Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Redbox, I hate to love you.

Do you use Redbox, the movie rental kiosk that's popping up all over the Big Country? I do, and I find it very convenient. I think it's a smart move that the DVDs are different versions than the ones you buy at the store, for the fact they don't have any special features. That way people will still continue to purchase DVDs and BluRays... and maybe even be discouraged from purchasing it from the Redbox by failing to return it and eating the fees.

In Brownwood last weekend, we passed a Redbox on the way into CVS. Then, we looked next door toward the new Anytime Fitness which has taken over the old Blockbuster building.

"This replaced that," my husband said, gesturing between the two.

I'm torn by the concept. I'm ALL about convenience, and have used a Redbox probably 10 times in the last few months, whereas I hadn't set foot in a Blockbuster store in years. Maybe if I played video games it would have been a different story. But it's sad to me that technology has allowed machines to do the work of employees.

What do you think about it?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Bravo, Black Swan

Written by Megan Dobbs

Black Swan is the best movie I have seen in a long time. It's wonderfully formidable for those who appreciate the disquiet that comes with being immersed in the arts.

I'll refrain from recounting the story as in a summary, because this is a film that should be grasped without preconception. I will, however, briefly describe the beauty of the main character's inner throes. The director and Natalie Portman (and anyone else involved in developing the character) wonderfully portrayed the turmoil Nina, quite literally, danced around. What a dark and splendid culmination it makes for.

Easy to watch? For most, no. You will likely find yourself cringing at times, perhaps even closing your eyes. Still, when outwardly depicting certain aspects of the mind, to tread lightly would be unjustifiable.

In short, I loved this film! I will not be surprised when the film is up for multiple Academy Awards. Natalie Portman delivered an outstanding performance. The film itself could easily get nominations for its art direction and score.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Top Grossing Actors of 2010

Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan, Nos. 9 and 10
Two box office hits are putting Leonardo DiCaprio at the top of "Forbes" magazine's year-end list of the Top Grossing Actors of 2010.

Citing his star turns in the hit films "Shutter Island" and "Inception," "Forbes" says DiCaprio was the multi-million-dollar leading man when it came to movie ticket sales this year.

Combined, both films made a whopping $1.1 billion at the global box office.

Johnny Depp tied for second place on the "Forbes" list with his "Alice In Wonderland" co-star Mia Wasikowska. In addition to "Alice," which earned a little over $1 billion, Depp got credit for his film "The Tourist." Wasikowska's appearance in the critically-acclaimed "The Kids Are All Right" also helped her to the second place ranking.

Robert Downey Jr. ranked fourth with $808 million thanks to his appearances in "Iron Man 2" and "Due Date."

"Harry Potter" star Daniel Radcliffe finished in fifth place on the list with the blockbuster "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1" having earned $780 million so far at the global box office.

"Forbes" magazine's list of the Top Grossing Actors Of 2010 based on global box office results:

1. Leonardo DiCaprio ("Shutter Island," "Inception") -- $1.1 Billion
2. Mia Wasikowska -- ("Alice In Wonderland," "The Kids Are All Right") -- $1.03 Billion
3. Johnny Depp -- ("Alice In Wonderland," "The Tourist") -- $1.03 Billion
4. Robert Downey, Jr. -- ("Iron Man 2," "Due Date") -- $808 Million
5. Daniel Radcliffe -- ("Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows") -- $780 Million
6. Robert Pattinson -- ("The Twilight Saga: Eclipse," "Remember Me") -- $749 Million
7. Kristin Stewart -- ("The Twilight Saga: Eclipse," "The Runaways") -- $698 Million
8. Sam Worthington -- ("Clash Of The Titans") -- $494 Million
9. Jaden Smith -- ("The Karate Kid") -- $359 Million
10. Jackie Chan -- ("The Karate Kid") -- $359 Million

Reported by VERTEXNews

Monday, November 15, 2010

Morning Glory

written by KTAB Daybreak anchor Ron Rosseau

My wife and I went to see a silly new date movie over the weekend. Morning Glory is one of those romantic comedies that are usually very forgettable. This one was a little different for me. First, Harrison Ford is in it. Second, it was set is a morning TV news broadcast. It was pure, escapist fiction...but there were several scenes that made me laugh out loud, and I was the only one the theater laughing. The alarm going off in the middle of the night was all too recognizable. The anchor waking up just in time to pretend to be alertly reading the teleprompter script and the youthful exuberance about the importance of the job were certainly close to reality. The deadline of the clock and the concern about the stories in the stack are real. Both led to some funny and recognizable scenes. The problems with individual egos were exaggerated, but certainly part of the business. It was set in New York, and the concerns about tenths of a rating point and the concerns about the most minute of details remind me of why we stay here in Abilene. My wife enjoyed it for different reasons. She was probably laughing more at me than at the screen.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Inception: You won't be disappointed!

