Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Americans Invade FX

Do you think you know your neighbors, or even your family? That is one of the themes of the new FX show "The Americans", which premiered tonight on FX. Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys are our stars, secret KGB spies for the Soviet Union in 1981. Yes, Keri Russell from "Felicity". Who knew she could do an outstanding job as a devious, thrilling spy? Both her and Rhys were clearly perfect for the roles, and manage to make us cheer for them, even though they are Soviet spies.

As a fan of "Homeland" currently in withdrawal, this show couldn't come at a better time. The first episode was action packed, thrilling, sexy, and gave a good amount of character development. Russell certainly reminds me of Claire Danes in her role as Elizabeth Jennings, at least in terms of her persistence. Rhys, as Phillip Jennings, expertly showcases his conflicting emotions of wanting to continue as a KGB spy, yet having thoughts of defecting as he increasingly enjoys the American lifestyle. Their relationship with each other, and their American born children, works well in the story. You actually care about them, and they managed to make it happen in one episode. By the time they have a steamy sex scene in their car after dumping a defected Soviet's body, you're just waiting for it to happen. And they do it to the tune of Phil Collins' 1981 hit "In The Air Tonight". See what I mean by sexy?

The storyline also takes place in 1981 not just to throw in some 1980s style & music, but because it was the start of the Reagan administration. The Cold War escalated when President Reagan took office, so it was the perfect starting point. We do get a few much welcome flashbacks to the 1960s, with hopefully more to come.

Jump on board now, "The Americans" is already proving to be a wild ride.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Microsoft Longs For The 90s

Microsoft has released a video to tap into all the 90s kids who used to use their Internet Explorer browser during the dial-up days, to try and get us interested in Internet Explorer 10. I saw this right on the heels of my 90s nostalgia article, so perfect timing!

The video has gone viral and attracted a lot of attention, as well as praise, whichis of course what Microsoft was intending. However, I think it will take more than an outstanding video to bring back some of the lost Internet Explorer users. The video features POGS, Hungry Hungry Hippos, Tamagotchi, Lisa Frank and the Floppy Disc among others. Its a welcome sight to see all of these 90s relics in a beautifully crafted video.

They've also built a website around the whole theme, which I'd also suggest checking out. The site features a ton of great photos to waste some time. 90s nostalgia is clearly hot right now, so lace up your Reebok Pumps and enjoy it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Relics of the 1990s

So like many people, I had a severe case of 90s nostalgia. Its a popular and exciting illness that takes you back to the time of America Online, parachute pants and TRL. Now, there are obvious 90s memories most of us have, like Beanie Babies, Tamagotchi and Furby (Original) among others. What about some of the more forgotten relics of the 90s? I've tried to think of a few.

Yak Bak - Yak Bak was exciting for kids because it actually recorded your voice...and played it back! Now this was a time before smart phones had an app for that. It didn't really do much though. You could record SIX whole seconds...not so exciting anymore. It actually makes it seem like we were ripped off. Though some future ones had other features like voice warping. Not a bad tool for a 90s kid. This gadget was the definition of a fad...it was popular for a few years in the mid-90s and soon vanished when Y2K hit us (well, didn't hit us). As a matter of fact...maybe the Yak Bak was the Y2K casualty that nobody cared about? We were all worried about our Gateway & Packard Bell computers, but it was the Yak Bak which was killed by Y2K. RIP.

Yikes! Pencils - Its a known fact that if you did not own one of these psychedelic, multi-colored pencils, you were not cool. They were flashy and just screamed "90s!" right at your face. Its as if Nickelodeon exploded off the TV and into your pencil case. Sadly you don't see these around anymore. I think us 90s kids should band together and get them back so they can infiltrate the world once more, this time in the workplace. We all need a little bright ass color in our day.

Book It! - Book It! was the reading program that you remember from either school, or more importantly, from PIZZA HUT. Let's face it, Pizza Hut was a much better option for getting kids to read than school was. You could get a free personal pizza just for reading. This might actually still be around...but obviously would not be as good as it used to be. Just like Pizza Hut itself. Seriously Pizza Hut, get it together. Get some old arcade games and make your restaurants exciting again. Then nobody will care how bad the pizza tastes. (Though you can work on that too.)

See any that you owned in this pile?
Pogs - Pogs were incredibly popular, and most people still remember them. However, they still seem to get lost in the shuffle of 90s nostalgia, falling behind the likes of Beanie Babies and the Spice Girls. People did more collecting of Pogs rather than actually playing the game, but doing both was a part of a 90s childhood as much as eating Cinnamon Toast Crunch while watching Power Rangers was. Pogs became so popular that they ended up making licensed ones for everything from TV shows & movies to sports teams. I still have one plastic case full of some buried in a drawer somewhere.



