Friday, December 18, 2009

A Christmas Treasure

Call it a Christmas tradition. Every year about this time, I always like to watch my copy of "It's A Wonderful Life."
Some people have called it too sappy, too corny, too...whatever. But this Jimmy Stewart classic is a rare treasure.
The Frank Capra directed film stars Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, and features a whole host of wonderful character actors you'll immediately recognize, and the story will tug at your heartstrings.
For me, the film is better than any filmed version of "A Christmas Carol." It has, essentially, the same central message. Don't take anything for granted, and live life to the fullest.
If you haven't seen it in a while, I strongly encourage you to make it a point to see it again this Christmas season. And if you've never seen it, what are you waiting for?? I can guarantee you won't be disappointed, and I'd also be willing to bet that you would even get a little misty eyed more than once.
Merry Christmas, everyone, and I want to echo Grant's sentiments in the previous post, we really do appreciate our readers, and podcast listeners. Thanks for taking time out to read our posts and listen to our podcasts. By the way, this week on the podcast we've got some great stuff just in time for Christmas, so be sure to check it out!


Happy Holidays From PopSnap!

Hey Everyone,

I just wanted to wish you all a happy and safe holiday season. I would like to thank all of you who have visited our blog, checked out our page on facebook, and listened to our podcast this year. It's great to know that there are plenty of people out there interested in pop culture. Jody and I are excited to have PopSnap going and look forward to bigger and better things in 2010! Our final podcast of the year is up and you can listen to it by clicking on the right side of this page or heading on over the facebook it checking it out there. Jody and I talk about all the movies being released over the next few weeks and we take an early look at the Golden Globe Nominees.

Speaking of the holidays -- this is one of the best times of the year! There's plenty of new films being released with awards season coming up. I finally caught "The Blindside" last weekend and it was a real treat. It's on my short list of the best movies of 2009.

Of all the movies being released around the holidays, I'm the most excited about "Up In The Air," starring George Clooney and directed by Jason Reitman. The movie looks like a great mix of comedy with a little food for thought thrown in between.

Don't forget about those stocking stuffers -- some of the most popular movies of the Summer are fresh on DVD and Blu-ray shelves. "The Hangover" is out in stores now. Be sure to check out "(500) Days of Summer" which hits stores next week!

Thanks again for helping us kick off the first year of PopSnap! Be sure to stay on the lookout for pop culture buzz over the holidays!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

"Lost" Season 5 On DVD

Need I say more?
For the "Lost" faithful, the headline is enough. The latest season of the popular, enigmatic ABC program has now made its way to DVD and Blu-Ray, just in time to watch before the final (gasp!) Season 6 premiere on February 2nd.
When last we saw the gang...
(*Warning, brief spoiler material--if you haven't seen Season 5, stop reading now!!)

Ok, you made it past my spoiler alert. I know some people who haven't seen the material, and you know who you are...
Anyway, last season brought us some spectacular images, and new puzzles to solve. We finally met Jacob, and oh, what a tangled web he weaved. The scene on the beach with the Man In Black, as he is affectionately known, is an all time classic.
I remember reading an interview with the two guys who played Jacob and MIB, and they both said they weren't given too much direction on how to play that scene--so there's still quite a bit of mystery there.
For me, Season 5 was my favorite since Season 2 and the revelations about the Hatch.

