Sunday, November 23, 2014

Bennie and the Invisible Jets

In 2017 we are to be treated to a new Wonder Woman movie. Allegedly it's been in the works since 2001 but changes directors and writers more than a few times. As of the writing of this post they have exactly one actor on board. Wonder Woman is to be played by Gal Gadot!  Yeah, I don't know her either. 

Until then we have MeTV.  Saturday nights on the MeTV network present a raft of science fiction tv shows. They include the old, live-action Batman, Wonder Woman, Star Trek, Svengoolie (a monster movie host in the vein of Elvira) (Elvira, by the way had the best pinball game of all time and if I had an extra $6,000. lying around I'd have one of my own) (just so you know) then there's Lost In Space and some under-sea show. 
D'oh, Little Buddy!
Anyway the episode of Wonder Woman called "Amazon Hot Wax" (Yes really!) is what I found most intriguing. I was ready to settle in to a show about how South American Nazis had infiltrated Company X or Government Agency Y but to my surprise that didn't happen. I know!  I'm as surprised as you. I figured since it's Wonder Woman then that's a given. Kind of like that episode of Gilligan's Island when they almost get off the island but then Gilligan does something goofy and messes it all up. 

The Real Kenny Loggins
This episode was about the music industry and how some Kenny Loggins look-alike faked his own death so his album would go platinum. His agent with a bushy '70s mustache was then forced to pay ransom to some sleazy character with a bushy '70s mustache to get the last songs of the "dead" Kenny Loggins clone (KLC). Other musical acts also play a part in the episode. There's a brother sister "Carpenters" type of act and a trio band in white-painted faces just out for a good time. One of which has a bushy '70s mustache. By this time I started missing the South American Nazis. 

Linda Carter was under cover as a new singer that sounded a lot like Karen Carpenter. As it turns out KLC ended up playing the role of damsel in distress after it was learned he was still alive via clues found on the cover of his last album that looked curiously like the cover of Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. 

In the end Wonder Woman was able to foil the plot of the villains with the help of the zany white-faced trio (one of which had a bushy '70s mustache.) and the fake "Carpenters" turned out to be in league with the villain with the bushy '70s mustache. Judge Reinhold was one of the fake Carpenters and one of the zany white-faced trio was none other than the Working Class Dog, Rick Springfield. He wasn't the one with the bushy '70s mustache. 




Judge Reinhold
Rick Springfield

Here's Diana singing.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Afterparty... OF DOOM!

Life without cable/satellite service can be a little hard on a sports fan. However it does give me opportunity to reconnect with classic media such as radio. Baseball is good on radio, football is OK but I still get that on regular TV. Basketball on radio is miserable. When I want something other than sports and nothing of interest is at the dollar cinema I do have one other option than regular antenna TV. Amazon Prime via the Wii game console. I'm sure it's not as extensive as Netflix when it comes to movies and TV shows but it provides quite a bit of viewing material. Another drawback is that some titles are not included in our membership and have an additional charge but we've only had to do that one or two times.

A new feature of streaming TV seems to be shows made exclusively for streaming services. Amazon has been showing the pilot episodes for a bevy of new shows it is producing to do just that. I watched two recently. One was a comedy about a Los Angeles pro football team and the zany hijinks of its new owner. She was the wife of the owner but he died and she took over. Oh and she's a former cheerleader so the writers have some built-in jokes when they need them. It wasn't bad but I think they tried too hard to be "edgy" read: filthy and inappropriate for anyone under 30.  I won't lie and say I didn't find parts of it funny, I did. I just think it could have been done in a PG 13 format and still maintained the humor.

Another pilot I watched was called The After which hinted in the promo that it was a post apocalyptic drama that gets you started right before the apocalypse happens. It caught my attention because I'm interested in the sociology of survival and it was produced by Chris Carter of X-Files fame. It starts with a vaguely European woman with a family but she's on a trip to California to audition to be an actress. The day starts off just fine and there's a little foreshadowing with an unexplained gathering of police officers here and there. Not long after her audition some confusion happens and she's thrown together with a group of people that hate each other.  All the power goes out, phones don't work, no one knows what's going on.  To quote Michael Binkly, It's all higgledy-piggledy! At this point the band of heroes and anti-heroes are trapped in a parking garage and one or two "mysterious" things happen. Unexplained creepy figures walking by without the panic everyone else is going through, that sort of thing.  A couple of the group escape the automatically closed gates of the garage and try to get help for the others.  Outside it's a scene of s-l-o-w-l-y developing chaos.