(Make the headline "You won't be disappointed unless the movie stops during the climax and it takes 10 minutes to get the audio back on so you miss the most important part." Thanks, Century 12.)

Inception was extremely creative, well-written, and well-directed. Many times I find myself in a movie judging the special effects or looking at holes in the plot, but I was immersed in this story from start to finish. Well, except for the aforementioned snafu.

The movie's idea is really complicated, but can be broken down like this: We can't really control our dreams, so if someone were to share a dream with us we'd be vulnerable to him or her discovering our thoughts, desires, personal information, etc. "Inception" means taking it one step further and planting an idea in someone's head during a dream so that they think it's an original idea of theirs.

I'm a vivid dreamer. I think it's probably a poor sleep issue, but I can wake up and tell you everything that happened in my dream, although trying to describe it in normal terms is almost always impossible. I think that's why I liked this movie so much! It takes all the strangeness of a dream and turns it into a plot.

(Yes, I know The Wizard of Oz did that 75 years ago)

I'm also capable of understanding that I'm dreaming, so I can take my dreams "to the next level" so to speak, and manipulate what's happening based on knowing there will be no consequences when I wake up. I also have dreams within dreams. I'll wake up from a dream, go get ready for work, then wake up again and realize I never actually got ready. So the fact that this "two-level dream" was glorified in the movie made me feel like I was special. :)

Ok, I've been writing for 10 minutes and know there's no way I'd be able to properly review this movie, so thanks for listening to me ramble, and GO SEE INCEPTION! Or, if you felt differently about it, please comment!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Conan's Tonight Show gets Emmy nod

Yeah this is a movie blog, but let's throw some TV in here too!

Reported by: VERTEXNews

The nominees for the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards have been announced.

The hit Fox musical comedy "Glee" is among the nominee leaders this year with 19 nods.

AMC's "Mad Men" is also vying for multiple honors with 17 Emmy nominations.

Leading all nominees this year, however, is the HBO World War II mini-series "The Pacific" which nabbed 24 nods.

Acting nominations in the drama categories went to "Mad Men" star Jon Hamm, Michael C. Hall for "Dexter," Julianna Margulies for "The Good Wife" and Glenn Close for "Damages," among others.

Nominated comedy actors include Steve Carell of "The Office," Alec Baldwin of "30 Rock," Amy Poehler for "Parks and Recreation" and Lea Michele in "Glee."

In an interesting turn, short-lived "Tonight Show" host Conan O'Brien earned his first and only Emmy nomination for his work on the NBC late night talk show from which he was unceremoniously dumped earlier this year. O'Brien's "Tonight Show" predecessor -- and successor -- Jay Leno was not nominated. In January, NBC bought O'Brien out of his contract with the network to make room for Leno's return as host of the "Tonight Show." The move came just seven months after Leno handed the show off to O'Brien after a 17-year run as host. O'Brien will have a new show on TBS beginning in November.

Awards for television's highest honors will be presented during a star-studded ceremony in Los Angeles on August 29th.

NBC will air the ceremony live.

Here is a partial list of this year's Primetime Emmy nominees
  • Breaking Bad (AMC)
  • Dexter (Showtime)
  • The Good Wife (CBS)
  • Lost (ABC)
  • Mad Men (AMC)
  • True Blood (HBO)
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)
  • Glee (Fox)
  • Modern Family (ABC)
  • Nurse Jackie (Showtime)
  • The Office (NBC)
  • 30 Rock (NBC)
  • The Amazing Race (CBS)
  • American Idol (FOX)
  • Dancing With The Stars (ABC)
  • Project Runway (Bravo)
  • Top Chef (Bravo)
  • Kyle Chandler as Eric Taylor - Friday Night Lights (NBC)
  • Bryan Cranston as Walt White - Breaking Bad (AMC)
  • Matthew Fox as Jack Shepard - Lost (ABC)
  • Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan - Dexter (Showtime)
  • Hugh Laurie as Dr. Gregory House - House (FOX)
  • Connie Britton as Tami Taylor - Friday Night Lights (NBC)
  • Glenn Close as Patty Hewes - Damages (FX Networks)
  • Mariska Hargitay as Olivia Benson - Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (NBC)
  • January Jones as Betty Draper - Mad Men (AMC)
  • Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick - The Good Wife (CBS)
  • Kyra Sedgwick as Deputy Chief Brenda Johnson - The Closer (TNT)
  • Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy - 30 Rock (NBC)
  • Larry David as Larry David - Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)
  • Steve Carell as Michael Scott - The Office (NBC)
  • Matthew Morrison as Will Schuester - Glee (Fox)
  • Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper - The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
  • Tony Shalhoub as Adrian Monk - Monk (USA)
  • Toni Collette as Tara Gregson - United States of Tara (Showtime)
  • Tina Fey as Liz Lemon - 30 Rock (NBC)
  • Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton - Nurse Jackie (Showtime)
  • Lea Michele as Rachel Berry - Glee (Fox)
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Christine Campbell - The New Adventures Of Old Christine (CBS)
  • Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope - Parks and Recreation" (NBC)
  • The Colbert Report (Comedy Central)
  • The Daily Show With Jon Stewart (Comedy Central)
  • Real Time With Bill Maher (HBO)
  • Saturday Night Live (NBC)
  • The Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien (NBC)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

