Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tonight's "American Idol": My take

Danny Noriega (boy who thinks he's a girl) was dreadful but somehow won over the judges, mostly because he is "different" (a compliment, I guess). Dude with the dreadlocks officially takes the 7th season prize for crazy hair, pretty face, and mediocre voice (a successor to Season 1's Justin). Aussie rocker was pretty good. Blond streaks is gonzo this week.

But how about this David Archuleta kid? Is he a star-in-the-making or what? Talk about a show-stopper. Watch it here while the link still works. I'd KILL to have a voice like that.

A fourth "Bourne" movie?

Variety reported today that Universal recently inked a deal to produce a fourth installment in the successful Bourne series:

More recently, Shmuger and Linde [Universal executives] landed Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon for a fourth "Bourne" movie, even though the director and star seemed ready to wrap it up after three pics.

Since each of the Bourne movies has been a critical and financial success, it's hardly a surprise to see the studio do everything it can to keep the franchise alive. And though there are no more official Robert Ludlum-penned Bourne books left to adapt for the big-screen, I doubt it will make much of a difference to the quality of the movies: the existing three Bourne movies are supposedly so wildly different from their literary sources, that it's almost as if they weren't adaptations at all.

As I've said before, the Bourne movies are the thinking-man's action films for our generation. I can't wait for more.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

"The Spiderwick Chronicles" review

It's been a couple of months since Wendy and I had been able to get to the movies, so it was lovely for Wendy's parents to watch Lily over the weekend while we got out to celebrate our 5th anniversary. The movie we chose to see was The Spiderwick Chronicles, which I hadn't been horribly excited to see based on the TV ads or trailers available. The reviews, however, were mostly positive, and we both love fantasy (when done well), so we thought we'd give it a shot. We weren't disappointed.

Though targeted to young children, who have likely read the books, there's much to love in Spiderwick for grown-ups as well, including an excellent cast, led by the always terrific Freddie Highmore. The production values are fantastic, with appealing and believable sets and props (the creepy old house is really great), convincing creature effects, and another good musical score from James Horner (one of my favorite composers). I won't get into the story, because the surprise is half of the fun, but it has elements that are reminiscent of The Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter, or Bridge to Terabithia.

More than anything, the movie made me feel like a little kid again. As I was sitting there enjoying the adventure, I couldn't help but remember those imaginative days of my childhood where we would seek out or build "clubs" (usually in the weeds in our backyard or in the Stilson's abandoned sheds) where we kids could act out our fantasies. Though the movie doesn't really deal with it specifically as a theme, it feels implied that adulthood signals the death of the imagination, something I find both sad and inspiring at the same time.

It might have just been the luster of a "night out," but Wendy and I found The Spiderwick Chronicles to be a worthwhile and fun diversion. It's a little scary for young kids, but the rest of you will probably enjoy it a lot. I hope we get to see more of this world. (***1/2 out of four)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Finally...the "Indy 4" trailer

It finally debuted today. Yep, our first peek at Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Click here to see the trailer from Yahoo. Though clearly not as revealing as I would have liked, here are a few of the delights from the trailer:
  • A car chase/bullwhip fight through what looks like the warehouse from the final scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • A very brief glimpse at the word "Roswell," possibly indicating some kind of alien subplot
  • The return of Marion (Indy's love from Raiders)
  • Cate Blanchett...no further explanation necessary
  • Some fun-looking Inca-inspired sets
  • Harrison Ford back in that hat
Is anyone else getting excited about this movie besides me?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Return dates for your favorite shows

With the official end to the Writer's Strike occurring today, here's a semi-official update from EW.com on the scheduled return dates of some of our favorite scripted shows (click on the link for all the shows they have listed):
  • The Office: April 10 (5-6 new episodes)
  • My Name is Earl: April 3 (8+ new episodes)
  • CSI: April 3 (6 new episodes)
  • Grey's Anatomy: Late April ( 4-5 new episodes)
  • 30 Rock: April 10 (5 new episodes)
  • 24: Early 2009 (yes, we'll have to wait an extra year to see Jack Bauer's latest...grrr)
Lost, which is already on the air with new episodes, will apparently add 5 more new episodes to the 8 they have already completed, meaning that we'll get 13 of the promised 16 (we've already seen 2 of these 13). Though it has officially been renewed for next season, I haven't seen a promised return date for Pushing Daisies.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Good news, bad news

Here's an update on the status of your favorite shows, courtesy of USA Today:

"Most prime-time series will need six to eight weeks to write, produce and edit new episodes, but a handful of series (The Office, Two and a Half Men, Desperate Housewives) have one or two scripts nearly ready, which could shorten that time frame.

With few exceptions, most top series will come back between mid-April and early May and air four to six new episodes. Some networks want to keep shooting new shows, hoping to keep them on the air into June to help win back viewers, or store up extra episodes for late summer or fall, partly as insurance against a possible actors' strike June 30. That goal might be hampered because of budgeting problems or stars' film commitments. And serialized dramas will have a harder time for creative reasons.

NBC's Heroes will wait for fall, because of the expense and hurdles of filming a few episodes with a self-contained story. Fox's 24 will produce the remaining 16 episodes of its planned season this spring, to avoid losing options on its actors, but the drama won't return till next January.

"We have to have some kind of abbreviated wrap-up for some shows," says producer Greg Berlanti (Brothers & Sisters). "And for others we're going to have to create the beginning of a new season" in unexpected places. "It's challenging creatively, but it could also end up being inspiring."

But not all shows will return right away: Some newcomers that are neither hits nor flops, such as Pushing Daisies, Dirty Sexy Money, Chuck and Life, are expected to get new-episode orders but won't be back until fall."

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Are your fingers crossed?

This article indicates that the Writer's Guild is planning on voting on a new contract this coming Tuesday, meaning that if approved, Hollywood could be back to work as early as Wednesday. The best news for us viewers is that a swift resolution could mean 4-6 more episodes of our favorite TV shows before the end of May.

I'm guessing that the coming days will give us a better idea of what plans networks will make for each individual show, but things are looking good for a few more episodes of Lost, The Office, and even possibly Pushing Daisies before too long...

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Stephanie Meyer's calendar

Here's your Edward the Vampire update, courtesy of USA Today:

"Fans of Stephenie Meyer (and there are millions of them), mark your calendars: Her publisher, Little, Brown, plans to announce today that the fourth and final book in her series about teenage vampires, Breaking Dawn, will go on sale at 12:01 a.m. Aug. 2. Bookstores are expected to stage midnight parties à la Harry Potter. Last August, Meyer's Eclipse (No. 34) knocked J.K. Rowling off the No. 1 spot. A special edition of Eclipse will be released May 31; it will include the first chapter and cover art of Breaking Dawn. Meyer's first novel for adults, The Host, which features an alien species that takes over the minds of their human hosts, arrives May 6. And the movie version of her novel that started it all, Twilight (No. 22), with Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, will be released Dec. 12."

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

One more...

We had a photographer take some pictures of Lily yesterday, and though we haven't gotten most of them back yet, she did email us this one:

Our photographer was Michele Reyes (www.michelereyes.com), and we were very impressed with her. Lily was pretty well-behaved during the mostly-naked shoot, only urinating on us three times. I'll try to post some of the others as soon as we have them.

Oh yeah and with regard to entertainment, I'm loving Lost, guessing that the Writer's Strike is coming to an end (cross your fingers), and looking for a good movie to watch while we're in St. George (free babysitters) on our 5th anniversary next weekend. Any ideas?