Later the happy band of survivors gets back together and after the requisite mob scene, gunfight, hate filled tirades (lots of those), they get to the stately manor of one of the party.  All the while you are kept in the dark about the source of the new found apocalypse. So lets look at our options.

The Crisis could be:
1. Robot Apocalypse: example, The Terminator
B. Zombie Apocalypse: take your pick, it moves as slowly as "The Walking Dead" but there are so many options.
5. Terrorism: Live Free or Die Hard
6. Extra Terrestrial: meteor, aliens
C. Other: It is Chris Carter making this thing after all.

At the house we're treated to more fussing, some class warfare tirades, and finally a hostage standoff that leads us to the big reveal. Oh, before the hostage standoff we find another clue to the show.  All of the group have something strange in common but the show's not gonna tell you any more than that. A chase in the woods after the hostage standoff brings all the survivors back together and suddenly "it" appears and understandably freaks out the group (above image). In the span of a few seconds some more clues are revealed but you'd probably have to search for them on Internet conspiracy websites.  Have at it if that makes you happy.  I watched until the end of the credits just in case there was another clue or two but no luck.

Think X-Files mixed with Millennium reformatted for today's TV market.  I'd watch more episodes of the show but I'm not sure the rest will be a part of the free service.  Here's the website that has all the shows they're putting out.  I couldn't get past the first 10 minutes of the "gritty cop drama".

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

On The Rocks

Our old friend and part time movie reviewer Lance Boyle found this review for the movie 2012: Ice Age on Netflix. Yes, he's still paying for that silliness. Try not to give him too hard a time about it. It's either that or watch Xanadu on his Betamax for the 418th time. Anyway, despite the source, funny is funny.

"This movie was actually written and directed as an extra credit assignment by mrs. Jones' fourth grade special-education class at the school for borderline intellectual functioning children. They recieved an F minus, and were all subsequently executed for crimes against humanity. I laughed, I cried, I peed my pants. This was the dumbest movie that I have ever, in all of my life seen, ever, ever, ever. A crack smoking walrus and a bowl of corn flakes could have written a better plot line, and likely done a better job of acting. I would have torn my eyes out while I was watching, but the thought of having this abortion of a movie be the last thing I ever saw was beyond my ability to stomach. I have decided to spend the rest of my life trying to turn dog excrement into edible party favors, because that makes much more sense than this movie did. Lastly, if you ask me if I feel that I wasted an hour and a half of my life watching this assault on human dignity, I would answer with a resounding NO! After watching this 90 minute compilation of ultimate stupidity, I have lost at least 50 points from my IQ, and can now become a politician."

Well put.

So if you miss the halcyon days of Airport or The Towering Inferno or more recently Armageddon or Volcano then have at it. Otherwise you could just light $40 on fire instead of wasting it on the theater that made the poor choice of screening this grease trap of a movie. On a side note, That's Armageddon! looks pretty good.

trailer for Xanadu

trailer for 2012: Ice Age

trailer for Airport

trailer for The Towering Inferno

trailer for Armageddon (trailer for That's Armageddon!)

trailer for Volcano

Monday, January 16, 2012

Steampunk, For Kids!

This review of Hugo (based on the book: The Invention of Hugo Cabret) was submitted by one of TDP's many adoring fans, Lance Boyle. Some names may have been changed to protect the innocent. Enjoy.

On Saturday afternoon, the family went to the Big City (Houston, not Tomball) to see the movie Hugo in 3D at the Edwards Theater on I-10. Just before we went into the auditorium, Jedediah said he had to go to the restroom. It just so happened that the elder George Bush was in there at the time, too. Aside from the two Secret Service agents, Jed and George were the only ones in the very small restroom.
After the movie, Percephonie said, "Just think, Jed. You can go to school and tell people that you saw George Bush at the movie theater." Sensing some bragging rights, Jedediah said, "No. I can tell people that I saw George Bush in the restroom at the movie theater."

Atta boy!

