Wednesday, March 31, 2010

20 Years of Turtle Power

The Heroes in the Half-Shell are almost old enough to drink! "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie" is celebrating its 20th anniversary this week. It's hard to believe that 20 years have gone by since our favorite turtles and a friendly rat appeared on the silver screen. The success of the movie was due to the growing popularity of the TV cartoon back in the early 90's. I still have episodes of the cartoon series on tape somewhere. I also have not one, but two copies of the movie (ON VHS OF COURSE).

When I was growing up, the "Turtles" were "IT" for young boys. You could venture to tons of schools across the country and find Turtle shirts, hats, lunch boxes, pencils, and even pajamas. I can still remember a kid in my kindergarten class wearing his Leonardo pajamas to school one day. It was enough to make Superman himself jealous. I can remember showing up with my Superman pj's and cape, and wishing my mom had gotten me a Michaelangelo outfit instead.

Media marketing has evolved today thanks to popularity of shows/movies like "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" back in the late 80's and early 90's. We've even seen the turtles themselves evolve with a new spin on the cartoon, video game, and a new live-action movie planned.

I will be in line to check out the latest installment of the "Turtles." If anything, it will give me a chance to take my nieces to something that was popular when I was their age. Thanks, "Ninja Turtles," for making my childhood "AWESOME." I still wish I had that pair of pajamas.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Why I Watch "Lost"

USA Today's TV critic, Robert Bianco, wrote an excellent essay about the intricacies of ABC's "Lost." Much of what he had to say in this article are why I watch the show, which comes to an end in May. For those of you who haven't yet seen it, I encourage you to start from Season 1 (available now on blu-ray or DVD) and plow right on through those episodes. If you have been watching the show, don't forget a brand new episode tonight at 8p.m. C.S.T.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

"At The Movies" Cancelled

Well, I guess it had to happen sometime, the long running movie review program "At The Movies" has been cancelled.
As you'll see from the article in the above link, the show was made popular by the late Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, who continues to churn out regular film reviews of his own. I had watched it since its early days (before it was called "At The Movies,") and it inspired me to be a movie critic in college. That was where I launched "The Screening Room," which aired weekly on the college TV station.
That venue allowed me access to people like Today Show movie critic Gene Shalit, with whom I once spoke on the telephone.  I also wrote to Roger Ebert, got his autograph and some advice about movie reviews. I later became Facebook friends with another of the show's hosts, movie critic Richard Roeper.
There are many places you can now go to get reviews of movies, but the real trend setters are becoming few and far between. Not too long ago, "Variety" dismissed its longtime film critic, and with the popularity of blogs and other forms of social networking websites, it's easy to follow the notion that, really, the only true opinion of a movie that really matters is your own.
Although, I still believe it's good to sample what critics have to say about a new film. You can do that a lot easier now by going to sites like and others.
In any case, "At The Movies" was a groundbreaking show, and it will be missed.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

"Butch Cassidy" Sequel... Huh?!?

So, I'm sifting through some entertainment news when I come across this headline from

'Butch Cassidy' sequel filming
 in Bolivia with no 'Kid'
Here's the gist of the story from the Associated Press:


LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — The 1969 movie classic Butch Cassidy and 
The Sundance Kid ends with neither of the famous outlaws appearing
to survive a 1908 shootout with Bolivian soldiers.
But Butch at least will ride again in a film entitled Blackthorn that
begins shooting in Bolivia next month.
American actor and playwright Sam Shepard plays the real-life Robert LeRoy
Parker, who led the Hole in the Wall Gang.
Cesar Perez is the director of Bolivia's national cinema council.
He said Tuesday that Spaniard Mateo Gil
is directing the story of Cassidy's attempt to return to the United States.
Gil is known for his screenplay of The Sea Inside.
The new film plot has Cassidy feeling compelled to commit just one
 more robbery before he can retire.

Ok, time to insert my opinion here. Is this movie really necessary??
 Paul Newman and Robert Redford did such a wonderful
job with the original that, to me anyway, it seemed complete. 
The story was, in effect, told. Done, finis, kaput.
I have a lot of faith in Sam Shepard, so the only thing I can say is "we'll see." 
But, I think the best thing anyone can do is just go back and rewatch the original. 
It still stands the test of time.

