Movies


Movies&television22 Oct 2015 11:50 am

One could argue that the success of the What’s in the Bible DVD series paved the way for The Muppets to return to pop culture prominence in the last five years. It would be a short argument, but one could try. However, despite a lack of formal relationship between the two, the timing doesn’t hurt.

GALAXY BUCK: MISSION TO SECTOR 9

Phil Vischer, a creative kid-at-heart, continues to produce wholesome, thoughtful, and whimsical entertainment for the family to enjoy. galaxybuckHe did it through VeggieTales, 3-2-1 Penguins, and the aforementioned What’s in the Bible series. Now, Vischer casts his latest lead, Buck Denver, as an average guy with an above average calling: Save the Galaxy. And this time it’s personal. (More on that in a bit).

First, the details. Buck answers phone calls for Pastor Paul and dreams of impacting the world in a big way. Bigger than making sure channel subscribers receive their free tote bag. Buck is easily relatable since every job has its share of doldrums and everyone wants to achieve greatness and leave our mark on the world. This leaves us in an internal struggle between chasing our dreams and chasing after God. The two goals are not always in conflict, but the key is remembering who deserves the honor and glory. Buck’s journey in the story helps him confront this head on as he travels to the farthest reaches of the galaxy and the deepest corners of his heart and soul.
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Movies&television&videos04 Dec 2014 11:14 am

I’ve mentioned at least once or twice that I like VeggieTales. And while the jury is still out on the new Veggies in the House Netflix series, one thing I can count on is the quality of products put out by the creator of Bob and Larry – and the voice of many vegetables among other characters. Case in point: What’s in the Bible, Phil Vischer’s latest project.

Imagine if you will, a variety show of sorts that strives to discuss the Bible – book-by-book – in a way that engages and entertains children. This series is even better than that. (You need a better imagination – just kidding, calm down). Puppets, animation, songs, speaking, and more characters than you can shake a stick at make this a show that’s quite fun to watch. Beyond that, it’s chock full of informative and interesting content that will actually enrich the lives of the viewer, be it a child or adult (for example, me).
Volume ten kicks off the New Testament and I simply love the general thought presented here that the Old Testament is a story without an ending and the New Testament is a story without a beginning, but when they’re taken together, it’s a wonderful and amazingly complete picture. Such a nice thought.

Now, my kids still show interest in this series even though they are probably out of the target audience, so I’d say it’s most appropriate for 10 and under, will hold the attention of maybe 14 and under, but will benefit all – even the barely paying attention overhearers. So, if you haven’t checked this series out and you have anyone near the target audience, do check it out. It looks like a lot of them are on sale right now, too.

peace… love… bdg…

general&Movies07 Oct 2014 02:40 pm

In case you were worrying… you can stop. Christmas is in good hands…

Saving Christmas

peace… love… bdg…

Movies16 Aug 2013 04:31 pm

Hey strangers. I went to see Planes last weekend and wanted to write about it. So, I did. Here it is.

First, the Previews…

Grace Unplugged – Maybe the Katy Perry story?
LEGO Movie – Seems silly and fun enough. The Littles were excited.
Walking with Dinosaurs – meh.
DisneyNature Presents Bears – Very exciting. Littler Boy loves all things bears.
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 – I never saw the first movie, but am completely won over by the puns littering the trailer.
Free Birds – saving turkeys from Thanksgiving. Looks full of funny moments.
Frozen – cute trailer, but still no real indication of what this movie is about. (I think it’s a princess movie.)

Now, on to the show… (non-spoiler section)

Look! Up in the (Buick) Sky(lark)! It’s a T-Bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s… well, yes, it is a plane. A whole bunch of planes.

A segment of a vehicle society. In their very own movie. There’s a hero who races. A lovable sidekick who makes up for a lack of sense with supreme loyalty. An arrogant, cut-throat rival racer. A bitter old mentor with a haunting history who grumbles about all things racing, but finally relents to teach our hero how to race. A forgotten small town that’s hard to find on a map and rarely visited. No, it’s not Cars, I promise. It’s Planes.

So, obviously, I came into this movie expecting a bit of a retread from the Cars movies. I expected similar characters and storylines to match the similar animation marking the franchise. And I expected it to be okay because I assumed it to be a Pixar movie and we all know that Pixar’s trademark storytelling trumps all.

