Friday, September 12, 2014

Fun Friday: Real Ducks Do DuckTales

DuckTales has a catchy theme song.
It's a favorite of many, and had TWO sing-alongs at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con. So, it might not be very surprising that someone has taken the time to recreate those iconic sixty seconds with real ducks! I'm serious, take a look:

This begs the question: what cartoon theme song is next? Chipmunks do Alvin and the Chipmunks or Chip 'n' Dale's Recuse Rangers? Tiny Toons with rabbits, a duck, a pig, and a tasmanian devil? What do you think?
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Friday, September 5, 2014

Try It Out: The Chair

For those who don't know, in addition to entertainment journalism and criticism, I also direct children's musical theatre productions. I have a lot of passion for children and the arts, and I particularly love what kids bring to the table, being innocent and wide-eyed and green. I also see a lot of theatre, from community shows to touring musicals to hits on Broadway when I'm in New York. And, although I've been taking in theatre for a few decades now, it's only been in the past few years that I'll watch a performance and unconsciously think about what I would do differently. Therefore, when I first learned about the competitive documentary series, The Chair, I was extremely intrigued.

In my own work, several directors use the same set, props, and costumes each year at various schools, but we'll approach the same play differently, and that's very similar to what's going on with The Chair, which boasts the tagline "every director has their own take." Two first-time feature filmmakers, Shane Dawson and Anna Martemucci, receive the same screenplay, location, and budget, and the series will document how each approaches the project, from creation to marketing to reception of a feature-length movie. Audiences will also be able to vote for the winner, who will receive $250,000.

Dawson's film is titled Not Cool while Martemucci's is Hollidaysburg. Based off the titles alone, I'm more sold on Dawson, but there are many more factors at play... for instance, Dawson is a self-taught internet sensation while Martemucci has more formal training and has made an independent film before. How these aspects will factor into the ways the two approach the project and find different steps easier or more challenging is a big reason to watch the program. I'm especially curious as to how they decide to balance indoor/outdoor filming because of the time of year they were in Pittsburgh!

Tune in for The Chair on Starz, where the first of ten episodes will air tomorrow, Saturday, September 6th, at 10pm ET/PT. Starz can be found DirecTV 527/528, DISH 350/351, FiOS 340/855, U-Verse 902/903, Xfinity 534, and on other carriers.
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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Mistresses: SUCH a Soap!!

Dang. A LOT happened as the second season of Mistresses wound down, but arguably the hottest topic was none other than Joss's engagement to Scott.
facebook.com/Mistresses
It happened fast, they seemed to have several kinks to work out, and there were quite a few reasons to doubt the union would actually happen. However, I didn't see Harry falling for Joss being one of them! That completely changed the series in a way I didn't expect, and will drag me back for more if it's renewed (which it may very well be, as the ratings for the second season were pretty similar to the first). I'm again losing interest in Karen and Savi's lives, but Savi is bound to blow up over the Joss-Harry situation, so no calm waters on the horizon there!

Mistresses "Choices" (S02E11): Karen confronts Daniel, and learns that he works for the FBI. April isn't interested in explanations or apologies, but she's forced to continue helping or risk all sorts of issues, including jail time because she knew she didn't deserve Paul's life insurance money if he was still alive. [that sucks.] She receives a phone in the mail with only one contact number in it, so she knows how to reach her former husband if need be.

Karen helps Anna look for a new job and apartment, but learns that the girl would rather move back to Korea, so she helps mend the fences between Anna and her parents. [I'm fine with writing off Anna.] The whole thing makes Karen think she needs a new profession, so she quits her practice and considers moving to Boston with Jacob, who is starting a new job there. [mmhmm. because they've been together for half a season and all.] However, she decides she doesn't want to leave her life. She also has an unexpected visitor - Ben, from her escort days. [pre-Jacob this season.]

Joss tells the group that she's engaged, while Savi breaks the news that she's single again. [interesting juxtaposition.] Scott buys Joss a Tesla, and presents it while she's out with Savi - he swapped it out with the valet! [how ridiculous! he didn't even get to see her face!] Joss doesn't want to feel like a dependent, so she wants a pre-nup. But, Scott won't enter a marriage planning to fail, though he will agree that each will keep their own names, their two kids will have both, she'll pay the phone and cable bills, and they'll have sex at least five times a week (at least once each weekend). [McKayla Maroney face over here!]

Harry is concerned that he's going to get fired because Greta wants a new menu and he's not a short-order cook, but they become intimate and the problems are solved. [eye roll. also, broken glass!] 

At work, Dom tries to get dirt on Toni, while removing Savi from cases he's also working. Toni tells her to get Dom in trouble to make herself happier, but Savi records the conversation and gets Toni in trouble. [ha!] Zack sends Savi a leather jacket. [ugh. he's still around?]

Mistresses "Surprise" (S02E12): Karen talks to Ben, who shares that he's HIV+, so she should also be tested. [uh oh.] She goes to her regular doctor, but she can't handle talking about it and turns to April's Catholic church, a faith she held as a child. [I don't know if I remembered April was a church-going woman.] It convinces her that she can handle what's coming, and gets her blood drawn.

