Tuesday, December 13, 2011

One Culture Junkie's Take on the Best TV Shows of 2011

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Photos via hitflix, fanpop, tvfanatic, thedailybeast.

I’m hesitant to call this a Best-of-2011 TV list, because let's be honest, I don’t watch every show on TV. I’m picky about what I choose to watch and hardly watch half-hour sitcoms so even though I may chuckle at a passing episode of Happy Endings, I much prefer the one-hour intensity of a TV drama. So instead, let’s call this what it is: one culture junkie’s take on the best shows of 2011.

Oh, and SPOILER ALERT.

Friday Night Lights
One of the most realistic (if you pretend season 2 never happened), heartwarming, and artfully written television shows came to an end this year after five seasons of disappointingly low viewership. When Coach Taylor said his final "Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose", I’m not ashamed to admit my stomach was in knots and tears were inevitably streaming. I’ve never been so emotionally attached to a cast of characters before - there will never be a family quite like them. And of course, saying goodbye to Riggins was pretty much heartbreaking.

Revenge
Officially the guilty pleasure show of 2011 and what I consider to be the best new show on network TV. A prime-time soap complete with enough secrets, betrayal and treachery to keep any soap lover content. Takes place in the Hampton’s, where elite socialites and lavish parties provide the backdrop for some very juicy scheming.

Boardwalk Empire
The last three episodes of season two were absolute, jaw-dropping, game-changers. When Angela was taken out, we knew that no one was safe and that it was a definite possibility that the main characters we came to love over the past two seasons could potentially start dropping like flies. As cringe-worthy as the penultimate episode was (incest is really having a moment right now on TV), and even though we knew a showdown of sorts was coming, nothing could prepare us for the torture of having to see Nucky actually put two bullets into the man he pretty much raised. Well, at least we still have Richard Harrow.

Breaking Bad
Hands down, the best hour on television right now, with the most satisfying season finale I’ve seen on TV, maybe ever. Plus, the plot twist in the very last scene was completely unexpected and disturbing. For four seasons, we’ve watched the once-timid, cancer-ridden chemistry teacher evolve into a ruthless criminal capable of unimaginable lows. And I can’t reference this season without at least mentioning the shocking death scene of arguably the creepiest bad guy to ever exist on television - Gustavo Fring, who literally got his face blown off à la Walking Dead.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Review: Fassbender & Mulligan in Shame

Hollywood Reporter
Shame, the NC-17, sex-heavy film from director Steve McQueen stars Michael Fassbender as a New Yorker driven only by his addiction to emotionless sex. His unstable sister (Carey Mulligan) moves in and proceeds to disrupt his sequestered and unraveling world.

Fassbender gives an unnerving and agonizing performance, putting a disturbing face on sexual addiction, from his piercing stares at random conquests to the façade he barely manages to maintain in his professional life. Mulligan was phenomenal as his sister, completely fragile and unhinged, and we get to see her vulnerability and brokenness in one of the most emotionally-charged scenes of the film - Mulligan’s haunting rendition of 'New York, New York'. Hinting but never fully acknowledging an unusual childhood relationship between the two, she says, “We’re not bad people, Brandon. We just come from a bad place”.

Shame was unapologetically explicit, hard, and definitely unsettling. But beautiful. Exquisitely beautiful.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Season 2 of HBO's How to Make it in America - Finally Makin' It

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To give them some credit, the cast and crew of How to Make it in America had some serious hype to live up to from the beginning. A show about a group of guys hustling to 'make it' big, backed by Mark Wahlberg - everyone kind of assumed it'd be like the next Entourage. Of course it wasn't like Entourage at all, and it wasn't very good either. Last season, How to Make it in America suffered from that, 'trying too hard to be hip', problem that's spread across North America like a virus. It was all about being underground, ultra-exclusive and going to the 'coolest' parties, but pretending like it was no big deal.

I've got to hand it to them though, because, this season was a vast improvement. The Rene storyline wasn't as isolated as last year, and they managed to get some pretty alluring guest stars, like Gina Gershon, Joe Pantoliano (Ralphie from The Sopranos!) and even Pharrell. They got rid of characters that no one gave a shit about, like Gingy (sorry Shannyn Sossamon), Rachel's hotelier boyfriend and ex-boss (Martha Plimpton has a better gig anyway, on Raising Hope). Plus, those Neanderthal hipsters are hilarious! Like, hey, I grow my own self-sustaining garden, let's bicycle around Bushwick at night for no reason and do shrooms cuz, well, why the hell not?! Oh, hipsters.

The improvements may be too little, too late though, because the way-too-short season 2's over and there's been no word from HBO on giving the boys (+ Lake Bell) a round 3. Finger's crossed. It's not the greatest show on earth, but I'd hate to see Bryan Greenberg and Victor Rasuk go out without actually 'makin it'.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

From Mean Streets to Hugo: Martin Scorsese's Films by Genre

We may know him as a crime film genius, but Martin Scorsese has made contributions to more genres than you may think. In fact, some of his most memorable and iconic characters aren't even gangsters. Alright, they're definitely not as memorable as, say Tommy DeVito, but still. His latest movie, Hugo, is out now and, perhaps he's following Francis Ford Coppola's lead because it's quite the departure for good-ol' Marty. Yup, the man known the world over for his gritty and violent portrayal of crime, has made a 3D kids movie. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Review: The Descendants

Totalfilm.com
George Clooney, the suave charmer we’ve come to love, does his best to portray a man completely detached from his life and family in this comedy-drama. He hardly knows his daughters and has neglected his wife who now lays comatose after a boating accident. The accident forces him to move from “backup parent”, as he refers to himself, to the only parent, to his two broken and foul-mouthed daughters who are, in fact, quite a handful. When he finds out his wife had been cheating on him and was planning to leave him, he sets out with both daughters and the older one’s stoner-boy friend, to find the guy who was sleeping with his wife.

Playing Clooney’s eldest daughter, Shailene Woodley unexpectedly shines, as an emotionally conflicted and angst-filled teen, who has a hard time letting go of the anger she holds towards her mother, even as she lays dying. And maybe it was all those Hawaiian shirts, the goofy hair, and constant look of desperation, but, I for one, forgot it was swoon-worthy George Clooney on the screen.