Don't forget to check out this week's podcast on the right hand side
 of the page under "blogtalkradio"--this week, we cover everything from
 a new Captain America to Conan O'Brien's North American tour.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Oscar "Thank You" Cam

Enjoy this year's Academy Awards? The show had its moments, and you might have heard a mention or two of the backstage "Thank You" camera for Oscar winners to thank people they didn't have time to during their brief televised acceptance speech. It was something new this year, and you can watch all of the nominees thanking various people by clicking here.
Don't forget to check out our weekly PopSnap! Podcast by clicking on "blogtalkradio" on the right hand side of the blog.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

PopSnap! 2010 Oscar Picks

It's that time of year again. Oscar time! So, grab yourself a Barley Pop--if you're A Single Man, get an Avatar, take your Crazy Heart, and go Up to The Hurt Locker to take a look at our predictions for the winners of top prizes this year.
Before we get to the picks, in many ways this has been an easy year for Oscar, with favorites certain to win in many categories. But you never know what or who might pull an upset.
Here are our selections for the golden statue this year:

Best Supporting Actress:
We were united on this one. Grant, Katie, and I all selected Mo'Nique for her performance in the film "Precious." This would be her first Academy Award. Although my heart still goes out to Vera Farmiga for her work in "Up In The Air."

Best Supporting Actor:
Another unanimous decision, and a pretty easy choice here. We all chose Christoph Waltz for "Inglorious Basterds." He's already received the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards for this one.

Best Actress:
Another great list of nominees:

Katie says she's pulling for Sandra Bullock in "The Blind Side," but also feels like Gabourey Sadibe from "Precious" could win.
Grant's pick: Sandra Bullock.
My pick: Meryl Streep for "Julie & Julia," a charming, mesmerizing performance in my opinion.

Best Actor:
We all chose Jeff Bridges for his fine work in "Crazy Heart." Such a true to life portrayal of a broken man on a search for redemption, and some wonderful music featured here.

Best Director:
Many people say it all comes down to Kathryn Bigelow for "The Hurt Locker," and her ex, James Cameron for "Avatar."

Katie's pick: James Cameron.
Grant's pick: Kathryn Bigelow.
My pick: Kathryn Bigelow.

Overlooked director nominee: Jason Reitman for "Up In The Air."

Best Picture:
For the first time in many years, there are 10 Best Picture nominees this year.
Katie's pick: "The Blind Side"
Grant's pick: "Avatar"
My pick: "The Blind Side"

Congratulations to all of the nominees. Tune in Sunday night on ABC to watch co-hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, and find out who will take home the coveted statuette!

Be sure to listen to our Podcast on blogtalkradio for more discussion on this year's nominees. You'll find it on the right hand side of the page. We'll recap the show, and the winners next week.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Lights, Camera, Action Figures

Action figures make a young boy's world go round. They can come in all colors, shapes, and sizes. A lot of my childhood was spent playing with Power Rangers on the stairs, swimming with Ninja Turtles, and even blowing up a few G.I. Joe's (Sorry guys...nothing personal). One of the best gifts I received for Christmas was an entire "Jurassic Park" set (complete with Velociraptor and Dr. Grant). You can find out a lot about a movie just by looking at the toys.

In the modern world we live in, every little detail about a popular movie is almost guaranteed to be blown out of proportion. From casting notes to cameos, you can find it all online. A toy franchise can be a big marketing campaign for a movie if it's done correctly. Recently, "Iron Man 2" released their lineup of toys to match one of this year's most anticipated movies. These figures are a sneak peek at what some of our favorite characters/villains/vehicles COULD look like on the silver screen. Being an 8-year-old boy once, every time these new figures are released I have to check them out! I remember getting my first glimpse of what Two Face would look like in "The Dark Knight" by checking out the toy. More recently, I laughed at the makeup of Cobra Commander from the "G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra" line.

These toys play a somewhat spoiler role in some of our favorite films. In case you were wondering, I have no plans to release any of the details I learned about "Iron Man 2." So if you're looking for spoilers in this article, you may want to try someone else's toy box. The verdict on Tony Stark and the gang is still up in the air thanks to a smart marketing campaign. I just find it fascinating that some of the biggest movies can use these tiny little figures to their advantage. Character descriptions, costume designs, and plot details can all be found by looking in your local toy store. Marketing is everything. Neat looking toys can excite your fan base and mundane toys can anger it. In a world where story lines are hunted for all over the internet...sometimes it just takes a glimpse at an action figure to solve the big mystery.

In case you are wondering....Yes, I still have PLENTY of my old action figures stored away at home. I must say, toy makers can try all they want, but they will never top my "Ghostbusters" and "Jurassic Park" set. :)