A modern Zubaz hat, Miami Dolphins
Finally, remember Zubaz? The crazy zebra colored clothing that everyone wore? They were made popular by supplying the NFL with some licensed gear. Well....they're back! Yes, you can actually buy Zubaz printed apparel once again. As a kid who had the sweatpants, I think i'll forget about ever wearing those again, but I definitely want the hat. It allows you to carry around a bit of the 90s with you. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Jurassic Park IV Release Date!

Jurassic Park IV will be hitting theaters everywhere on June 13, 2014 in 3D. Steven Spielberg will be heavily involved in the project, serving as producer. He won't be directing though, and one hasn't been named yet. There is no cast information yet either, but a few years ago Laura Dern said she would return as Dr. Sattler. Thing may have changed, but hopefully some of the cast does return. We know all our favorite dinosaurs will be stomping around and causing mayhem for our excitement. The original film will also be re-released in 3D on April 5, 2013 to commemorate the 20th Anniversary. Yes, everyone can now feel old. Additionally, rumor has it that Universal Studios is planning to add a new attraction to the Jurassic Park section of Islands of Adventure. Maybe based on an actual ride around a park with animatronic dinosaurs? Or some type of flying coaster?

Speaking of Laura Dern, her HBO show Enlightened returned this past Sunday following the Golden Globe winning Girls, and if its any indication of things to come, then Season Two will be even better than the first. Dern, who won the 2012 Golden Globe for her performance, has a way of making her character Amy Jellicoe be such a force on everyone around her, and its fun to watch it all play out. Her goal this season is to bring down her corrupt company, Abaddon. She has also recruited Tyler (Mike White, series co-creator) when she learns that Abaddon is planning to fire everyone in their department after snooping through e-mails.

Its really one of the best shows on TV, and you should be watching! This show is the definition of "Best show you're not watching."

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Big in 2013 - Sandra Bullock

Sandra Bullock & Melissa McCarthy in 'The Heat'
Sandra Bullock returns with a vengeance this year. After reaching the biggest success of her long career in 2009, she took some time off and did just one film. She's back in 2013 though with two interesting films that could both be blockbusters for different reasons. First is The Heat, co-starring Melissa McCarthy and directed by Bridesmaids director Paul Feig. Its the first R-Rated Comedy film of Bullock's career, and should be one of the biggest comedy films of the year.

Her other project which comes out this year is Gravity. This is directed by Alfonso Cuaron, the first film he has directed since the acclaimed Children of Men in 2006. Gravity is going to utilize IMAX and 3D to its advantage, considering it takes place almost entirely in outer space, it actually makes sense rather than just being a cash grab. Cuaron is taking his time to make sure it all looks right, so i'll just assume the finished product will be breathtaking considering the imagery he added to both Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban and Children of Men. Bullock is joined by George Clooney as astronauts who must find a way home after the space station is damaged. Rumor is Clooney's role is much smaller, so we'll see how this works out.

She also just won the first ever "Favorite Humanitarian" award at the People's Choice Awards. Great start to what should be another solid year by one of America's favorite actresses.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

David Bowie is Back

David Bowie celebrated his birthday by unexpectedly announcing a brand new album titled The Next Day, his first since 2003, to be released in March 2013. Bowie also gave quite the birthday gift to the world...a brand new single just released to iTunes called "Where Are We Now?" Its a fairly mellow tune, which made me feel like I was in a trance, that is accompanied by an odd music video on his website which you can also watch below. Which is exactly what we love about him! If this new hypnotic song is any indication, The Next Day will be another solid album.

Who knew after turning down a performance at the London 2012 Closing Ceremonies that he was in the midst of writing and recording a brand new album. The enigmatic star has mostly been seen walking about New York City living on the down low since his last performance at a benefit with Alicia Keys in 2006. Everyone assumed he was retired, and then he hits the world with this great news.

Speaking of David Bowie, here are my favorite albums of his:
1. The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars (1972)
2. Scary Monsters (1980)
3. Heroes (1977)
4. Aladdin Sane (1973)
5. Let's Dance (1983)
6. Young Americans (1975)
7. Heathen (2002)
8. The Man Who Sold The World (1970)
9. Hunky Dory (1971)
10. Reality (2003)