The Descendants sits somewhere between a heartbreaking drama and comedy, centered on a family dealing with the loss of a loved one, and the regret, heartache and, ‘could’ve, would’ve, should’ves’ that come along with unexpected death and infidelity. The lesson is that humans are imperfect and families are dysfunctional at best, but that doesn’t have to be the the end of it all, you can try and make up for your mistakes.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Review: Martha Marcy May Marlene

Screenrant.com


Last night I went to a screening for Shame and even though I was 45 minutes early, the screening was obviously way-overbooked and I didn’t get a seat. But since I was there, and I hadn’t yet seen Martha Marcy May Marlene, I thought why not, I’ve already paid for parking. On a side note, this was the first time I watched a movie in the theatre, by myself. Yup, that’s right, I walked right up to the ticket-selling-man, and sheepishly requested, “one for Martha Marcy May Marlene, please”. And his response was, “WOW, the whole thing?”, which left me a bit confused, wondering if that was some sort of remark at my being at a movie all by my lonesome. But apparently what he meant was, ‘no one who’s bought a ticket for this has said the whole name of the film’. It's true - the title is quite a mouthful, and then some.

Martha Marcy May Marlene is a gut-wrenching film about a cult, something that we, as humans seem to be fascinated with. We first meet a twenty-something Martha/Marcy Mae/Marlene (who we all know as the other Olsen sister, Elizabeth Olsen) as she’s making her escape from the cult she has been living at, a place where the men eat first and the ragged women watch on in a sort-of trance, silently awaiting their turn. What we see doesn’t seem blatantly wrong or suspect, but feels weird, like things aren’t as they should be. Martha finds refuge at the home of her sister and her husband and the story cuts back and forth between present and past, as Martha goes in and out her depressive and damaged state, reliving the events of her ‘programming’, the rape she was subjected to, and her terrifying, but captivating ‘leader’ (John Hawkes).

The film was dark, beautifully shot and haunting, with Elizabeth Olsen convincingly and beautifully portraying a damaged and fragile woman coping with a trauma that she may never completely heal from.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Happy 39th Birthday to HBO!

To the people that brought us True Blood, Six Feet Under, and the GREATEST piece of television of all time, The Sopranos... Happy Birthday.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Halloween Mask for Boardwalk Empire's Richard Harrow

vulture.com
Richard Harrow (John Huston) is arguably the best character on TV right now and it looks like the writers at Boardwalk Empire have finally clued in because he's been getting a lot more screen time lately. Now it looks like he's getting his own Halloween costume (even if it is a DIY one) which basically means he's made it. I'm seriously considering doing a last minute switcheroo so I can be Richard Harrow this Halloween. 

Just the like Dexter Ben & Jerry's ice cream and the True Blood sunscreen, this is from illustrator Jon Defreest, designed especially for Vulture. Download your own full-size Richard Harrow masks here and here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Play Truth or Dare with Lip Gallagher from Showtime's Shameless

I'm not going to lie, I have a little bit of a crush on the eldest Gallagher son Lip (Jeremy Allen White). Although it's not so much a crush, as it is an all-encompassing mission to be his partner in petty crime, while trying with all my heart to save his little bad boy soul. Anyway, I digress. Shameless won't be back on TV for a few months (January 8th, to be exact), but while we impatiently wait for everyone's favourite dysfunctional brood to return, take comfort in their latest social media promotional campaign.

Showtime will be putting out a web series featuring Lip, where fans can submit to play Truth or Dare with him through Shameless' Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter pages (Twitter tweeps can submit their truths and dares with the hashtags #liptruth and #lipdare). According to The Hollywood Reporter, the network will then pick 10 finalists and have Lip answer the chosen questions or do the submitted dares for the web series. How very Old Spice of them.



I'm smitten by this social media campaign - it's socially interactive, we get to see more of Lip (who, if you ask me, doesn't get nearly enough screen time), and it gives fans extra and new content between seasons so we don't have to keep watching reruns of season 1 for the third or fourth time... yeah, I've done that.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Heathers - The Original Mean Girls

I recently saw Heathers for the first time - I know, I know, how had I not seen it until now! Starring a pre-klepto Winona Ryder, and a pre-90210 Shannen Doherty, Heathers screams and oozes the essence and style of the (fabulous) 1980s.

Veronica (Winona Ryder) is the only non-Heather member of her exclusive high school clique, and along with her diabolically demented new boyfriend JD (Christian Slater), goes on a violent rampage to bring down the clique from the inside.

Killerfilm.com
With snappy dialogue and memorable one-liners, this cult 80s classic - yes, I said classic! - is one of those really bad films that is so much fun to watch. Heathers satirizes high school life in a pretty unbelievable way, but at the same time, addresses the many every-day issues that teens face - bullying, suicide, homosexuality, and eating disorders. Of course, in no way is Heathers an after-school-special. It's dark and sadistic, while managing to be pretty funny, and the Heathers clique is so bitchy and deliciously evil, they make the cast of Mean Girls look like harmless pussycats.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Actors Recreate Iconic Scorsese Scenes for Harper's Bazaar

Harper's Bazaar has put together a series of photographs that recreate iconic scenes from legendary Martin Scorsese films, recast with today's most intriguing and celebrated actors. Seriously, I couldn't love this more if I tried.


I think we need a Mad Men-Boardwalk Empire crossover of sorts, because I love Joan Halloway (Christina Hendricks) with Richard Harrow (Jack Huston) in this image. Oh to be her in this photo...



































Boardwalk Empire's Michael Pitt and Vincent Piazza make an appearance, as does the Ben Kingsley, unrecognizably playing Robert De Niro's Mickey Conway. Here they are, quite convincingly recreating a scene from (the greatest movie ever, of all-time) Goodfellas. Doesn't Michael Pitt make a dreamy Henry Hill?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Dexter Facebook Promo from The Movie Network

There's an intriguing, new Dexter promo from the folks at The Movie Network, that takes a page right out of HBO's Guide to Creative Social Media Marketing. For my friends south of the border, The Movie Network is the channel that carries Showtime's Dexter in Canada.

This promotional contest gets you to choose between being a suspect, hero or victim, and the application uses your Facebook profile to generate a news story about you. I chose victim, and of course, the story has me being murdered due to my obsession with watching TV. Typical. In case this turns out to be a creepy case of foreshadowing, I'd like to leave my DVD and Blu-ray collection to... on second thought, I think I'll have them buried with me.

