Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Best New Movie Bets: Sep 12 | "The Drop" and more!

Best New Bet: The Drop | There are few movies that have peaked as much personal interest since their inception as “The Drop” and it has accomplished this for good reason. Directed by Michael R. Roskam whose feature film debut “Bullhead” was nominated for the Oscar in 2012 for Best Foreign Language Film, it has a script penned by acclaimed writer Dennis Lehane and it boasts an exceptional ensemble filled to the brim with talent. Sadly, it also marks actor James Gandolfini’s last screen role.

This crime drama’s cryptically foreboding premise centers around Bob (Tom Hardy), a Brooklynite who works at his Cousin Marv’s (Gandolfini) eponymously named bar which serves as a money drop for mobsters. Also in the mix is a pit bull puppy, Bob rescues from the garbage leading to various other complications. A major draw for "The Drop" is Tom Hardy, who has shown a vast skill in equally demonstrating a brooding subtlety (“Warrior”) and boisterous regale (“Bronson”), a talent that’s hard to come by. This quiet crime thriller is a promising venue for his talent to be seen.

Also Opening |
Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson star in “No Good Deed”, a home invasion thriller that’s trailer brought waves of tension and suspense. A sequel to the family hit, “Dolphin Tale 2” reunites most of the original cast (Morgan Freeman, Harry Connick Jr. and Ashley Judd) as they work to find a buddy for Winter the dolphin so she can stay at the Clearwater Marine Hospital. 

Limited Release |
Director Ned Benson’s ambitious passion project “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them” is the unique culmination of two separate films told from a “him” and “her” perspective on the same story. Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy star as a married couple ripped apart by tragedy who are trying to figure out if they can put the pieces of their lives back together as a couple. Buzz has been building on this film for some time and with the considerable talent of its leads, there’s no question as to why.

“Game of Thrones” alum Rose Leslie stars in the horror thriller “Honeymoon” about a newlywed couple who embark on their trip only to have strange events plague them after the bride (Leslie) disappears into the woods during a bout of sleepwalking. It’s available on VOD.

Former “Saturday Night Live” stars Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader star in “The Skeleton Twins”, a drama about twin siblings whose separate near death experiences on the same day leads them to work on reconciling their fractured relationship. Comedians tend to thrive in dramatic bubbles and after Wiig’s underrated turn in “Girl Most Likely”, every indication is that she is poised to strike again.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

TV Movie Review | Houdini

Part 1 | “Some things can hit you in the gut worse than any punch”; a huskily voiced Adrien Brody narrates repeatedly throughout the first half of History Channel’s two part mini-series. Tuning into this supposed biopic it was a sucker punch to realize it was in actuality a highly fictionalized account of the iconic Harry Houdini’s life. About the only accuracies were that there was a man named Erik Weisz who went by the stage named Houdini and was a revered magician, illusionist and escape artist.

For viewers hoping to see anything beyond the bare bones of those truths, only disappointment awaits. A whole review could be spent on the inaccuracy of the project and it is from its cornucopia of falsehoods (there is even a disturbingly outrageous insinuation of incest) that most of the personal problems with this presentation stems.

To simply address the movie, there were a few light spots amid a lot of darkness. The reveals of the illusions and escapes were well produced. However, the emphasis on exposure was unnecessary. The pacing was swift and steadily moved viewers through a vast amount of time. The cinematography was sharp and visually lush. The score was complimentary and the costuming was quite remarkable. One of the main things hampering its flow was the overuse of jump cuts to the foreshadowing abdominal assault. Dropping a few anvils to Houdini’s dark fate is one thing. Repetitiously broadcasting the same image was overkill.

It’s hard to disengage and accept the film on a fictional basis when there is a constant narration attempting to convey that this is the real story from the mouth of the man being portrayed. The essence of Houdini’s legendary showmanship and his innate gift as an entertainer was in no way articulated. Neither was the notion that he was arguably one of America’s first celebrities. Instead he’s portrayed as an egomaniac bent on fame, a lousy husband and angry show boater. The first installment grows weary and in the end, dull. Rating: 4/10 
More after the jump...

Monday, September 8, 2014

Fall's Best New TV Bets: FOX

Gotham | The highly anticipated Batman TV series stars Benjamin McKenzie as James Gordon before he became the commissioner of Gotham. Apparently it will be the hybrid of a crime-of-the-week procedural, while also teasing introductions to the famous mythology. A young Bruce Wayne, Penguin, Catwoman and Poison Ivy are set to appear.