It was a very good movie. Well-acted. Well-directed. Well-filmed. It is rated PG, but only for what I would consider mild stuff (such as a dog chasing a boy a couple of times, a man in a bathtub while wearing a union suit, the implication that a dad died in a museum fire, an orphan stealing an apple and crescent roll for a meal, and a few people smoking). There wasn't a single foul word in the movie. I don't even think there was an "OMG!" in it. I thought it was rated G, since it is no worse than many classic animated Disney movies, such as Bambi or Peter Pan. I'm guessing your kids would like to see it if they haven't already, but I think it's leaving theaters. Check it out on imdb.com if you are concerned about the rating.

Trailer for Hugo

Trailer for Bambi

Trailer for Peter Pan

Thursday, June 30, 2011

TDP Just Got Smaller!

As of Wednesday June 29th 2011 you no longer have to squint, turn your phone sideways, or zoom multiple times on your smart phone/mobile device in order to read Ten Dollar Popcorn on said mobile device. I'm a giver. From now on when you read the current episode or browse the archives for a well deserved laugh, it will look like this:
Feel free to continue to enjoy your monthly edition on your desktop/laptop computer. This is just another service I offer to you at no extra charge. You're welcome.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tron Maud 'Dib

In 1982 a friend of mine and I were just geeky enough to be the first in line on the first show of the first day of release for Tron. It was a cool movie and I had no idea it was a Disney movie, not that it mattered. We saw it at Southway 6 Theaters which is now a dollar cinema if I'm not mistaken. Which I suppose is ironic in this case (3:00). Years later Netflix gives me the opportunity to watch the movie again with the kids. I still loved it and the boys liked it but thought the computer animation was kind of weak. 29 years of advancement in computer animation might tend to jade the young'uns I reckon.

Then a friend of mine who also has Netflix told me he could no longer get the movie on the service. I wondered why because we had just watched it. Based on no knowledge whatsoever I concluded that it was simply being re-packaged for re-release after the new Tron movie was headed for DVD. I stand by that theory even though I have to this date done no research to back it up. So now months later, both movies are available on Netflix so I decided to send for it again followed by the new Tron movie, Legacy. It turned out to be a good choice because the boys liked the first movie better the second time they watched it and then a few days later we got to see the new one.

Tron is about a computer technology company (ENCOM) that is taken over by an unscrupulous English person (because they make great villains) who steals the work of a co-worker (Kevin Flynn) and attains the title of Senior Executive of the company due to the success of the stolen software. Flynn (our hero) is reduced to carving out a life by owning a video arcade filled with the games he designed but gets no credit for. He and two former co-workers from ENCOM decide to break into the company computer to get the evidence to give credit where credit is due. Hilarity and Hijinks ensue.

Tron Legacy is about Flynn's grown son (Sam) following his father into the digital world of ENCOM after realizing that he was trapped there all these years and didn't just abandon him. The computer animation didn't disappoint. They even had a "young" Flynn in the computer in addition to the "real" Flynn. The effect was almost perfect, except for the mouth. I'd say more but what I don't know about digital effects would fill a warehouse, or two. Therefore, since I am simply an internet blowhard, who am I to criticize?

Anyway as I was watching the movie and enjoying it, for the most part, I was wondering what was wrong with it. The effects were great and the story was above average, if only slightly. I mean movies with truly awful stories are blockbusters that linger in the theaters long after their expiration date so what was up with this one? It hit me when I was talking to a neighbor who was watching it with his kids the same way I was, on Netflix one after the other. It suffered from what I call the "Dune Effect". I'll explain what I mean by that but give me a minute because I just thought of it...

Ok, got it now.

The movie Dune was created from an incredible story that could have actually been two movies because there was just that much material that could have been explored. Not because the production company wanted to keep shaking the money tree like they're doing with a certain series of movies about a young outcast wizard who can't seem to catch a break. I can expand upon that book and movie series but that's another column. Hoo Boy! Don't get me started. As I was saying it was a good story but the movie moved like an 16 ton brick of jello pudding blocking the main street of Dead Horse Alaska in January. Too much to digest even for people who like that sort of thing. Sorry, I know I didn't have to explain that metaphor, I just felt obligated.