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Almost forgot to mention that by participating in this promo, you're entered into a contest for 1 of 10 Dexter-themed prize packs. Not going to lie, it's rewarding enough (for me, anyway) just to be immortalized in print for the (obviously-fake, but nonetheless super-cool) Movie Network Examiner.

The only social media element that's missing is an option to tweet my news article. My only options to spread the word are to, 'like' it on Facebook, without a personalized status update, or to send it as a private message to Facebook friends. But no tweet button. Kind of missing out on a pretty big opportunity there.

Update:
Someone at The Movie Network must have been listening, because a comment-er brought to my attention that as of yesterday, you can now tweet your news article.

Friday, October 7, 2011

As You Wish - Princess Bride Cast Reunites After 25 Years

It's hard to believe it's been 25 years since The Princess Bride came out. "Inconceivable!" 80s cult classic and one of the most quotable movies of all time, it's got romance of epic proportions, effortless comedy from comic geniuses (Billy Crystal included), and cleverly-constructed satire mixed-in to create an almost-perfect movie. To commemorate the 25-year mark, most of the film's cast reunited on 'Good Morning America'.

Do you remember how swoon-worthy Cary Elwes' Westley was back then? Have you noticed that, aside from The Princess Bride, Elwes always seems to play the bad guy?

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And I'm sorry but, were Fred Savage and Mandy Patinkin really too busy to make it? I guess we'll have to wait another 25 years for a reenactment of the classic line, "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Music of Martin Scorsese's Films

Flavorwire has written and posted a phenomenal analysis of the classic rock 'n roll music Scorsese used in his epic films. Taking a look through Scorsese's accomplished filmography, the post highlights memorable scenes from his body of work, and goes through the iconic music that has come to epitomize those groundbreaking scenes. It's a must-read for anyone who calls themselves a Martin Scorsese fan.
"By 1985 I stopped really listening to popular music. But the earlier songs created images in my head. Somehow some of those images and feelings—not all of them—were able to be used in certain pictures. Certain scenes suddenly reminded me of a piece of music that I thought would be perfect for a film." – Martin Scorsese, Conversations with Scorsese (2011)
 
The opening sequence of Mean Streets - Ronettes’ “Be My Baby.”

Friday, September 23, 2011

Soundtrack to the 80s - 'Drive'

With a style that's a cross between Top Gun and Pretty in Pink, the soundtrack for Drive is infused with electronica-inspired pop, and lyrics that literally transport you back to the 80s. This is the soundtrack to have blasting while you're driving around aimlessly on a summer night, windows down, and wind blowing. Not that I do that...or anything...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Review: Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding (TIFF 2011)

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Indiewire.com

A multi-generational family comedy, Peace, Love & Misunderstanding seems perfectly content with being a pretty predictable and lighthearted story with some drama thrown in for good measure. Diane (Catherine Keener) is an uber-conservative Manhattan lawyer, unhappily married and on the cusp of divorce. She decides to take her two children, Zoe (Elizabeth Olsen) - a college girl who loves animals as much as she loves poetry and big words, and Jake (Nat Wolff), an aspiring filmmaker who's obsessed with documenting everything, to visit their grandmother Grace (Jane Fonda), who they've never met. Grace is an eccentric hippie, stuck in the 1970s, with a passion for protesting, new-age healing crystals and of course, weed. It's a bit hard to believe that it's been 20 years since mother and daughter have seen each other, especially since they live in the same state. It's just not believable.

Almost too instantly, Diane's brood starts letting loose, although Diane, more reluctantly so, taking part in all the fun that Woodstock has to offer, including the occasional war protest and full moon ritual. Grace ends up yanking each character out of their tough shell, and somehow arranges a love interest for each of them. Diane falls for a local carpenter, sometimes-musician, and full-time dreamboat (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), Zoe finds herself struggling with her growing attraction to a butcher (Chace Crawford) who naturally has the soul of a poet. Even Jake gets a local girl.

Despite all of the film's formulaic shortcomings, it was hard not to love the cast. Jane Fonda shines in a role that seems tailor-made for her, and she plays it with a spunk and charisma that brought life to every scene she was in. Newcomer Elizabeth Olsen is a pleasure to watch, continuing to live up to her hype as the latest it-girl. We're not talking Oscars here, but still, it was cute.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Best Moments from the 2011 Emmys

The Emmys were on last night, and while the actual show was less than stellar, a few key moments and some well-deserved surprising wins, made it worth watching.

The opening number was way too long. But, once the awkwardness of Jane Lynch singing, wore off, we got to see some great cameos from the casts of The Big Bang Theory, Friday Night LightsEntourage's Ari and Lloyd, and of course, Jane went back to the 60s to visit the set of Mad Men. Take a look:



Most of last night's winners were predictable, like Jon Stewart, Mad Men for Best Drama, and pretty much the entire cast of Modern Family - you know, the usual. But, when Peter Dinklage won Best Supporting Actor in a Drama for his role on Game of Thrones, and Jason Katims was finally recognized by the Academy for the stellar and fantastic writing on Friday Night Lights, we knew it would be an interesting year. And while I have to say that Mrs. Coach (Connie Britton) was robbed, I literally jumped off my couch when Coach Taylor (Kyle Chandler) won Best Actor in a Drama, which he so rightly deserved. Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose!



Highlights from Kyle Chandler's acceptance speech included a, "Gosh, almighty", and him finishing his speech off with his signature laugh! Say it with me, 'That was SO Coach Taylor'.

Last but not least, probably the best act of the evening was a prerecorded The Office spoof, which included Jesse Pinkman (Breaking Bad) visiting Creed at the Scranton branch for a special delivery, and Amy Poehler (speaking Dothraki, might I add), as a new Dunder Mifflin employee!

Full list of last night's Emmy winners.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Review: Twixt (TIFF 2011)

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Screenrant.com
A convoluted murder mystery with teenage vampires and the ghost of Edgar Allan Poe (I'm not joking), there's no doubt that Twixt was overdone and ridiculously silly, but engaging, nonetheless. Twixt tells the story of a mystery writer (Val Kilmer), or, what they describe as the ‘bargain basement Stephen King’, traveling to a small town for a book signing. Experiencing a pretty mean case of writer’s block, he’s convinced by the town sheriff (the AMAZING Bruce Dern from Big Love) to stay in town and collaborate on a story about the unsolved murder of a young girl. One scene in particular stood out and felt the most genuine, with Kilmer's character suffering through his writer's block with lots of booze and crazy talk. But it's probably not a good sign when the best scene in your vampire thriller is one where the main actor is cracking jokes.

