Eclectic Pop

where "pop" culture gets "eclectic"

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Best New Movie Bets: May 31 | Disney's 'Maleficent' Tops Anticipated Releases

"Maleficent" starring Angelina Jolie

The latest in the fairy tale revival sweeping Hollywood is this retelling of Sleeping Beauty as told through the perspective of Maleficent, the horn-headed villainess of the story. Disney has purposefully crafted the film to resemble the original 1959’s cartoon version. So unlike ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” there is an effort being made to tie the legendary animation and this live-action version together. “Maleficent” comes on the heels of two Snow White films (“Snow White and the Huntsmen” and “Mirror”), a Jack and the beanstalk attempt (“Jack the Giant Slayer”) and a Cinderella remake which is set for release next year.

With the success of the computer-generated “Frozen”, the flurry for enchanted excitement is at its peak. For those seeking a princess-centric escape this might be a disappointment. Angelina Jolie’s Maleficent is the star of this fantasy and the trailer hints that the previously told story might be turned on its head. Spinning a different take on the mythos could give a refreshing angle to the story and a point to rehashing it once more. 

Movie Review: 'Godzilla' (2014)

Gareth Edwards' grand successor to his indie “Monsters”, follows-up on his earlier film’s ambitious maneuvering. In Edwards' vision of Godzilla there are threads of “The Impossible” and “Independence Day”, neatly interwoven throughout. At the core of the reasoning for this script is the notion that nature has a balance and the way it demonstrates this is highly relevant.

TV Rundown: May 18 - 23: 'Penny Dreadful' Is Gloom And Boom

Gloom and Boom: Penny Dreadful: Dorian Gray made his entrance onto the series partaking in the lurid sequence of a sickening romp. As disturbing as that was, the series did not linger on it as long as the scenes of Dr. Frankenstein and Proteus simply staring at each other.

Cannes 2014 Rundown: 5 Noteworthy Stories

#1: The Young and the Bold

The oldest and the youngest competitors at the fest were awarded third place. At 83-years-old, influential French New Wave pioneer, Jean-Luc Godard won for “Goodbye to Language” and 25-year-old relative newcomer Xavier Dolan for “Mommy” tied for the Jury Prize (third place). It was Quebec native, Dolan's 2nd appearance at Cannes and his sixth feature film. Can you say rising star?

TV Report Card | 'Arrow' Season 2 Review

Overview: Oliver lost a loved one, remembered the torture of the island, partook in a one-night-stand with a business associate sans any lead-up, hooked-up with the back from the dead sister he’d cheated on his “true love” with, mentored an herbed out Roy and ignored tech genius Felicity. The other Queen, Thea, ran her brother’s club, found out she’d unwittingly tried to kiss her half-brother and attempted to keep her boyfriend from hulking out.

Meanwhile, Queen matriarch Moira, beat the charges for her role in the death of hundreds of people and decided to run for political office the following week.

Movie Review: 'Better Living Through Chemistry' (2014)

There were expectations that this film would be a dark comedy in the vein of Steve Martin’s “Novocain”, offbeat and a tad wacky with some actual comedy to spare. The dull and listless “Better Living Through Chemistry” slogs through the sad life of Doug Varney (Sam Rockwell).

Retro Movie Review: 'The Next Three Days' (2010)

Infuriatingly dank and mostly depressing, this nail-biter settles like an emotional cloud over the mind. If you have ever watched an episode of “Dateline” and wondered what happens to the family of those in the orange jumpsuit and what they endure when the cameras shut-off and public interest fades…

Best New Movie Bets: May 23 | 'X-Men: Days of Future Past' & 'Blended'

"X-Men: Days of Future Past"

The latest installment in the X-Men franchise centers on Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) travelling back in time to prevent a deadly timeline of events. Seeing the magnificent Ian McKellen face off against Michael Fassbender as both portray Magneto (at different life stages) holds intriguing promise and with Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Bingbing Fan and more set to appear, the project boasts an impressive accumulation of talent.

Personally most exciting is the casting of “Game of Thrones” star Peter Dinklage as Dr. Bolivar Trask. Dinklage’s appearance in a film franchise is long overdue, a gem of an opportunity.  Seeing the elder Professor X and Magneto unite for the same cause, after several movies spent fighting against one another is another alluring aspect to the fatiguing franchise.

TV Report Card | 'Reign' Season 1 Review

Overview: Mary, Queen of Scots had to to out-maneuver the Queen of France, choose between two paramours and fight surrounding threats, including “the darkness”, for her life. Meanwhile, her handmaidens searched for true love and financial security.

Storyline Direction Pros: Pleasant surprises on TV are unusual and the story of how the first season of “Reign”, the CW’s splashy period piece went from this, to this and now to this review, is a remarkable one. "Reign" never backed down; it has an irrepressible spirit determined to succeed.

Already eclipsing the first season of “Gossip Girl”, it is currently on trajectory to join “One Tree Hill” as a top-notch teen soap. Despite being set in a different century, the characters couldn’t be any more relevant or relatable. The female characters are strong; some more morally motivated than others and they are all naturally flawed.

TV Rundown: May 11 - 16: Tyrion Goes to Trial on 'Game of Thrones'

Performance Titan: Game of Thrones: One by one a precession of betrayers would backstab the noble Tyrion as he stood trial for the assassination of his monstrous nephew. As Tyrion was maligned, it gave Peter Dinklage an opportunity to once again dazzle in the role. As Tyrion rebuked his false accusers, Dinklage seethed with righteous anger; an emotional torrent of frustration, bitter sadness and rage.