Tron Legacy was like that, only on a smaller scale. It was just slightly too much to digest in one sitting. Like that piece of cheesecake at the end of a meal at the hotel ballroom that you know you're too full to eat but dadgummit you just don't go to these things that often and you don't have to clean the table since it's at a hotel and it's a piece of cheesecake for cryin' out loud and you know it's going to be good. Heck, even if it's only pretty good then it's good enough because you don't have cheesecake everyday, amiright!

What was I talking about?

Oh yeah. The Dune/Tron Legacy thing. No, I'm not saying Tron Legacy was as good a story as Dune. What I am saying is that Tron Legacy would actually have been a good book without ever being a movie. Yes, really. See for yourself.

Tron Legacy (the movie) C+

trailer for Tron 1982

trailer for Tron Legacy

trailer for Dune

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My Name Is Dave

For several years now Alvin and the Chipmunks has been a staple in our household's rotation of DVDs. It's not played weekly, or even monthly but it gets a viewing once a quarter or so. What I'm trying to say in so many words is that, as kids movies go, it's not a miserable steaming pile of cow poop. My kids like it and it doesn't irritate me like, say, Happy Feet does. The kids have seen the second installment of the Chipmunks movie The Squeakquel and enjoyed it, as far as I know. I seemed to find other things to occupy my time when it was on our TV. Now I don't want to sound superior by that statement. I'm sure if I was in a dollar movie theater, or a lifeboat, I would most assuredly have given it my undivided attention. My point is that they have given no indication that they want to own a copy of "AatC2:TS" so I'm in no hurry to find it, new or used.

If you haven't seen it but you have seen the cartoon from the '60s (I think) then you know the theme of the story. The plot is a little more "Hollywood". By that I mean they have to start with some background information about the Chipmunks, even if they have to make it up and bypass any sense of presumption. I mean, with the cartoon I don't think too many viewers were concerned as to how Dave Seville and the singing chipmunks met. It was a cartoon. I know there was a cartoon in the '80s also but after an episode or two I couldn't watch it anymore so I cannot knowledgeably comment on it here. If that one explored the origins of Dave and the chipmunks then feel free to let me know it the comment section. However I did own an LP copy of Chipmunk Punk (pre-dates the '80s cartoon) that was often shown on commercials as a mail order item but I think I got it in a record store. It's rendition of Let's Go by The Cars was my favorite. At least that's the one that still finds it's way into my head on occasion. Don't feel bad though, it's a useful song when used to dislodge mind-numbingly irritating songs that get stuck in my head. NO! Not Friday. Are you kidding? That song's awesomely awesome. What was I talking about? Oh yeah, Alvin and the Chipmunks.

Actually that reminds me of a show I saw recently. Let me preface this by saying I'm not a big fan of sitcoms anymore. What I'm about to tell you should prove that. When browsing channels late one night I stumbled across a rerun of My Name Is Earl. I remember seeing previews of the show but didn't ever give it a second look. I don't know why I watched this one episode for that matter. Maybe it was because the title character, Earl, had a familiar voice. It was Dave Seville from the Alvin and the Chipmunks movie! I'll admit it took me a scene or two to figure that out. I honestly don't know if it's still making new episodes but the show I saw was about Earl, his brother, and a lunatic stealing a bookmobile and him making amends for it years later. By the way, Earl making amends for past transgressions is the whole point of the show.

Another thing is that it also took me a while to figure out that Earl's slow witted sidekick was his brother. I think his name is Randy. I've seen about four episodes now and of those, three got a chuckle out of me. Which is more than I can say about the Simpsons nowadays. On that note I recorded two Simpsons episodes last month to see if it was still up to snuff and was achingly disappointed. The Earl character is a long way from the Dave Seville character which I think in "the biz" they call "range" but I'm happily not in "the biz". He's likeable in both guises so I think we'll call that "talent".

It seems I haven't actually given any real information about either the movie Alvin and the Chipmunks or the show My Name Is Earl. That being the case, let your heart be your guide when deciding to watch either of these... um, recordings? I won't dissuade you from either.

Alvin and the Chipmunks: C+
My Name is Earl: B-

trailer for Alvin and the Chipmunks

trailer for Happy Feet

My review for Happy Feet

trailer for The Squeakquel

1960s Alvin and the Chipmunks

1980s Alvin and the Chipmunks


Chipmunk Punk

Friday

My Name is Earl TV show