I’m not a fan of 3D, in fact I hate it – I think it takes away from the story, adding a layer of distraction that most of the time is unnecessary. Thankfully, Coppola limited his use of 3D to only two scenes, so it didn’t detract too much from the story (but it also didn’t add anything valuable).

With a story like this that didn’t make much sense to begin with, pieced together from a dream Coppola had, Twixt was over-stylized (in colour, black and white, and 3D) and painfully stale. I guess we just expect more depth from a director of Francis Ford Coppola's caliber, especially with his resumé of films, but you have to hand it to him for taking risks in a way most seasoned Directors wouldn't dare.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Review: Jeff, Who Lives At Home (TIFF 2011)

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Jeff (Jason Segel) believes in signs. Like he really believes in them. Everything from an infomercial to flying birds mean something special in Jeff's world. That's why, when someone calls his home in the middle of the day looking for a 'Kevin', he beings his quest to find the Kevin he believes he's destined to follow. While Jeff is a 30-year-old pothead who lives in his mother's (Susan Sarandon) basement, he's kind, sweet and has a naive belief in his convictions that's refreshing to see. On the other hand, his brother Pat (Ed Helms), although married and employed, is a complete asshole, with serious communication issues and no common sense whatsoever.

What starts out as a simple trip to the Home Depot for Jeff, changes course when he and Pat see Pat's wife (Judy Greer) in a car with another man. From then on, their mission is to track and confront her, and their misadventures end up being the most genuinely funny part of the film, with undeniable comedic chemistry between Segel and Helms (playing a meaner version of Andy Bernard).

Parts of the film did feel like they were taking a page right out of an, 'Indie Movies for Dummies' handbook, with what felt like one too many scenes with characters staring into space, music playing in the background. But at the same time, each character is in kind of a rut, lost, and unable to move forward, so maybe all the wordless contemplation was justified.

From the Duplass Brothers (the Directors of last year's Cyrus), Jeff, Who Lives At Home is a unique film about the signs we see and perhaps ignore, and ultimately, the signs that bring all of the characters together. Jason Segel's performance was definitely the highlight - it's always nice to see a typically comedic actor shift into a more dramatic role so seamlessly. You actually like Jeff and wouldn't mind blazing a spliff with him.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Entourage: The End

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Complex.com

Last night marked the end of our favourite HBO bros after eight (sometimes great, sometimes really bad) seasons, but rumours are already swirling that an Entourage movie is in the works. Even though it'll probably be pretty crappy like the Sex and the City movie was, I'd still watch it.

Entourage started off a force to be reckoned with, revolutionizing the now-overdone 'bromance', genre - a show about the lazy lives of a group of friends to an up-and-coming, but reluctant, movie star. Then as the seasons wore on, with one too many celebirty cameos and a whole lot of repetition, it got kind of tired. For its victory lap season of only eight episodes, Entourage managed to go out with a bang, tying up loose ends while returning our characters to who they were in the beginning, the ones that got us watching in the first place, before they got all serious on us.

So here's to the boys from Queens, who had us hugging it out and shouting "Victory!", every chance we got.

Review: Drive (TIFF 2011)

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Tiff.net

A poetically violent and dark, homage to 1980s pop cinema, Drive was filled-to-the-brim with intensely maniacal action and high-speed car chases. Playing a Hollywood stunt driver, moonlighting as a getaway car wheelman, Driver (Ryan Gosling, no, we never find out his character’s real name) manages to stay calm, excruciatingly quiet and completely professional, under the most violent of circumstances. His character is instantly drawn to his neighbour, Irene (Carey Mulligan), and her young son, and he spends the rest of the film possessed with protecting them. The mutual attraction is obvious, and their courtship is innocent and sweet, until we find out she has a convict hubby who's about to be released from prison.

During the Q&A following the screening, Director Nicolas Winding Refn, explained that he wanted to make the first half of Drive like a John Hughes movie and make the second half take a more dark, psychotic turn. So what starts out as a cutesy love story, with a killer Top Gun-reminiscent soundtrack, downward spirals into a crime bender with enough blood and gore to make any horror enthusiast giddy with glee.

The only downside is that we don’t get a chance to go beneath the surface of the characters we’re instantly attracted to. Who is Driver? Where did he come from and what’s he doing in L.A.? I vote for a prequel.

On a side note, the soundtrack was ridiculously amazing. Rehn mentioned that the musical style for Drive evolved while he and Ryan were riding around L.A. one night and REO Speedwagon’s, ‘Can’t Fight This Feeling’, came on the radio. Inspired by euro pop of the early 80s, he managed to add a dash of femininity to a very masculine and bloody film.



With an exceptional cast, including Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks and Christina Hendricks, Drive is a fun and unexpected thrill-ride. I came out feeling a little beat-up, but thoroughly satisfied. In theatres September 16th.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Live-Stream TIFF Press Conferences

In case you're sitting behind your desk at work, slogging away like it's any-old, regular day, instead of out on the streets of Toronto, star-searching and catching TIFF screenings, here's something to cheer you up a bit. CP24 is live-streaming TIFF's press conferences. Hello Brad!

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Roger Ebert, on TIFF

Tiff.net
"We arrived here Wednesday, started seeing films Thursday, are booked up nearly wall-to-wall. This is not only one of the three or four major film festivals on earth, but one of the best-run and user-friendly. Wandering toward screenings, you encounter such as Atom Egoyan and Jason Reitman, directors not here to do business but--what do you know!--to see movies. The public waits dutifully in queues, as if making a silent protest against the shoving matches before screenings at Cannes. The four local dailies (!) cover it like the Washington Post covering a Presidential election." 
                                              Roger Ebert, on TIFF + his Melancholia review.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

HBO Recreates Vintage Subway for Boardwalk Empire Season 2

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gothamist.com
Well, HBO has done it again! Their marketing efforts know no bounds, that's for sure. This time, to promote Boardwalk Empire's season 2 premiere this fall (September 25th), they are completely transforming the New York City subway system! Taking it old school - like really, really old school, HBO is bringing in vintage trains completely decked out Boardwalk Empire-style, so New Yorkers can travel like Nucky Thompson. Buzz marketing at its best.

