Sunday, July 31, 2011

My Second Movie Double Feature

You know, we should have suspected that Cowboys and Aliens wouldn't live up to the hype when we saw Jon Favreau everywhere. We were distracted by seeing Olivia Wilde everywhere, but still...
I still took a chance on the movie, and it was good, not great. Daniel Craig was the top selling point as Jake, the guy who can't remember how he got a strange looking bracelet that will fire off lasers 1875.
Maybe the problem was we had a generic story, a gunslinger with a mysterious past coming to a town down on its luck and helps them face down a major threat, and added aliens who plan to take over Earth because the puny humans can't possibly fight back.
Or maybe it was a case of too many high-powered cooks not making a good enough broth. The producers included Steven Spielberg, Jon Favreau and Ron Howard. The writers included the guys from Lost and Fringe. It was still entertaining, but this was one of those times where I was glad to spend only $5.50 on it.
But in the name of God, how could it barely earn enough cash than the SMURFS?? I mean, how did they succeed (for lack of a better term) where Alvin and the Chipmunks, Hop and Yogi Bear didn't? OK, maybe it was the kids or nostalgic parents, but by THAT much?

I noticed the BEMs looked a lot like Cooper, the alien from Super 8. At least that movie had a better story that ended in Spielberg schmaltz but still earned big bucks. I would have really enjoyed it if we had a situation where primitive puny humans figured out a way to knock down the aliens without some unexpected help. But the movie decided some "help" was needed. You'll see where, especially if you saw the trailer a couple hundred times before the movie.

The second movie, Captain America in 3-D, was much better. It was fast-paced, loaded with action and good performances. Chris Evans is Captain America without a doubt, but Hugo Weaving was just scary as Red Skull. He makes Voldermort look lame. I also enjoyed Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark, and it's easy to expect him to be the father of Robert Downey Jr., and Sebastian Stan as Bucky..this time as a young man and not a teen sidekick. I really hope that somehow Hayley Atwell will be brought back for a Captain America Stephanie Carter, the granddaughter of Peggy--and SHIELD agent.
I also notice Stan Lee is becoming just like Hitchcock, making sure he gets a cameo somewhere in the Marvel movie-verse. He's in Captain America, but I would have cast him in something else.
For now, the Avengers are next. Joss Whedon says directing this movie was easier than he thought, and that his version may be better than the original. Let's hope he's right in nine months.

Happy Birthday, MTV, But Your Party Should Have Been Bigger

Today is the 30th birthday of a cable channel that has changed the world, but whose relevance ain't what it used to be.
Over the weekend, VH1 Classic has been rotating 12 hours of what it considers the best of MTV, Music Television, over the past 30 years.

12 hours? Not a month, at least?

What bugs me is that to limit itself to 12 hours, they leave out a MASSIVE amount of history. They will be airing the first hour of the network three times Monday. We get a fair amount of Mark Goodman, and cameos by Nina Blackwood, JJ Jackson, Alan Hunter and Martha Quinn. It's like talking about the Declaration of Independence and barely talking about the Founding Fathers. Sure, they give us clips of Club MTV (such as a very nice performance by Debbie Gibson), 120 Minutes, the final TRL (why not the first one, you knobs?), Jackass, Unplugged, House of Style, Remote Control, Cribs, Beavis and Butthead, and contest promos.

But come on! Why not turn VH1 Classic into MTV Classic, where we get bumps of the VJs, and throw in both Julie Browns (especially Just Say Julie) and Adam Curry? Why not have ENTIRE VMAs? Who wouldn't want to see the year Dana Carvey hosted, or the first one? How about the retrospectives the network had in 1999? Show whole episodes of Remote Control, especially with Denis Leary and Adam Sandler? Heck, show where the VJs are now. It's sad the original network doesn't think being 30 is important enough to throw itself a birthday party. I'm sure Katy Parry, Gaga, Rhianna, P. Diddy, and Pitbull would love to be on the decorating committee.
On the other hand, maybe MTV didn't want to admit hitting the big 3-0 because it's afraid the kids won't trust anyone over maybe CNN.

Martha Quinn had her own take on the big 3-0, and her brthday wish speaks volumes. Bless you, Martha! You were so great as a VJ, Canada had to invent its own version of you.

OK, so let's admit You Tube, Vevo really, has replaced MTV as the main source for music videos these days. Let's at least honor the channel that started it all.
Well, when August 2nd rolls around, and China doesn't foreclose on us because our government's financial expertise is worse then Bernie Madoff's, this will all be forgotten.

I will give VH1 Classic credit for showing MTV's first hour with the original ads. It just reminds us what we had back then, especially Superman II, a gum that's no longer available, and cologne that would be rejected in favor of Axe spray.