Except the opening short was missing at the beginning. And Luxo Jr. was missing from the opening credits. And suddenly, it dawned on me that all the advertising for this movie referred to it as “DISNEY’S Planes.” And then, I worried. Still thinking it would work out to be a worthwhile movie, I pushed my fears aside and settled in for Disney’s Planes. A little less excited, but, hey, it’s pretty much the same people working on the film. It’s still going to be fine, right? [continue reading this post…]

Bookshelf&Movies&pop culture&television&web29 Nov 2012 10:31 am

Another week, another batch of updates to the old A to Z Media lists. This time, I’m going to avoid any changes to the music list as last week’s shake up was pretty significant. Instead, I’ll be focusing on the other lists and we’ll see where it takes us. For the sake of a reminder, this isn’t intended to be a thorough examination or evaluation of the items on this list, just a high level overview of why I’m drawn to it at this particular point in time. It is, for all intents and purposes just me being a captive of the moment and picking one piece of pop culture for each letter in each general category. And since there’s no reason to beat around the bush any longer, we’ll just dive right in with changes to the TV list. (NOTE: Sorry for the delay on this. I had another couple projects jump in my way yesterday. NFL picks are still on track for later today.)

TELEVISION

A is for Arrow (replacing: Alcatraz). Sorry, Hurley. I thought your show had a shot, but I guess not. Arrow, however, offers vindictive revenge, highly choreographed action sequences, and intrigue by the buckets. That’s all based on the pilot, of course. I’ll be catching up completely on the show, which is about 7 episodes in, shortly, but I’m expecting good to greatness. Just have to ignore all the shirtlessness.

E is for ESPN’s 30 for 30 (replacing: ESPN’s First Take). This is going to extend to a number of sports-related documentaries, including the NFL Network’s A Football Life and other ESPN productions. (I just finished re-watching “The Bronx Is Burning” and enjoyed it thoroughly.) I really appreciate the ability to put better context around some of the definitive moments in sports and history.
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Movies&pop culture16 Aug 2012 11:08 pm

Previously at theTRu… I began this quest to identify my favorite pieces of pop culture from each of the five disciplines. Basically, I’ve been spotlighting items from the worlds of Television, Music, Online (Digital), Movies, and Books, by assigning them a letter of the alphabet, like a strange variation of the game, Scattergories. These are not intended to be in-depth reviews or examinations, just a high-level spotlight.

So far, we’ve covered TV, Online, and Music. You can find links to each of those posts in an A to Z Pop Culture Media List list. (There’s also a schedule in there so you know when to expect the rest of the posts.) We’ll be wrapping up next week, but today, we’ll finish up with Movies, from R to Z.

R is for “The Rock.” Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is the acting equivalent of bacon. Every movie is better if you add The Rock. He’s a versatile actor with enough charisma to carry him in every role. Plus, he revitalized the Fast and Furious franchise and it looks like he’ll save GI Joe, too. I don’t know what it is, but he picks his roles well.
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Movies&pop culture14 Aug 2012 11:18 pm

So, last month, I began this quest to identify my favorite pieces of pop culture from each of the five disciplines (I just made that phrase up). Basically, I’ve been going from spotlighting items from the worlds of Television, Music, Online (Digital), Movies, and Books, by assigning them a letter of the alphabet, like a strange variation of the game, Scattergories. (It seemed like a good idea at the time.) Once these lists are complete, I can easily manipulate them later on by swapping out the old for new items that steal my attention.

So far, we’ve covered TV, Online, and Music. You can find links to each of those posts in an A to Z Pop Culture Media List list, because I grew weary of retyping the links at the beginning of each post. I also put a schedule in there so you know when to expect the rest of the posts. We’ll be wrapping up next week, but today, we begin the world of Movies, from A to H.

A is for Avengers. I didn’t grow up reading comic books or poring over the latest superhero exploits. In fact, I was only marginally aware that the comic book world extended much beyond the Justice League cartoons (Superman, Batman & Robin, Wonder Woman, etc.). But Avengers, the movie – and the movies leading up to it – is one of the best movies I’ve seen in years. The writing is phenomenal and the action is great despite some predictability.
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Bookshelf&Movies&MUSIC&pop culture&television&web14 Aug 2012 10:52 pm

In an effort to make it easier to find all of these lists and explanations, I’m compiling all the links here in one post, which will update with each new piece. If you’re late to the game, this is essentially, an alphabetical list of my favorite pieces of pop culture. I’ve assigned one item per letter, similar to Scattergories (if anyone plays that still). They’re further broken into the five elements of media.