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gothamist.com
More details from gothamist
Starting on Saturday, September 3rd an authentic vintage 1920’s train will run on the express 2/3 track in Manhattan throughout September (specifically, from 12 to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays). Originally operated by the Interborough Rapid Transit (IRT) system, the train began service back in 1917 and will once again be operational. Customers who have the opportunity to ride the vintage train will be transported back in time to the Prohibition era with authentic details such as rattan seats, ceiling fans and drop sash windows, as well as a custom branded interior featuring Boardwalk Empire-inspired period artwork.
This is SO cool and in the words of Liz Lemon, I want to go to there.

More Buzzworthy TIFF 2011 Films

Twixt
"Inspired by the gothic horror of Edgar Allen Poe, Coppola's latest tells the tale of a burnt-out mystery writer (Val Kilmer) who gets mixed up in murder and evil in a California town." (Tiff.net)
Younger sister to Dakota, Elle Fanning can now brag about having been in two Coppolas' films, how lucky is she?! (she was in Sofia Coppola's Somewhere). This being a contribution from the acclaimed, legendary, Oscar-winning (and Godfather-directing!), Francis Ford Coppola, it's a must-see whether or not you catch it at the Festival.



The Descendants
"George Clooney plays the leader of a storied Hawaiian family as they are forced to decide what to do with their last, vast parcel of land. At the same time he learns a secret about his critically ill wife. From the director of Sideways." (Tiff.net)


Take this Waltz
"Sarah Polley makes a welcome return to directing with her first feature since 2006 Festival favourite Away from Her. Luke Kirby, Seth Rogen, Sarah Silverman and two-time Oscar®-nominee Michelle Williams star in this bittersweet story about a married woman struggling to choose between her husband and a man she's just met." (Tiff.net)
It'll be interesting to see how Seth Rogen takes on this dramatic and not-at-all-comedic role after being Judd Apatow's go-to goofball for so many years.



Melancholia
"Denmark's most celebrated and notorious filmmaker returns with a fantasy/domestic drama about depression, severely dysfunctional families, and the end of the world."
It's kind of sad that anytime anyone mentions this film, all that comes to mind is the controversy Director Lars Von Trier started by making some questionable remarks about Hitler at this year's Cannes Film Festival. But beneath all of that hoopla, looks to be a visually stimulating film about life, family dysfunction, and the end of the world.



Shame
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Tiff.net
"Michael Fassbender plays a New York man confronting his sexual compulsions and the self-destructive acts of his sister (Carey Mulligan). From the director of Hunger." (Tiff.net)
No trailer yet!

Trishna
"Self-effacing British auteur Michael Winterbottom sets his unique spin on Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles against a contemporary Indian backdrop. Freida Pinto stars as the titular Trishna, a young woman who is seduced by the wealthy son of a property developer. As the romance develops, their relationship also becomes increasingly sordid and volatile." (Tiff.net)
Freida Pinto first stole our hearts as the innocent and beautiful heroine in Slumdog Millionaire. With Trishna, we'll get to see if she has what it takes to be more than just a pretty face in a huge ensemble cast.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dexter-Themed Ben & Jerry's Ice-Cream Flavour

From Jon Defreest, the graphic designer who brought us the True Blood-themed sunscreen for vamps, comes this dangerously-delectable Dexter-Themed Ben & Jerry’s Flavour. Someone needs to manufacture and market this right now! I would buy it in a heartbeat and it could sit in my fridge, right next to the bottles of Tru-Blood. Just kidding, we all know this ice cream is much better suited to the dark passengers of the world. Oh, and for the record, I also don't actually have bottles of Tru-Blood in my fridge.
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Vulture.com
The only thing missing is a disclaimer: Body parts ARE included.
Season Premiere of Dexter is at 9pm ET on Sunday, October 2nd.

Friday, August 26, 2011

How to Make It in America Season 2 Un-Cut Trailer

Season 2 of How to Make It in America, premiering October 2nd, is fast approaching, promising lots of Girls, Guns, and Gina Gershon. Hopefully this season they can get past the, "I'm a cool, New York hipster, living my edgy, not-mainstream, life", and actually look like they're having fun living it.


Can't knock the hustle.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fake Ad for True Blood-Themed Vampire Sunscreen

You know how Sookie's faerie blood acts as a temporary sun-repellent for the vamps on True Blood? Somehow, after feeding on Sookie, they're temporarily able walk in the daylight without burning and spontaneously-combusting into a pile of goo. Well, graphic artist John Defreest, has created an ad for a Vampire Grade Sunblock, made with 'real' fairy blood! It's genius, I tell you - genius!

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Vulture.com

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Top Picks for TIFF 2011

I can hardly contain my excitement and anticipation for the Toronto International Film Festival and I may be a bit biased being a Toronto native, but it is definitely one of the best festivals out there, especially for film junkies. In just two weeks, Hollywood's A-list will be flocking in, taking over our theatres, streets and restaurants. And, I couldn't be happier.

Top picks for 2011 TIFF:

Drive
"Ryan Gosling plays a stunt driver by day, getaway driver by night in this lean and mean crime thriller by the director of Valhalla Rising that won Best Direction in Cannes." (Tiff.net) 
Two words: Ryan GoslingIt's no secret that I'd much rather kick back and watch Goodfellas or The Departed for the umpteenth time, than give any attention to some of the derivative action flicks that've been released lately. And, as a proud Canadian (and former fan of The Mickey Mouse Club and Breaker High!), I love me some Ryan Gosling and I truly believe Carey Mulligan is pretty much close to perfection. She has a subtle, yet distinct, on-screen presence that the world fell in love with after her Oscar-nominated role in An Education. Also must mention the stellar supporting cast that includes Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) and the gorgeous Christina Hendricks (Mad Men).




The Ides of March
"George Clooney is back in the director’s chair for this edgy political drama set in the days leading up to a fictional presidential primary. Clooney also stars as a Democratic candidate who schools his idealistic campaign press secretary (Ryan Gosling) in the dubious machinations of modern politics." (Tiff.net)
With the current economic landscape the way it is, Politics are on everyone's mind, so this film couldn't be more relevant. And with this accomplished cast (seriously, let's count the Oscar noms between them all), including Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, and Marisa Tomei, this film could very well be a contender for the next year's Academy Awards.