April gives the phone over to the FBI, but there's nothing to trace on it yet, so April will have to chat with Paul for 30 seconds, only when she calls, there's a recording that says he'll return her call sometime in the next 48 hours. Because she now has to be monitored, she sends Lucy on that Tahoe trip, and the FBI sets up in April's house for the weekend. [I'd be suspicious if I was Lucy!] But, Lucy swings by the house to get her iPod, so Daniel and April have to pretend that they're mending fences. April turns to Dom for help, as she decides to warn Paul of the FBI, and she winds up arrested. Paul is in even more trouble, though, as once he passes on the tip to his boss, he is escorted out of a motel room by a colleague with a hidden gun. [I'm not cure "colleague" is the correct term in this scenario...] Also, best line of the episode goes to April: "I wish I can go with you but I have to go back to the FBI office tomorrow, so I can help my not-married ex-boyfriend find my not-dead ex-husband who currently works for some drug-dealing overlord."

Joss sees Harry and Greta being intimate, but what's worse is that she chats non-stop about Harry to Scott's mother when the two women are out working on the wedding registry. Then, Scott goes to Harry to find out what a good gift for Joss would be, and he suggests a record player so Joss can play the records her father left her. Scott wants to go bigger, with a jukebox that has those songs pre-programmed, but he does decide to keep it simple. [he's getting a bit annoying, in a very pretentious way.] Back in the restaurant business, Greta has a conflict pop up with the soft opening, so Harry moves it up... to Joss's engagement party weekend. When she confronts Harry, he tells her the wedding will never happen anyway. [how rude!]  

Savi goes out to dinner with Zack, but it seems they don't have much in common. [no kidding.] Despite the fact that it's a bit of a disaster, she agrees to see him again, and rather than a nice restaurant, they go to a dive with a live band, where Zack is asked to sing. [why is this bit being added?] Savi's car gets towed, so Zack offers to drive her on his motorcycle, but she freaks out en route.

Mistresses "'Til Death Do Us Part" (S02E13): Dom defends April against the FBI, and Daniel has been fired. But, he's still particularly interested in the safety of April and Lucy, so when he learns that the guy Paul works for knows April talked to the feds, he whisks them away to a secluded cabin. [I would be really wary of Daniel if I was April!] April presents herself to Daniel, and the next day they learn that both Paul and his boss have been shot. Lucy sees it on TV, and is upset that her mother hid things from her. [geez. this is going to get messy!]

Karen needs to have her blood re-drawn because there's been some contamination with the sample, however the results come back negative for HIV.

The restaurant opens and is a success, but Harry and Greta are over, and he kisses Joss. Joss tells Karen (in whom Savi confided that she still thinks of Harry), then tells Harry they're not friends anymore and not to come to the party. [ouch!] However, unbeknownst to Joss, Scott wants to turn the engagement party into a surprise wedding, which Harry knows about. [nice variety of dresses, veils, and shoes!] Joss agrees to marry him suddenly, but when Harry shows up anyway (with a broken hand, but that's besides the point), Joss leaves Scott at the alter to be with Harry on the beach.
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Friday, August 29, 2014

Fun Friday: "Let It Go," 80s-TV Style

Sometimes I wonder who has time on their hands to find clips and edit them into such things, but then I remember the kinds of things I did when I was 14-15. Granted, the internet was much younger then, but I spent hours upon hours building fan pages for Gummi Bears, Labyrinth, and other popular culture topics I can't even remember anymore. Of course, this was all on one of those AOL Hometown pages that bit the dust back in 2008, but, alongside SimTower, it was what I did for fun, backed up on 3.5" disks.

Digression aside, Jim Cliff has posted a video on YouTube with 60+ clips of 80s television shows spliced together to make out the lyrics to Frozen's "Let it Go." (a song which will, apparently, never actually go away.) It's done pretty well, and I laughed at multiple points, so thought you might get a kick out of it, too.
I'm not going to list all of the series I noticed, but keep an eye out for some greatness like Three's Company, Saved by the Bell, Cheers, ALF, Perfect Strangers, the original Beauty and the Beast, Knight Rider, Who's the Boss, The Cosby Show, The Wonder Years, DuckTales, M*A*S*H, Roseanne, and Dallas. Do you have favorite parts in this mash-up?
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Monday, August 25, 2014

Falling Skies: Closer to the Moon

I spent most of this episode shaking my head, rolling my eyes, and sighing. Next week we'll have a double-whammy to finish off the season, which will also be the end of our regular coverage of this series. I'm beyond the writers taking extreme liberties to make the program more exciting, appeal to a wider demographic, retain viewership by delivering something new, and whatever other justifications have been made to keep this show plugging along. I mean, seriously... it just so happens that Cochise isn't able to make the journey? I don't buy it.
JAMES DITTIGER
Falling Skies "Drawing Straws" (S04E10): Lexi has a nightmare of Ben coming to her to show her the result of what she's done: his hands have been severely damaged. [random!] She learns to defy gravity, then finds out that she's progressing so well that the Espheni are planning to use her to kill. She winds up killing her Espheni "father." [but her uncle is still out there!]

Matt has entered his teenager rebellious phase, and, as a result, doesn't listen to Tom aboard the Espheni ship. [not impressed.] As Cochise can't go on the trip, Tom assumes he'll be saving the day, but others want the opportunity to be a hero and demand a random draw. [why let Tom pick the papers??] Ben and Tom win the honors, and Anne wonders if Tom rigged it. [plus, Ben was foreshadowed to be on this mission...] He admits to doing so, and encourages his sons to make up before the mission. Except, when Hal goes to accept Ben's apology, he finds his brother making out with Maggie... again. [ugh!] The two blame it on the spikes, but it's not really believed. Just as the two Mason men are about to launch, there's a series of explosions and Lexi returns. [WHERE in the world is this drama going??!?]
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