FOX’s foray into superhero television comes after The CW’s notable success with the retired “Smallville” and recent hit “Arrow”. Last season, ABC attempted to produce similar results with “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”, which after sufficient early buzz saw its share of struggles. “Gotham” has a 16-episode order so FOX is taking a cautious approach before committing to more, a move that should prove fruitful either way. Premieres: Sept 22 & Airs Mondays @8pm EST

Red Band Society | An American adaptation of the Catalan series “Polseres vermelles”, “Red Band Society” follows the relationships between a group of teens living in a pediatric ward and the staff that takes care of them. Billed as a dark comedy, it’s hard to imagine watching a show focused on such a grim subject matter. However, the trailer makes a compelling case to watch. It was incredibly moving, reminiscent of “Glee” with the theme of kids from different walks of life being brought together by similar circumstances. 

After the success of “The Fault in Our Stars”, it wouldn’t be surprising to see “Red” be a hit. Oscar winner Octavia Spencer anchors the cast of unknowns and she should provide a lot of the series heartfelt laughs. Premieres: Sept 17 & Airs Wed @9pm EST

Best Returning Bet: Glee | The last season of the landmark musical dramedy will take its final curtain call next year. Bidding farewell to the lovable characters that have left an indelible impression will bring its share of sorrow but the good news is that it is putting its best foot forward to give fans the goodbye they desire. The final season finds Blaine, Sam and Rachel returning to Lima to pursue new endeavors. Last season the show lost a bit of itself in New York, especially where Rachel came into play. Thankfully, she seems to be back on track next season as her storyline focuses on efforts to resurrect the Glee Club. Catch up on Season 5 with Eclectic Pop's TV Report Card, click here Returns: 2015

Sunday, September 7, 2014

TV Rundown: Aug 31-Sept 5 | Betrayal on "Dallas" & more

Dallas | Elena revealed her manipulations to the Ewings and demanded retribution. Why she never felt she could come to Bobby when she first learned of JR’s deed switch is still hazy. What's clear is she crossed a line she will never be able to return from. In all of her indignation she failed to acknowledge her own hypocrisy. Her brother was responsible for the death of Christopher and Pamela’s unborn twins and she and her mother knowingly harbored him from the law, justice and the Ewings. Her brother had killed innocent babies.

Neither Bobby nor any of the other Ewings knew about what JR had done or were complicit in any way. How she could so haughtily speak of betrayal, when she knowingly stabbed the Ewings in the back, was hard to take. Her anger at JR was understandable but to lump an unaware Bobby in with him is just wrong, cruel and unfair.

Teen Wolf | At his mother’s urging, Scott returned the money from the Dead Pool back to Derek who preceded to accept it and announce that he owned the building he lives in. In other words, he isn’t hurting monetarily. So this brings one thing to mind, why didn’t Derek give just a fraction of it to Scott and Stiles? Especially after Scott had done the right thing; expecting nothing in return. Why not repay him and Stiles for sticking their necks out countless times to save Derek? He wouldn’t even be alive to enjoy his money without them and it would be a small gesture in the long run.

Under the Dome | Big Jim was finally reunited with his long presumed dead wife, Pauline. After staging her cruel demise, she left Jim to raise their son and torture himself with guilt over her “suicide”. When he confronted her, she was moderately repentant over the pain she had inflicted and strangely, that was enough for the unusually forgiving Jim, who readily took her back. Is he a changed man, after all? It’s unclear. When he learns that Pauline doesn’t actually want to reconcile and was once again lying, Jim’s status should be revealed.

Houdini | History Channel’s historically inaccurate biopic of the late great Houdini was a slight to his memory and that of his wife. The History Channel didn’t even preface the series with a dramatization clause. Instead, it allowed viewers to take everything as fact. “Artistic license” is nothing new and understandable in some circumstances, such as the creation of composite characters to depict something in a compressed timeframe. Outright dismissal of the facts is disturbing. Stay tuned to Eclectic Pop for a full review of the mini-series. 

General Hospital | Who else is ready for the reveals to roll out? There are so many plot dominoes ready to topple over and it's about time for the aftershocks to be felt. 

The Bold and the Beautiful | Ridge found a creative surrogate in Caroline and Ivy put the moves on Liam. Both of their luck seems to be turning around from a few weeks ago.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Fall's Best New TV Bets: NBC

Bad Judge | Kate Walsh stars as a harsh judge with a raunchy personal life. When a young boy enters the picture, she gets a wake-up call that might send her lifestyle in another direction. This sounds reminiscent of the plotline in the hilarious movie “Bad Teacher” with a profession change. This is Walsh’s first full-time foray back into television since “Private Practice” and “Bad Judge” will be a comedic reprieve from the heavy tragedy that filled the erstwhile med drama. Walsh proved she had an innate funny side with her role in “Fargo” where she played a recently widowed, eccentric temptress. It was a salty performance that allowed her talents to shine in a new light. As a half-hour comedy, “Bad Judge” has the ingredients to regain NBC its comedy crown. Premieres: Oct. 2 & Airs Thursdays @9pm EST