Like Crazy
"Anna (Felicity Jones) notices Jacob (Anton Yelchin) in one of her college classes in Los Angeles. In a move worthy only of her youth, she scribbles a love poem and leaves it on his car. The pair soon catapults into that most potent brand of romance: naïve, pure and possibly fleeting." (Tiff.net)
I don't know, I've got a thing for coming-of-age 'romantical' stories. Especially ones that look as heart-breaking as Blue Valentine... and that's saying a lot. Either way, I'm taking my tissues just in case. With realistic challenges to their relationship (like immigration, and not feuding, Romeo & Juliet-type families), this film takes an honest look at a long-distance relationship between two college kids. And to add to the realism of this film, apparently the actors improvised their dialogue.



Martha Marcy May Marlene
"This graceful portrait of a young woman trying to extricate herself from a cult has the flavor of an early Terrence Malick film like Days of Heaven." (Tiff.net)
Did you know the Olsen twins had another sister? A younger one, who's an actress and apparently a very good one? Elizabeth Olsen makes her first on-screen appearance as a young woman struggling to return to 'normalcy' after escaping a sexual-religious cult. It looks haunting, a little bit intoxicating, and mysterious - all the things a film about cult-life, should probably look like.


Friends With Kids
"When a few members of a close group of married and single friends start to have children, it has a big impact on everyone." (Tiff.net)
Thought I'd break up the seriousness of my TIFF list with a romantic comedy. Jon Hamm's other half, Jennifer Westfeldt, makes her Directorial debut with a slew of Hollywood stars - Megan Fox, Edward Burns, Kristin Wiig, Maya Rudolph, and of course, Mr. Mad Men himself. Wonder how many of them will show up to TIFF?

Boo... no trailer yet.

Hysteria
"Maggie Gyllenhaal and Hugh Dancy star in this cheeky romantic comedy about the invention of the vibrator. Victorian London is brought to life in vivid colour as a young doctor (Dancy) struggles to establish himself while confronting the gutsy daughter of his boss (Gyllenhaal). Rupert Everett and Felicity Jones play supporting roles." (Tiff.net)
Picture this: the late 1800s, Victorian era, London. The first thing that comes to your mind is vibrator, am I right? Probably not but this does look hella funny and hilariously bold. All of a sudden I've got Marky Mark on my mind. Good vibrations, anyone?...too easy?



Want more TIFF 2011 picks? 
Here are some more buzzworthy films on my festival list.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

25 Greatest Unscripted Scenes in Films

"Leave the gun", is nothing without, "take the cannoli". Just like, "I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti", is incomplete without the chilling and iconic hissing noise Anthony Hopkins makes in The Silence of the Lambs.

This video of the 25 greatest unscripted movie scenes is a great compilation featuring some of the most iconic scenes in film history. Scenes you wouldn't expect, were apparently spur-of-the-moment, authentic improvisations, which might just explain why they made such a significant impact on audiences, and continue to resonate after so many years.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon

Urge Overkill's cover of "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon", just came up on my iPod shuffle - yes, of course I've got the entire Pulp Fiction soundtrack on there. As always, I felt like watching this scene for the millionth time. Just cuz. Tarantino is the master of choosing the best pop songs for his soundtracks and the Pulp Fiction track-list is no exception. Eclectic beyond words, he mixes classic rock and roll, soul, and of course, the surf music that has come to represent Pulp Fiction, to perfection.

The music doesn't act as simply a filler, playing in the background of whatever's happening on-screen. It IS what's happening. Tarantino brings the music to the forefront, seamlessly weaving it with the characters and plot. Somehow it seems natural when characters start dancing and singing along to a track that's playing, at least in Tarantino's world.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Paul Rudd Pitches Marketing Ideas for 'Our Idiot Brother'

Paul Rudd's newest Funny or Die video made an Entertainment Marketing enthusiast like me, swoon just a little bit. Not because it's Paul Rudd (which is in itself a good enough reason to swoon, 'cause he will always be Cher's dreamy ex-step-brother, Josh). But, because he spends 3 or so minutes pitching Marketing ideas to Harvey-freaking-Weinstein, Hollywood producer-extraordinaire, for his newest comedy, Our Idiot Brother. Yup - Paul Rudd pitching Marketing strategy, and off of toilet paper, no less.

If you get one thing out of watching this video (aside from how ridiculously funny Paul Rudd is), it's that, as a Marketing, PR or Advertising professional, you shouldn't be afraid to get creative and think outside the box, even if it means brainstorming through the silliest, out-of-this-world, ideas, to find the one that maximizes exposure and also fits perfectly with your product. Also, never let the 'talent' get involved with the Marketing side of things because obviously their egos can't handle the rejection. (note: see what happened to Oscar?)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Jay-Z & Kanye Release "Otis", but Duckie Did a Better Job

Earlier this week, Jay-Z and Kanye released a track off of their highly anticipated upcoming collaboration, Watch the Throne. An ode to the late, great, intoxicating soul-man, Otis Redding, an artist so talented and beloved that really, he needs no last name. He's Otis. The track is good, featuring some memorable and jarring lines from good-ol Mr. West (I say that sarcastically because although his talent is indisputable, I can't stand the essence that is Kanye: the brand). But really, as I was listening to it, I couldn't stop wishing that Jay-Z and Kanye would just shut up so I could hear the Otis sample underneath their rhymes.

So, for everyone who listened to Jay-Z and Kanye's tribute to Otis, and hoped they'd stop being so rude as to talk over a classic soul track, here is the iconic scene from Pretty in Pink (you know the one...), with  Duckie Dale so perfectly lip-syncing along to Try a Little Tenderness.



"This is a very good tune. My mother used to sing this. This is Otis, I love Otis."
- Duckie Dale (Pretty in Pink)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

TIFF 2011: Toronto International Film Festival List Announced

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TIFF.net

















If feels like just yesterday we were impatiently anticipating the first breeze of the Spring season with the promise of Summer heat. Well, now we're only one month away from TIFF 2011, which in Toronto means Fall, which means one step closer to Winter and the disgusting mounds of snow that come with it... It's bitter sweet, to say the least.

Toronto International Film Festival frenzy kicks off as per usual, starting the second week of September, when stars and fans alike, flock to various theatres and hot spots in Toronto to take in all the festival has to offer.

Early this morning, TIFF organizers announced the initial 50 films for TIFF 2011 and the list couldn't be more impressive and jam-packed with talented Hollywood A-listers. A few of the big films that were announced today: Ryan Gosling's Drive, George Clooney's The Ides of March and The Descendants, and Brad Pitt's Moneyball. The official list is up on the TIFF site, and get a full breakdown on what films are screening as Galas and Special Presentations. And for the first time ever at TIFF, this year's festival will open with a doc, a U2 documentary, From the Sky Down, from Davis Guggenheim.

