Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Oscar Nominations

The Oscar nominations came out today, and seemed for the most part to include no big shockers. The biggest surprise, however, is likely to enrage my sister-in-law, Kristen: the musical "Dreamgirls" led in total nominations (8), but was shut out of the major categories, including Best Picture and Best Director. It did, however, receive nominations for Eddie Murphy and Jennifer Hudson's supporting roles.

The Best Picture nominees include the Brad Pitt drama, "Babel," Martin Scorcese's "The Departed," the independent favorite, "Little Miss Sunshine," the Royal Family drama, "The Queen," and Clint Eastwood's Japanese-spoken war epic, "Letters from Iwo Jima." For a complete list of the other nominees and plenty of commentary from people who know better than I, click here.

Since I haven't seen any of the Best Picture nominees (and likely won't), I can't say I'm terribly excited for this year's awards. I am, however, looking forward to seeing Ellen DeGeneres as the host; $10 says she'll wear a pant-suit instead of a gown...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Amazing Race: All-Stars

CBS just announced the teams for the upcoming Amazing Race: All-Stars, coming on Sunday, February 18:

Wendy and I got into the race around season 4 or 5, so I don't know a few of the teams, but of those I know, I can't decide who I'm more excited to see: Charla & Mirna vs. the coal-miners or the beauty queens vs. Rob & Amba. This is going to be GOOD!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Masochists, Unite!

Well, it's that time of year again: smoggy air, after-Christmas sales, and the return of Fox's winter schedule. What that means for some is a sudden bounty of DVR-clogging programming, perfect for these long winter nights. Yet for me, the return of Fox's "24" and "American Idol" signifies America's delight for (and absolute obsession with) pure, unadulterated pain.

"American Idol" represents the best and worst of our society: We rejoice in the discovery of new talent, embrace the show's finalists, and devote two of our precious weekday evenings to the talent competition. But no less pleasurable (or disturbing) is our unhealthy obsession with horrific, embarrassingly bad "singing." Why do we enjoy seeing people utterly destroyed in front of terribly insensitive judges? Why are we absolutely entranced by impressions of the cowardly lion? Or black, male, talentless Celine Dion wannabes? Why does it make us so ridiculously happy to see nerve-wracked Idol-hopefuls understandably forget lyric after lyrics? Because we're masochists, that's why.

Skeptical? Look no further than the fictional, terrorist-heavy world of my Fox favorite, "24." Where else is behavior that by any other standard would be reprehensible (if not criminal) is not only permitted, but encouraged? Witness a few examples from this week's season premiere: two separate shoulder-stabbings, numerous bloody shootings, a freaky vampire-ish Jack Bauer-escape, and one casualty-heavy nuclear explosion. And yet through all the gory mayhem, those who give it a chance find themselves utterly addicted, and with the simple snap of a neck, we're pulled into another stress-filled 24 hours. Masochists, I tell you...all of us. At least until May...

What were your favorite cringe-worthy moments from the "24" and "American Idol" premieres?

Sunday, January 07, 2007

"Night at the Museum" review

Ben Stiller's latest is a whimsical family-friendly adventure akin to other PG-rated adventure-comedies like "Jumanji" and "Zathura." It's fast-paced and inoffensive, and quite often very funny. While Stiller plays the same put-upon, unlucky fellow he plays in nearly every movie, here the typecasting works in the quirky context of a museum-come-to-life (and-run-amok). Though the concept is fairly silly and decidedly far-fetched, Stiller and the rest of the cast (filled with comedy vets old and young) keep things light enough that the time passes pleasantly enough. While I knew that I would laugh at Owen Wilson's cowboy, I was surprised to find myself smiling at nearly everything spoken by Mickey Rooney's grumpy old night guard and Ricky Gervais' communication-challenged curator. (Robin Williams and Dick Van Dyke also get a few laughs.) It's not a classic movie that I'll need to watch over and over, but it was breezy enough to make for a decent holiday diversion. (*** out of four)

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Delta, Delta, Delta may I help ya, help ya, help ya?

I don't really know much about this potential merger between US Airways and Delta, I just know I don't want to lose my SkyMiles. If you want to sign a petition to voice your opinion, click here.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

"Indiana Jones 4" coming in 2008!!!

Can't tell you how excited I am that this is finally going to happen.


Only about 18 months to go...