Television…
Part 1: A to F (7/25/2012)
Part 2: G to P (7/29/2012)
Part 3: Q to Z (7/31/2012)

Online…
Part 1: A to H (8/2/2012)
Part 2: I to Q (8/5/2012)
Part 3: R to Z (8/7/2012)

Music…
Part 1: A to H (8/9/2012)
Part 2: I to Q (8/10/2012)
Part 3: R to Z (8/13/2012)

Movies…
Part 1: A to H (8/15/2012)
Part 2: I to Q (8/16/2012)
Part 3: R to Z (8/17/2012)

Books…
Part 1: A to H (8/20/2012)
Part 2: I to Q (8/21/2012)
Part 3: R to Z (8/22/2012)

peace… love… bdg…

Movies&MP&MUSIC&pop culture&television&web15 Jul 2010 11:30 pm

So this week’s mashed potatoes represents something of a renaissance for me in that i’m discussing media that has reminded me why i like each of these delivery vehicles… a movie that was absolutely engrossing and struck an emotional chord… an album that reminds me why music is so powerful… a television show that hits on every level… a book that is inspiring (not in the way you might think)… and last, but not least, a series of commercials – yes, commercials – that gave me at least an hour of entertainment, but represented so much more…

well, what are we waiting for? off we go…

MOVIES: Toy Story 3

Pixar is simply untouchable when it comes to telling stories that resonate with everybody… Toy Story 3 culminates a trio of films that not only bring toys to life, but spurs the imagination of anyone paying attention… these toys find themselves dealing with struggles common to the aging process… we grow old, we search for our identity, we worry about our purpose, and – as represented in this last movie – we come to grips with our mortality…

the gang finds that Andy, their once-faithful owner has grown up and is headed to college… since college kids generally don’t play with Mr. Potato Head and other toys – okay, most college kids (you know who you are) – the gang finds themselves wondering if they’re headed for the trash can or the attic… turns out, they end up with option C, a day care center (a.k.a. retirement home?)… but even that isn’t what it seems and the action begins when Buzz, Jessie, and crew decide they need to escape…

Toy Story 3 is packed with action, filled with the unexpected, and certain to make you fight back a few tears… it’s simply amazing how much emotion can be conveyed through the eyes of toys, how many lessons can be learned about friendship and forgiveness, life and death… one more winner from Pixar…

MUSIC: Wicked Soundtrack

i know, i know… i’m so very late in jumping on this train…i mean, it’s at least five years old by now, right? (seven actually)… hey, i admit, i slept on it – even though many people told me how great it was and a few years ago it was quite popular… (you’re gonna be pop-u-ooo-lar)… and i’ll even admit that it was Glee that got me to check it out… a combination of their version of Defying Gravity and reminders of how absolutely fantastic Kristin Chenoweth can sing…

The songs range from fun and quirky, to serious and inspirational… listening to the album (on repeat for days) has given me a renewed sense of appreciation for music in general and has made me kick myself over and over for not going to see the show on Broadway… i also want to read the book, which has been on my shelf for a few years now, too… Anyway, it’s definitely worth checking out unless you absolutely can’t stand musicals… Stephen Schwartz has a masterpiece here – not that he needs me to tell him that…

TV: Friday Night Lights

in the world of television, there aren’t many shows with better writing, deeper characters, or more gripping plotlines than Friday Night Lights, which recently returned for season four… at least to NBC… i know that it aired previously on DirecTV’s special channel, but those of us without are getting it all now… and given that the main stars of the series “graduated” last season, it’s been amazing to see how fresh and relevant the show has remained…

yes, the show is about football, but that’s simply the premise behind a series that, um, tackles some incredibly difficult themes… this season has included issues of losing loved ones, abortion, and several other moral dilemmas… Also, the show features the most realistic, genuine, and compelling married couple in Coach and Tami Taylor… they argue and fight, but always recognize their love for each other… without giving anything away, the show has proven itself time and time again and this season has provided some of the most powerful moments on screen…