For a festival that has been a launching pad for Oscar darlings like Juno, Slumdog Millionaire and last year's The King's Speech, I for one, can't wait for September.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Lords of Dogtown - Swooning Over Emile Hirsch

This scene epitomizes why I love Emile Hirsch. He's so bad-ass and this might be the best seduction scene ever seen on film. OK, I may be over-doing it a bit.



Great. Freaking. Movie. I cry every time. Lords of Dogtown perfectly plays out a coming-of-age story about a group of skate-boarding friends, growing up in 1970s Venice Beach. It stays true to the gritty and scrappy surf/skate lifestyle, and it's especially sad seeing Heath Ledger as Skip Engblom, raw and engaging as always. Mostly because he can no longer steal an entire movie like he always seemed to do. This is Director Catherine Hardwicke at her best - she should stick to indies.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Red Band Trailer: Ryan Gosling's 'Drive'

What can I say? I love a good crime film (...not sure what that says about me). It's no secret that I'd much rather kick back and watch Goodfellas or The Departed for the umpteenth time, than give any attention to some of the derivative action flicks that've been released lately. And, as a proud Canadian (and former fan of The Mickey Mouse Club and Breaker High!), I love me some Ryan Gosling (minus his ridiculously-fake Brooklyn accent. Like seriously, buddy, you're from Canada, not New York. Life doesn't have to imitate art ALL the time), and I truly believe Carey Mulligan is pretty much close to perfection. She has a subtle, yet distinct, on-screen presence that the world fell in love with after her breakout (and might I mention, Oscar-nominated) role in An Education. Also must mention the stellar supporting cast that includes Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) and the gorgeous Christina Hendricks (Mad Men).



Ryan plays a Hollywood stunt driver who also moonlights as a getaway-car wheelman. Drive looks gritty, excellently violent, and pretty damn sexy, with heads bashing and guns waving. Seriously, what's wrong with me?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Latest on HBO's Boardwalk Empire & How to Make It in America

PhotobucketGoing out to all the HBO fans and addicts (like yours truly!), here's the latest update on the TV shows we are so desperately waiting for.

In case you haven't seen this yet, here's what we can look forward to for the highly anticipated second season of Boardwalk Empire, premiering in September. Looks like Nucky's in for some competition from surrogate son, Jimmy. Although all I'm hoping for is some more screen time for the intriguing and always-captivating, Richard Harrow (Jack Huston).



Plus, season 2 of How to Make It in America gets a second chance to wow us in October. (October 2nd is what I've read.) I think when this one came out last year, we all thought it'd be like 'the new Entourage', but it's a different show and I'm willing to give it another shot to really give me more than just the stellar cast and breathtaking New York scenery.



Speaking of Entourage, it's a bittersweet ending to a ground-breaking television bro-mance that will be missed. Whatever, it's not like I'm shedding too many tears since Entourage will live on in syndication and get extensive replays in my personal DVD collection, that's for sure. The final season, only 8 episodes, starts this Sunday (July 24th) and things are definitely up in the air. Vince's career, Ari's marriage and it looks like Sloan sent back E's engagement ring.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Review: Bad Teacher - Shut the Front Door!

Who knew Cameron Diaz could be so unlikeable? For someone who easily brightens the screen with her goofy smile, even giving Julia Roberts, a run for her money in My Best Friend's Wedding, she managed to be quite detestable in Bad Teacher.

Bad Teacher
Cameron plays a self-centered, unapologetic, downright-bad, teacher who's main goal is to marry rich. She's flawed, so flawed that you feel guilty for being on her side (even though I was). She cheats, steals, lies, does drugs, treats her students like crap and appears to have very little conscience. Basically, she's evil - and the protagonist can never be evil! Wait, that's not true. The main character can be bad, but by the end of the movie, usually there has to be some sort of redemption to make it right and restore 'happily ever after' balance, at least in a light-hearted comedy like this one. But that doesn't happen here. There's no punishment, and she definitely does not redeem herself.

And I don't know, maybe I'm just as bad a person deep down inside, because I didn't really mind that. I didn't need her to come to a positive realization or make up for her wrong-doings in the end. She got the guy - maybe not the-guy-with-all-the-money, but the guy we knew she'd end up with. Oh, and if you don't walk out of the movie hating Justin Timberlake's character so much that you wished he was in front of you so you could slap him, I'll give you a hundred dollars. Maybe.

Jason Stackhouse is the Best



Jason: "There's werewolves?"
Sookie: "Yes"
Jason: "Shit! Bigfoot? Is he real too?"
Sookie: "I don't know, I guess it's possible."
Jason: "Santa?!"
Sookie: "Jason! Focus."

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Catch Up on Six Seasons of Weeds with Animated Video

PhotobucketThe 7th (it's been that long?!) and perhaps final (although that's not confirmed) season of Weeds kicks off this Monday with Nancy in prison and her long-suffering Botwin brood in far-away Denmark. How will she weasel her way out of this one, you ask? Well, of course, in true Nancy Botwin fashion, she'll get out - pretty obviously - because Prison Break this ain't.

A lot has happened over the past six seasons, and it took something like one rent-a-cop, two husbands (one who happened to be a DEA agent), a scorned (and psychotic) PTA-mom and pissed-off Mexican drug lords, to take down this Baroness of Bud. If you've never tuned into Weeds before, WATCH IT. From the beginning, so you can see the comically dark masterpiece that was the first three seasons.

And if you're already chronically addicted, then this animated summary of the first six seasons will only work to get you more excited for our favourite dysfunctional family's return to TV.

Showtime, I love you for making this video.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Customize your Facebook Profile for Season 4 of True Blood

Trubies, there are only 4 sleeps till the season 4 premiere of True Blood on HBO. And to commemorate the occasion (and garner a little bit of extra buzz and publicity), HBO has found a way to make use of the photostrip on your Facebook profile. I've just customized my Facebook page for this weekend's premiere, and you can too. Haven't seen any other Entertainment brands find a way to utilize the photostrip up until now. And to top if off, it's free advertising for the show, directly from loyal brand ambassadors like me. So if you're my Facebook friend and you didn't know about this weekend's premiere (cuz you're hiding under a rock or a total loser, or something...), well now you do.

