bucks to finally get a Beatles song in an episode. And it worked out perfectly, because the track fit in so well with the story and the time frame they are in right now. Don doesn't understand why music has become so important, because he grew up in the 1930s/1940s when it wasn't. There were no larger than life musicians. Halfway through listening to "Tomorrow Never Knows", after seeing clips of Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) smoking a joint while working and Megan laying down at her acting class with her mind "turned off, floating upstream", Don turns the song off and walks away. The generational differences are surfacing as Mad Men moves through the psychedelic era of the 1960s. Don is out of touch and can't understand the Beatles or the younger generation, yet he married into it. Pretty sure this marriage will end up on the rocks. What are the odds Megan becomes a member of the "flower power" movement?

And if you haven't listened to The Beatles masterpiece Revolver by now, go out and get it. Remember to "lay down all thought, surrender to the void" (unlike Don).

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Snooki vs. Tanorexic Mom

The Oompa Loompas are running amok in New Jersey. Snooki recently called Patricia Krentcil, aka Tanorexic Mom, a "crazy bitch."  Krentcil fired back and called Snooki the "biggest asshole in the world" and went on to say, "she's fake, she's fat, her t*ts are fake and she's disgusting." So eloquent. Willy Wonka has quite the feud on his hand here. I'd have to side with Snooki for once though. Krentcil also said her critics are "fat, ugly and jealous" of her. She's one step closer to that TLC reality show i'm betting she gets.

As expected, Krentcil was spoofed on Saturday Night Live by SNL vet Kristen Wiig, who came out with orange skin that had smoke rising around it from being freshly fake baked. Watch the funny and fairly spot on impression below. And speaking of Kristen Wiig, this could possibly be her final season on SNL.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Tanning Salon Mom

So there's this talking leather couch, I mean New Jersey mother, accused of bringing her five year old daughter into a tanning booth. I have no idea whether that is true or not. The real story is the mother herself. This tanorexic 44-year-old looks 64 and should be the new poster woman for over-tanning. Is that a word? I just made it up now if not. It really should be a word in certain places (Ahem, New Jersey). And I fully expect her to get a reality show on TLC...or at least be featured on an episode of My Crazy Obsession or My Strange Addiction.

She thinks she looks like a Barbie doll/princess (one who was deep fried?) and says in interviews that there is nothing wrong with tanning and that she loves to tan...just to clarify for those of you who can't tell. And I love that she got all done up before taking her mugshot. She outlined her lips with a black Sharpie...apparently that is the only thing that will penetrate the layer of alligator skin.

I personally think Willy Wonka needs to do a headcount in the factory.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises Trailer #3 Is Here!

The third trailer for The Dark Knight Rises has been released (watch it below), and will also be shown before The Avengers.  Good marketing teaming up the two biggest movies of the summer, even though one is from DC and one Marvel. There is enough money to go around, though my bet is on The Dark Knight Rises to top The Avengers. The trailer should give any fan chills. The Bane voice has been boosted and cleared up, so all of the people who said they couldn't understand him no longer have any complaints, he sounds great.

The trailer can be a little spoiler-ish. We see more of Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) this time, and the end of the trailer shows her and Batman (Christian Bale) together in one of his bad-ass vehicles. Looks like the two will be teaming up and kicking some ass, as we see in a brief glimpse of them beating up some thugs on a rooftop together. We also hear her say, "you should be as afraid of him as I am." Presumably she is talking to Bruce about Bane (Tom Hardy). So I still think she may start out alongside Bane until she realizes how crazy he is. They also have a heated conversation, with Catwoman telling him "You don't owe these people anymore. You've given them everything." His response: "Not everything. Not yet." That line certainly leaves his fate up to the imagination. I doubt he dies in the end, but some people seem to think he might. I think Batman will "die"(retire), but not Bruce Wayne.

Favorite line - Catwoman: "My mother warned me about getting into cars with strange men." Batman: "This isn't a car." The tumbler then takes off in the air! July 20 can't get here soon enough. Enjoy!