BOOKS: Devil in the White City

Erik Larson has crafted a history book that would’ve made me pay attention in history class growing up… the time is the 1890s and Chicago is on the verge of hosting the World’s Fair… the book, which features some of the finest bit of writing that i’ve read in a while – it’s eloquent and exquisite, describing the scenes in the most compelling ways – explains all the efforts necessary to pull off this enormous event… the fair was the birthplace for many things – Juicy Fruit gum, electrical lighting using alternating current technology, the Ferris wheel, and, oh yeah, American serial killers…

in the shadows of the White City, H.H. Holmes, America’s first serial killer, set up shop and conducted his dark and devious trade, leaving a body count of at least twenty-seven… Larson juxtaposes these two scenes, brilliantly interweaving storylines in a novel-like presentation that makes it seem somewhat difficult to fathom – much less believe… but true as it is, and dark as it may be, it’s definitely a gripping and chilling tale from the turn of the century… certainly America would never be the same again… i still have about 100 pages to go and i am still captivated by each page… and i just can’t get over how well it’s written… would that i could write like that in my own way…

MORE: Old Spice Commercials

seriously, Old Spice commercials… i can’t say that i was sold on the original airing of the “I’m on a horse” commercial… it did grow on me in a strange and unexplanable way, but even then i thought it was just the sheer idiocy of it all… with the follow up launching a couple weeks ago, the ad team apparently felt that they could do even more… so, for the last two days, the copy writers, camera crews, and social media gurus, basically took over the internet, launching a real-time, interactive campaign that found Old Spice Man answering tweets and comments with customized video spots throughout the day… reportedly, the team produced just shy of 200 videos over the course of two days and garnered an audience of around 6 million viewers… and these, my friends, were almost all comic genius…

i can’t recall a time that i was more okay with a shirtless dude talking at me for hours on end… that he stayed in character and that the writing team was churning out scripts and the video team getting them produced in an estimated rate of seven minutes per spot is simply astounding… unbelievable impact and respect earned, though i’m not sure if it was more for the ad team or Old Spice… either way, some of these are great… (My favorites so far, include @Haley (his daughter), @Demi Moore, and @GStephanopoulos)… the good news is that this success will probably change the way people advertise… other companies will surely launch similar campaigns… the bad news: other companies will surely launch similar campaigns… and they probably won’t be nearly as funny… well done Old Spice and Old Spice Man… and i mean that sincerely…

peace… love… bdg…

americanidol&Movies&pop culture&television10 Mar 2010 11:32 pm

Alrighty folks, it’s time for the guys to dig their heels in and try to hit the right notes… eight becomes six tomorrow and tonight’s the night to shine or burn out… for kicks, i’ll go ahead and make some “pre-game” picks and, sight unseen (and sound unheard) i’m gonna say goodbye to Tim and Toderick… though, i’d like to say goodbye to Lee and Aaron… okay, i’m about ready to start this up, we’ve got enough of a buffer i think to skip through all the obnoxious commercials and just watch the show…

I’M FULL, I ALREADY EIGHT…

now playing: Tonight, Tonight, Tonight – Genesis

Lee “Da Wise Guy”… singing an Owl City track, Fireflies… i think i’ve been utterly schooled on Owl City enough to no longer be a fan of the song or the band… (thanks “Twitterati”)… okay, well, after hearing this rendition, i think i would be inclined to like Owl City or at least appreciate them again… my gosh, there is a melody in there somewhere… his vocal absolutely SUCKS… but the judges loves him, he’s their precious… 2 out of 10 for me… Randy says he worked it out, despite some (SOME????) pitch problems… Ellen says he’s adorable and she liked the rock edge to it… Kara says that he made the song better than the original… very solid… Simon says that there’s nothing to rave about and starts talking about having a moment… (is ‘e ‘avin’ a laugh?)… i really, really don’t get the love for this guy… he sounds like crap…

Alex “THE MULLET”… singing Trouble… and standing in the center of stage like a soldier who’s been ordered not to move… he’s playing the guitar and playing the ladies with his batted eyelashes and biting his lip… what can i say? dude has some serious chops and he’s going to keep getting better each week… not much energy, but incredibly solid performance… Randy says that he wasn’t wow’ed by it and he could’ve sped it up a bit… Ellen says he’s a mushy banana and that he’s ripening quickly (a.k.a. getting better each week)… Kara says that he’s the only thing holding him back… he’s too stiff… Simon agrees that he’s too focused on delivering the performance and loosen up… imagine Randy in a bikini…