I just received my copy today, and am looking forward to viewing at least some of it this weekend.
All of this certainly whets fans' appetites for the final season, which ABC has been promoting heavily, although without any new clips--and they're doing a very effective job of it.
So, if you plan to review the latest season, enjoy it, and we'll be talking a lot more about "Lost" as we get closer to that all important Tuesday night in February... Can you feel the excitement?
Here's a Season 5 promo:

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Mr. Monk And The Big Goodbye

It's sad to see a good television show come to an end.
And that's why I felt especially nostalgic while watching the series finale of "Monk" on USA Friday night. On the air for 8 seasons, the program broke the rules of a traditional cop show, blending in just the right amount of comedy along with tight storylines and characters that were a genuine pleasure to watch week after week.
I'm proud to say that from the beginning, this was a show I felt comfortable watching with my parents, and trust me, there are far too few of those left in the vast wasteland of TV.
I had the good fortune to meet Lee Goldberg, who wrote a couple of episodes of the show, and is the man behind the "Monk" books, which are still in print. I asked Lee why there weren't more shows like this one on these days, and his reply was simple. He said, "The show (aims) for an older audience," and it wasn't the demographic most advertisers were after.
That's a real shame, and it ought not to be that way. The show won multiple awards, and star Tony Shalhoub, a fine actor, was showered with acclaim for his portrayal of the obsessive compulsive detective.
He said he simply felt it was time to move on, and I certainly wish him well. He and his fellow cast members did a great job over these 8 seasons.
So, here's what happened: Friday night's episode managed to solve one the show's biggest mysteries: the cold case involving the murder of Adrian Monk's wife, Trudy.
I had long felt that this was an unnecessary subplot to the program, but am glad they managed to wrap it up so neatly, and everyone moved on. Monk wasn't cured of his problems, and his life as a police consultant continued.
The episode's end was a montage of clips from past shows, punctuated by a new song from Randy Newman, "You're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone." And, yes, it was enough to make me shed a tear or two. Indeed, Mr. Monk, you (and the rest of those characters that populate your life) will truly be missed.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Kettle Corn

Kettle Corn is a list of casting notes/news/tidbits going on in the world of pop culture. It's like someone just popped a fresh batch of popcorn -- and the smell is too good to pass up!

Empire is celebrating its 20th anniversary with photos of some of the most iconic characters/films over the last 20 years.

The new Iron Man 2 poster is here! (thanks to Superherohype)

Paul McCartney talks with "USA Today" about writing the original song for "Everybody's Fine."

Tobey Maguire tells "The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien" that "Spider-Man 4" will begin filming soon.

"Lost" Season 5 hits store shelves this Tuesday!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Wonders Of "Fantastic Mr. Fox"

This is one of the topics we'll be talking about on our weekly podcast tonight, so be sure to check it out by going to the link on the right hand side of the page.
Last night, Grant and I got a chance to see the new Wes Anderson film "Fantastic Mr. Fox," based on the story by the great Roald Dahl.
If you're not familiar with his work, perhaps these titles will ring a bell: "Charlie And The Chocolate Factory," and "The Witches" are just two more of the late author's stories.
We're lucky, because Anderson decided to bring this movie to life using a technique that has all but become extinct when it comes to motion pictures. He and his crew put it together using stop motion animation, meaning you take a picture, move the character a tiny bit, take another picture, and so on, until you get something that looks like it's actually moving in front of your eyes.
The results are, well, fantastic, and the behind the scenes work is truly fascinating.
Check out some of the work that went on to make this movie by watching below.

Many "mini documentaries" have been put together on all of the work that went into the project.
As is true with his live action work, Anderson assembled an all star cast for the voices that includes George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Willem Dafoe, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, and others to play Mr. Fox, his family and friends.
Over the last couple of days I watched an interview with Wes Anderson that appeared on Charlie Rose. You can see it on, just search for Wes Anderson.

You might think that this movie is just for kids. Not so. I would recommend it for all ages--it holds up well, and there are plenty of laughs for the whole family. While I don't think it will suit everyone's taste, the visuals alone are enough to keep you asking, "how'd they do that?"
And while it might not be the CGI-fest that "2012" is, Wes Anderson and his team of experts have proven they don't need computer animation or even 3D to make this work, and work well.
He has expressed interest in doing another movie in the same way, and I hope he does in the not too distant future.
If you do miss it on the big screen, be sure to check out "Fantastic Mr. Fox" when it comes to DVD sometime next year.