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CW's Ringer & Hart of Dixie - Premiere Dates

I may be kind of a cable TV snob, but I've never hidden my sometimes-love for a choice few CW shows. I loved every minute of the teenage drama provided by Dawson's Creek, guilty-pleasured my way through The OC and One Tree Hill (seasons 1 to 5 ONLY, of course), and always crave my weekly fix of The Vampire Diaries. And even in the age of the very-bad and unnecessary remake of 90210 (how dare they), and the millionth season of America's Next Top Model, I don't mind highlighting two new shows coming to the CW this fall.

Ringer (Tuesday, Sept. 13th at 9pm)
Sarah Michelle-freaking-Gellar, times two?! Need I say more? It's Buffy, she deserves at least a chance since we've waited so long for her return to the small-screen. Plus, the trailer is intriguing and you can't really see where this story is going, so there's a reason to keep watching.



Hard of Dixie (Monday, Sept. 26th at 9 pm)
Rachel Bilson is returning to TV after stealing The OC right from under Mischa Barton and her crappy acting. She may always and forever be Summer Roberts but at least she's trying something new. OK, so the premise is overdone. A fish out of water story about a city gal who moves to the country, meets some hot boys - one in particular is Jason Street (Scott Porter) from Friday Night Lights (one of the greatest network TV shows ever)! He may not be Tim Riggins but he IS an FNL alum and that's enough for me.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Interactive True Blood Teaser on Facebook

Taking a page from the Old Spice marketing handbook, True Blood has once again made me remember why I love the show, not just for putting out the sexiest, most addictive hour of television, but because it's a brand that really knows who their customers are, and what we want from them.

True Blood fans want more, (and more and more and more), between seasons and especially in the few weeks leading up to a new season. Teasing us beyond belief, every clip, every poster, every video, is aimed at reminding fans why they fell in love with True Blood in the first place, whetting our appetites and making us hungry for more.

This time they've created an interactive teaser on their Facebook page. After (and only after) you 'like' the page, you can create a personalized video featuring you, Facebook friends you choose, and the supporting characters you know and love from Bons Temps. And I'm not going to lie, my heart skipped a beat when Eric sent me a pretend-instant-message in the vid. I know it's not real life but they were able to create a very personal and innovative experience for fans to be part of their supernatural world, even if just virtually.


If anything, it's something for Trubies (for non-fans, Trubies are to True Blood, what Gleeks are to Glee) to do while we impatiently wait for Season 4 to start - June 26th! Plus they got you to 'like' their Facebook page, and maybe even share your personalized video through your profile. I did, here's mine.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Trailer: Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Leak or Viral Marketing

The age of YouTube doesn't seem like it's slowing down any. Just this year we were witness to the amazing and innovative Old Spice campaign, the crazy and infectious Bed Intruder videos and uncountable (and unwelcome) parodies of Rebecca Black's horrendous hit, Friday.

Earlier this week, the red-band trailer for David Fincher's American remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was leaked, and if you haven't seen it by now, well, you're obviously not glued to your computer screen like I am. The trailer is so blatantly 'bootlegged', I mean, someone is holding a hand-held camera to a screener of the trailer. Or wait...is it?



Usually if something like this leaks, it's taken down right away so the production team can release it officially when they're ready. If you don't watch it right away, you're screwed because it's already gone by the time you get around to watching it. So either Sony is all lax about it since it's already out, or perhaps they leaked the trailer themselves, to generate some buzz around the movie's release.

Take a look at what The Hollywood Reporter has dug up from watching the trailer - one thing for sure is the sound seems too good for a cam-copy (and thank God for that, because the Trent Reznor and Karen Oh track wouldn't be worthy of poor sound quality). But, if that's the case and Sony did 'leak' their own trailer to kick off some viral marketing campaign, was it a clever move on the their part or should things 'go viral' more organically? Is it really something worthy of a 'leak' considering a novel and previous (hard to live up to) film version already exists? And did we ruin everything by pointing out that it may have been a marketing tactic?

If you're interested in viral marketing and want to know more about how and why videos go viral, take a look at this post from Sysomos.

UPDATE:
As you can see, as of Wednesday morning, the trailer has been taken down, with a copyright claim from Sony. Hmm, so maybe the conspiracy theories were wrong and it was just a bootleg. Still, maybe not...

Monday, May 30, 2011

HBO Gets Even More Social with HBO Connect

HBO Connect
HBO doesn't take its status as premium cable lightly. To them, being premium isn't just about taking your money, but about offering something valuable to subscribers, over and above programming - offering a premium (if I may be so obvious). Let me start off by saying that I've never hidden my affinity for HBO - I love the brand, I love the content they put out, and I'm proud to call myself a loyal subscriber. As an entertainment brand, HBO understands that being a fan isn't about tuning in once a week, for an hour, to watch your favourite characters. They know that today, if you're a fan, you want it all. You want True Blood 24/7. You want to know what Jessica's been up to, and know everything and anything Alexander Skarsgård is doing. HBO has been doing whatever it takes to keep up with its viewers' foray into the online world, and so I'm not too surprised about their newest venture into social media - HBO Connect.

TrueBlood Connect
The name alone says it all, HBO 'Connect'. It works to bring together and compile whatever's being said online, about HBO's various TV brands, and will also feature live commentaries and Q&A sessions from our favourite characters. Meaning, you'll get to watch True Blood while following a a plethora of fans talking about the episode in real time, which may even include stars of the show. People are already talking, so here's where fans would go to see what's being said. As a platform for passionate fans to interact more with the television brands they love, HBO is well on its way to turning single show subscribers into HBO brand ambassadors. Or maybe it's just me.

Friday, May 27, 2011

A Hickie from Kenickie is like a Hallmark Card

"A hickie from Kenickie is like a Hallmark card, when you only care enough to send the very best!"
- Kenickie aka Jeff Conaway, Grease (1978)
 
I can't get that line out of my head, since I heard that Jeff Conaway passed away today. It's sad, especially because of the whole drugs and booze problem he had, but his iconic role as BFF to John Travolta's Danny Zucco will live on in DVD history. Seriously, Grease is on TV at least once a month - not that I'm complaining. Grease is a classic (or at least a guilty pleasure for musical-lovers to sing along to). Grease Lightning, baby. The hair, the clothes - so hot, even today.