Tim Urban… why on earth would ANYONE sing this song on American Idol?… i think it was Kevin Max who told me that no one should ever cover this song period… but seriously, on stage in front of millions with the gong of non-voters waiting in the wings… not a good idea… and, while he didn’t ruin it – he held his tone rather nicely – but he turned it a little too poppy for me… at least he didn’t try to do too much with it… he stayed well within his range… Randy says good job… Ellen runs on stage and gives him a hug… FANTASTIC!… Kara says he’s in it (he’s stunned)… Simon takes credit and tells him that it was his best performance of the contest… then the judges all fight over credit…

Andrew Garcia… singing X-tina’s Genie in a Bottle… which he just learned this week… and he’s taking a decidedly “Travis” take on it… this is pretty much what the judges have been begging him for ever since he did Straight Up… i just have to wonder if they’re not going to be careful what they wish for in the future… it’s a bit flat and formulaic… like, hey, i’ve got this program that turns pop songs into acoustic little ditties and since it worked for Paula, it’s gonna work for X-tina… well, yeah, kind of boring… Randy says it didn’t quite work for him… Ellen liked it… Kara says it just wasn’t great… Simon says it was a little bit desperate…

now playing: Hanging By a Moment – Lifehouse

Casey “Sawyer” James… MAN! Iron Man 2 looks GOOOOOOOD!… speaking of looking good… Casey’s biggest asset is his looks… tonight, he’s singing You’ll Think of Me by Keith Urban… going country… and you have to wonder if this is really who he is… and if so, why has it taken this long to show these colors… man, his vocal is really good on this though… kind of a cross between Rob Thomas and Adam Duritz (Counting Crows)… i like it… it’s totally goodonya, Casey… Randy says it was too safe… Ellen says she liked it and he likes to sit down… Kara says she’s getting back on the train… step in the right direction… Simon says it was his second best, but not entirely memorable…

Aaron Kelly… more country… singing Lonestar’s I’m Already There… or should i say butchering… he’s already done for me… he’s still looking for the right key… i’m guessing that he’s not going to find it… he’s also apparently looking for the rhythm to sway to… that’s not working out too well either… i’m totally getting deja vu with this performance… what other young kid has taken on a song like this and ruined it?… i don’t like this at all, but he’s a favorite too… Randy says, job well done, this kid can sing, WHAT?… Ellen says he’s real and confident, but it was maybe too much of a song for him… not terrific… Kara says she loves him… but there was no connection… Simon says that’s rubbish, it was the right type of song and it had plenty of emotion… it was a nice song… i think he’s a dork…

Toderick “NUTCRACKER”… oh boy… singing Queen’s Somebody to Love… this can go well or horrible… i’m gonna hope for the former… he’s got some pipes… well, this is an interesting arrangement… i’m usually pretty lenient and i think that this might grow on me, but there’s no time for that in a competition like this, so, i have to say that it was an absolutely foolish decision on Toderick’s part… he’s killing it vocally, but i’m not sure he’s selling it well enough… i liked it, but i’m torn… Randy says he’s back!… Ellen says it was Gospel-esque and it worked… Kara says it was good, but laughable at times because it was fraught with such drama… Simon says that it was like broadway, but way better than [those other guys who were] just sitting on a stool with a guitar…

BIG MIKE… Ryan’s doppelganger… riiiight… This Woman’s Work… not sure i know this song… that’s some high notes though… oh, really, this is from RENT or FAME or something, right?… no?… i don’t know… it’s alright and the vocal is on point, but it’s kind of a boring song to close out the night, isn’t it?… he did a really good job with it though… Randy says WHAT? REALLY? THAT WAS HOT!… Ellen thinks he’s the one to beat now… Kara breaks down into a blubbering, tearful mess because it was so beautiful… Simon says that it was the best performance of any of these live shows…

AND THAT’S ALL HE WROTE…

now playing: Home – Michael Buble

okay, so, that makes things slightly difficult… Tim seemed to gain some traction with that performance… but his only hope is to steal away baby Aaron’s fanbase away from him… and the judges seemed to be doing their darndest to overcompensate for all of the bad performances… this kind of puts Andrew in jeopardy… because they were actually honest with him… so, let’s see… i think Toderick is still in trouble… and i’ll go on a limb (for now) and say that Aaron is too… so, Toderick and Aaron… that’s my immediate pick… what say you?

peace… love… bdg…

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