As the series’ premier actor, Dinklage’s performance walked the balance of internal heartbreak and outward defiance. It was mesmerizing and as any episode focused on Tyrion is, it was spellbinding.

Movie Review: 'Need for Speed' (2014)

A vacuous affair that fails to put the pedal to the metal; “Need for Speed” never shifts into appropriate gear as either a drama or a popcorn race flick. Taking itself too seriously to be written off as camp and too hammy to be taken seriously, the film levitates between the two possible narratives in loony fashion. Where to begin?

TV Report Card | 'The Vampire Diaries' Season 5 Review

Overview: Elena and the gang had to fight off doppelgangers, a scorned witch, travelers, an evil secret society and the persistent Katherine for their lives. The usual romantic interludes in which, Elena was torn over her brotherly brood of suitors continued to dominate the central storylines. Meanwhile, Bonnie sacrificed every chance at personal happiness so her thankless friends could live and Caroline whined about everything.

Best New Movie Bets: May 16 | 'Godzilla' & 'Chinese Puzzle'

"Godzilla" starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson

The most notorious movie monster returns to the silver screen in this reboot. Looking to transcend the failure of 1998’s “Godzilla”, this new version appears to be sidestepping all that film did wrong. The trailer gave viewers a glimpse at some highly impressive special effects and jaw-dropping moments. The shocked reactionary shots from characters, and a spine-tingling look at Godzilla were enough to earn anticipation.

The masterful hint the teaser offered, effectively gave a chilling assessment of Godzilla’s gargantuan size as flares kept reaching up without ever lighting up its apex. It is clever gimmicks like that, which add credence to this imagining.

Movie Review: 'Vampire Academy' (2014)

Rising star Zoey Deutch charges this adaptation of the first installment in the best-selling book series of the same name. Were it not for Deutch's entertaining spin on the sharp-tongued Rose, the film would have slipped into a state of insurmountable slumber. Directed by “Mean Girls” helmer Mark Waters and with a script by “Heathers” writer Daniel Waters, the stage is set for a smart-mouthed teen excursion.

Movie Review: 'The Other Woman' (2014)

Chaotic mischief is the name of the game in director Nick Cassavetes latest. “The Other Woman” is a female empowerment film without any real empowerment. It manages to play its punchline briefly before stalling out. After all, audiences have seen this storyline before. A cad gets caught, and the w…

TV Report Card | 'Vikings' Season 2 Review

Overview: Battles were waged, and wars were won as Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) tried to maintain a grip on his growing kingdom and his splintering family.

Storyline Direction Pros: The progression of power plays and backstabbing presented the roadmap for a captivating Season 2. Two characters, i…

TV Rundown: May 4 - 9: 'Vampire Diaries' Plays Dead or Alive

Dead or Not Dead: The Vampire Diaries: It was the deadly twist that sent social media and fans into a flurry. Will it actually stick? Given the series' history, instinct says "no". Though if it does last, it would be the boldest game-changing move, in TVD’s history. 
Great Escape: Fargo: Lorne Malvo managed to escape police custody without even breaking a sweat. He simply employed the tactic of assuming another person’s identity and it worked. In a glorious scene of cat-and-mouse psychology, Billy Bob Thornton reminded viewers of his gift for the transformative and wowed in the process.

Best New Movie Bets: May 9 | 'Neighbors' & 'God's Pocket'

"Neighbors" starring Zac Efron

Seth Rogen’s latest appears to be a cross between “Animal House” and “Old School”. Already garnering good reviews after its debut at SXSW, expectations are high. The plot centers around a family man (Rogen) who has to fend off a neighboring fraternity and one frat boy in particular (Zac Efron), for peace and quiet.

Movie Review: 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' (2014)

Spider-Man slings back into action in this visually stunning and often times, ill-plotted sequel. Opening with a lame flashback sequence featuring Peter Parker’s parents, the momentum picks up when the film zooms to the present, placing viewers in the eye of a police chase.

With this chaotic action sequence, we are re-introduced to the clash-and-bang universe of Spidey’s New York. The aerials of the city, and the first person perspective of Spider-Man, swooping down into the pulse of the city are spectacular, a fully engrossing spell-binder from "The Amazing Spider-Man 2."

TV Rundown: April 27 - May 2: 'Game of Thrones' Keeps Winter Coming

Hard to Watch: Game of Thrones: “Oathkeeper” was a particularly dark and brutal hour. What escalated the grimness was the cruelty shown to children, a crying newborn being abandoned in the cold and a little girl getting slapped, as bruises already covered her face. It was heartbreaking and mightily disturbing. The shadow of sadness it cast, lingered long after the credits rolled and when they did, I have to say I was relieved.

Movie Review: 'Transcendence' (2014)

When you boil most films down to their most basic form, what one will discover is that the vast majority are love stories. Underneath the science-fiction surface, “Transcendence” is the same, a story about love and devotion. This proves to be both its greatest strength and ultimate hindrance to re…

Best New Movie Bets: May 2 | 'Amazing Spider-Man 2' & 'Protector 2'

"The Amazing Spider-Man 2"

Director Mark Webb spins another spidey flick and the effects look dazzling. Just as with the original, the glossy graphics appear to be hitting all of the right notes. At least visually, it bares all of the hallmarks of an engrossing endeavor. The drawback to expectations is in the miscasting that plagued the first installment.

There will be a transfusion of new blood coming in this sequel. Along with newly introduced characters to the Spider-Man franchise, Electro (Jamie Foxx) and Rhino (Paul Giamatti), the sequel offers a reprisal of previously incarnated roles. Webb’s “Spider-Man” vision and Sam Raimi’s, will once again, prominently intersect as The Osborns are introduced.