June 17th, 1994

Written by Mark Moseley

As much as I love being a part of "The Media", I love things that pick at, make fun of, or otherwise deconstruct the news business. I watch "The Daily Show" every night, and I subscribe to the hilarious Fake AP Stylebook Twitter feed. It is for that reason that I absolutely loved the ESPN documentary "June 17th, 1994", part of the network's "30 for 30" series.

If there's one thing we in The Media love, it's a good storyline. And on June 17th, 1994, the sports world was rife with potentially great storylines. Some of them played out exactly like The Media wanted them to, others, very differently.

Among the planned, scripted storylines:

-Arnold Palmer's final round at the U.S. Open. It was a farewell to a legend of the game. Palmer shot an abysmal +16, but received more applause and adoration than any other golfer that day. The raw emotion from his first post-round interview left his completely speechless.
-Ken Griffey, Jr. tied Babe Ruth for the fastest to reach 30 home runs in a season. A great feat, but an ultimately pointless one; MLB shut down two months later after players went on strike, and Junior never got his shot to break Roger Maris' then-single season HR record.
-The New York Rangers celebrated their first Stanley Cup win in more than half a century as only a New York team could: with a massive ticker tape parade in Manhattan. A little kid, no more than age 8, summed it the fans' thirst for a winner perfectly by saying, "Now I can die in peace."
-The capper was supposed to be New York Knicks vs. Houston Rockets in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. As we see in the parade footage, Rangers fans were just as excited about a potential Knicks championship (They didn't get it; Houston won in 7).

But then came O.J.

Orenthal James Simpson had already been in the news following the brutal murders of his ex-wife and her friend. On June 17th, murder charges were officially filed against O.J., setting off one of the most surreal media frenzies we will ever see.

"June 17th, 1994" deftly follows the media's bloodlust for new Simpson information, and weaves in a lot of peripheral stuff 99% of us forgot. Example: CNN had to retract a report that a second suspect was sought in the murders. And does anyone remember Robert Kardashian, the father of three reality TV star daughters, reading O.J.'s apparent suicide note?

Of course no one remembers these things. Why? Because just hours later, O.J. and his buddy, A.C. (YOU KNOW WHO HE IS, G**DAMMIT!) led Los Angeles police on the unforgettable White Bronco chase.

The most fascinating part to me, as a news producer, was watching the events of the evening as they unfolded on NBC, which was obligated to carry the basketball game. Raw footage never before seen on TV shows the inimitable Bob Costas agonizing over the transition between Simpson coverage and basketball coverage ("It sounds so callous," Costas says to his producer). I don't know what the other networks were running that night, but they must have had no problem cutting into programming to show The Chase. It instantly took the Simpson story from interesting to the most fascinating real-life drama most people had seen in years, if not decades. And it played out before everyone live on TV.

As a producer, I can almost feel what it was like for the NBC brass. They must have been squirming in their chairs, knowing they had to stay on the game, while they kept a close eye on that white Bronco moving oh-so-slowly down the 405. Remember, O.J. had a gun to his head, and it was widely known that he wanted to take his own life that night.

Of course, he didn't, and we all know what happened in the days, weeks, months, and years after that. The iconic OJ murder trial (which also played out before our eyes on live TV), the sudden thirst for reality-based programming on TV, the creation of Court TV, the celebrity-obsessed culture we currently live in... a lot of it can be traced back to June 17th, 1994.

This movie does a fantastic job of weaving in and out of the sports stories mentioned above with the ever-increasing interest in the Simpson story. Watching this film, you can almost draw an ascending straight line charting how intense the story became as the day wore on: police name O.J. as the primary suspect, O.J. agrees to turn himself in, O.J. goes missing, lawyers read his supposed suicide note, then the Bronco chase.

Without the usual talking heads or narration we normally see in a documentary, "June 17th, 1994" shatters the notion that we can predetermine the outcome of any given story. After all, this is real life we're talking about here, not some trashy TV soap opera.


If you saw the Bronco chase, you probably remember where you were. I was only 8, but I remember well: I was at my grandmother's house, with her and my dad. I had no earthly idea who O.J. Simpson was, or for that matter, what was going on, but I couldn't look away from Memaw's old TV. Do you remember that day? If so, where were you?