A to Z | Airing after “Bad Judge” is another single camera sitcom, this one stars “Drop Dead Diva” alum Ben Feldman as Andrew, a romantic working at an internet dating site. When he meets Zelda (Cristin Milioti, “The Wolf of Wall Street”) a no-nonsense attorney, sparks fly. The show’s setup indicates a quirky take on the episodic rom-com and even features a narration by Katey Sagal. Milioti quickly became a fan favorite during her stint on “How I Met Your Mother” playing the “mother” a pivotal role she made popular, satisfying heightened expectations. Boosting the talent behind-the-camera is the mega-talented Rashida Jones who is an executive producer on the project, an encouraging sign it has tremendous potential. Premieres: Oct. 2 & Airs Thursdays @9:30pm EST

Best Returning Bet: The Blacklist | The best new series from network television, last year. Its freshman season was nearly flawless, possessing everything a quality procedural should: an incredible lead character (Red), a likable heroine (Liz), periodic storyline payoffs (bad guy of the week) and an intriguing long-term mystery that works as the show’s core mythos (Is Red Related to Liz?). Writer Jon Bokenkamp and the unflappable James Spader have created a character that stands head and shoulders above the average protagonist/antagonist. The second season has a lot to live up to and there’s reason to believe it can. If you missed the first season, Netflix will begin streaming the entire first season Sept. 7. Read up on Season 1 with Eclectic Pop’s TV Report Card by clicking here. Returns: Sept. 22 @10pm EST

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Fall's Best New TV Bets: CBS

Scorpion | Based on the life of Walter O’Brien, a computer genius and hacker known by the name “Scorpion”, the series is a lax adaption of his cyber adventures. Having researched the real man, his life reads like a movie so sticking with the facts would’ve been just as, if not a lot more, fascinating than a fictionalized telling.

The show follows Walter (Elyes Gabel) as he accrues a global team of fellow tech gurus to defend the world against the sinister threats facing people in the modern era. It sounds like a blend of “The Social Network” and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” minus their edgy demeanor. If the series stays true to whom O’Brien is; this could be a fascinating character study. Recently CBS hasn’t exactly created a definitive or flashy character like other networks. “Scorpion” might be able to change that. Premieres: Sept. 22 & Airs Mondays @9pm EST

Madam Secretary | Tea Leoni returns to television as the Secretary of the State in this political drama. The series will explore both her personal and professional life as she strives to balance both aspects of her life. There is major talent both behind and in front of the camera on this one. Morgan Freeman is an executive producer and Bebe Neuwirth and Keith Carradine will be co-starring.

Leoni is an exceptional actress and having her on a TV series is a major coup for television in general.  She has a naturalism that should appeal to viewers and as she’s proven in her film roles, she’s a powerhouse in quite moments. If “Madam Secretary” can strike a chord with the audience that loved “The West Wing”, it could be a hit. 
Premieres: Sept. 21 & Airs Sundays @8pm EST

Eclectic Pop News | #RKC Presents...

Dear Eclectic Pop Readers,

Hope this message finds all of you well. Eclectic Pop is proud to announce a new venture. I have begun working as a Selector on #RKC. Starting tomorrow, #RKC [@RadioKC] will begin airing “Eclectic Selections” which is a playlist of music that has been personally chosen. I would like to thank Jerome at #RKC for this incredible opportunity and support. 

A lot of the artists you’ll hear in the opening episode have already been featured on Eclectic Pop in the Music features Sonic Assembly, Spotlight Artist or in numerous reviews. Some artists are new listens and will be featured in upcoming reviews on the site - so stay tuned! 

All of that said, let’s get down to business and answer some of the questions you might have about “Eclectic Selections”.

How do I listen? You can log onto rkc.noip.me  or listen on the Tune In App.

How do I listen on the Tune In App? Go to your App Store and search for the Tune In App. After installing it, you can open it up, make an account and after selecting 1 station to follow, you can search “RKC” and it will pop up, then select follow and listen at your convenience. If you’re familiar with IHeartRadio the process is very similar.

When can I listen? Fridays at 7pm EST/4pm PST which is 12pm UK time.

What kind of music will I hear on “Eclectic Selections”? Various genres will be featured including indie rock, acoustic, folk, and even some neo-country.

Where can I find a playlist of everything I hear? Stay tuned to both @RadioKC and @EclecticPop on Twitter to follow the action and a playlist should be available on RKC’s website. Coming Soon - there will also be a page completely dedicated to “Eclectic Selections” here at EclecticPop.com

How long will the show last? About an 1 hour and half - so settle in and enjoy! The good news is you can carry the show with you, wherever you are and listen while you are doing just about anything.

Once again, I would like to thank +Radio Kaos Caribou for this opportunity. This is a thrilling occasion and I hope you’re listening along when it happens. To anyone who’s planning to listen, thank you already! Your support means the world and words fall short of saying how much I appreciate it.

Thanks again!
– Britt [Sole Contributor of Eclectic Pop]