postTuesday, 30 October 2007

Review: The Bionic Woman

Michael Ryan, The Bionic Woman, in a sexy little number. By number we mean outfit not numerical value.Our TV reviews have taken a bit of a dive recently but now they are back in full swing with NBC's The Bionic Woman.

It isn't quite porn but this Bionic Woman is nude. What will happen if you turn around Michael Ryan?The Plot: A woman is almost killed in a car crash, losing several of her limbs. However, her scientist boyfriend reconstructs her with bionic body parts making her into a cyborg super woman.

The Good: The fight between the Bionic Woman and, wait for it… The other Bionic Woman is well choreographed. Plus there are some decent effects.

The Bad: The story is relatively slow and doesn’t really leave one wanting more. Lead Michael Ryan does the whole chameleon thing drifting from tasty to nasty. Critics also find her performance too deadpan but I think it works in the role.

The Ugly: The show has already changed producers a number of time it its short existence, which means that the shows direction is in trouble. There is nothing worse than watching a show that doesn’t seem to know where it is going. The lead character just seems rather ungrateful. She’s angry with her boyfriend for saving her life because of the changes he makes to her. On the other hand her BF tells her she is a cyborg in one of the worst possible manners. Subtlety is an art.

NOTE: A recent episode of Grey’s Anatomy takes the cake for the worst doctor – patient diagnosis report in the history of serious TV drama. It is revealed to said patient that there is cancer in her tongue and that it will be removed and replaced with tissue from her calves. The patient, who is a chatterbox, responds, “Will I still be able to talk?”

McSteamy replies, “Yes, you’ll still be able to talk…” [pause], “But no one will be able to understand you.” [Insert canned laughter]. That’s worse than the doctor from Family Guy.

The Verdict: It’s not looking good for this show, the ratings have been dropping after a promising debut (8.4/13; 6.8/11; 6.4/10; 5.5/9; 4.8/7) and the mainstream media are trashing the show. One of them referred to it as “The Moronic Woman”. Plus I’m fairly certain this is a high budget series so network expectations are higher then what it is generating. It’s lucky this year the writers strikes has given most new shows an extended life cycle. I don’t see this making it to a second season.

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postMonday, 29 October 2007

Watch the Pumpkin Rott - Slowly

Is this flaming pumpkin the lead up to Aaron Eckhart's first picture as Harvey Dent, AKA Two-Face, in the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight? As part of their marketing for the new Batman film, The Dark Knight, Warner Bros. have set up a flaming pumpkin animation here. The right hand side is slowly rotting in, I'm sure, anticipation of Halloween.

This film already had a similar marketing tactic that resulted in the first photo of
Heath Ledger as The Joker being revealed. Will this rotting pumpkin result in the first image of Aaron Eckhart as Two-Face? Find out on Halloween.

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postSunday, 28 October 2007

Saw IV - Seen a Lot

Saw 4 had a big opening, will there be a Saw 5?Jigsaw is back and he's making box office analysts look like a bunch of corpses.Saw 4 opens bigBox Office analysts have been saying for months that the Saw franchise has burnt out and that Saw IV would have a drastic drop in it’s opening tally. Figures between $18-$22 million were the general estimates going into this weekend.

But now Jigsaw has blown those figures out of the water with a $14 million Friday and early estimates of $33.3 million for the weekend. That puts it in place to possibly take the Saw crown away from Saw III, which had a $33.6 million opening last year.

I am not surprised at all by this result; I have been expecting a mammoth weekend for a while now. The tracking that came in this week was the only thing that caused some doubt in my mind. Now lets sum up why analysts thought Saw IV was going to disappoint and why they were wrong.

Torture Porn is Dead:

The horror genre got an upsurge in 2004 from the original Saw when it began a trend that is now known as torture porn (this can be debated torture porn is not necessarily new, also other films can be argued as the starting point). The trend resulted in three Saw movies, Hostel and The Hills Have Eyes, which were all hits. This year, however, a number of torture porn releases failed to impress. This included the massive drops from franchise heavy weights Hostel 2 and The Hills Have Eyes 2.

There definitely is a lack of interest in the genre but the Saw films are in a different league from the other torture films. Firstly, even the first Saw ($55m) was far more successful than the nearest torture porn rivals (Hostel - $47m, Hills - $41m). In addition these two films achieved impressive grosses from other means. Hostel (which was crap) was marketed under the Quinton Tarantino name and many teenagers mistook Hills as the movie adaptation of MTV’s The Hills (this is probably not true). Thus torture porn is dead and probably never even reached the heights that it was hyped up to. Saw on the other hand is a well-established franchise that makes it stand out from the genre as a whole.

The Series has been Descending in Quality:

Many argue that the first Saw was unbelievably original and since then the franchise has been relying on increasing the gore/torture factor while becoming more and more of a sixth day violation.

For me Saw was never that original, ever heard of a little Fincher film called Seven? And in terms of Saw fans they are almost split down the middle over which is better, Saw or Saw II. There are even some who champion Saw III. The most important thing to remember is that the franchise has progressed and developed a complex protagonist who many view as the greatest villain of the new millennium. Jigsaw kicks ass and each movie has done a good job of adding to the character making any Saw film with Tobin Bell a must see.

Position, Position, Position:

The film has marked off the Halloween weekend as it’s designated landing point for the last four years. There is no better time for a horror film to launch and the Saw franchise has become a Halloween tradition.

Plus each film has been release a year apart making it hard for another franchise to some in and block it from the weekend, while at the same time keeping interest high.

Saw IV though will probably have bigger drops than the previous sequels. I'm looking for a finish just north of $75 million. I will have to see it before I comment on the possible success of Saw V.

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postSaturday, 27 October 2007

The Problem with Blog Rush

A crashed FerrariBlog Rush has some major snags in its service and its policy that leave it looking rather questionable.Biker GirlBlog Rush is a great tool for getting traffic to your blog. We were using it and found it very effective. The first problem with Blog Rush is that they do not seem answer their emails. We have sent in a number of emails to them some recently and some when they first started and have not received a response to any of them.

The second problem is with the so-called ‘Quality’ review. This blog failed the review yet as far as we can tell it passes every single one of the standards. Since failing the review we have sent a number of email to ask why and nothing. How are the corrections meant to be made if the mistakes are not pointed out?

Blog Rush do not inform you in the email that they send why they have failed a blog. If the quality reviewer cannot take the time to simply write a small phrase or check a box that mentions why the blog failed can we even call it a review. The lack of feedback means that some blogs that meet all the criteria can be band for no reason at all. It also means that without this disclosure the system is ripe for foul play.

Let’s quickly look at the quality guidelines and how they apply to this blog:

  • The blog contains unique, quality content that provides opinions, insights, and/or recommended resources that provide value to readers of the blog. Articles, videos, public domain works, press releases, and content written by others are okay to be used on the blog, but the ratio of unique content should far outweigh content from other sources. CHECK
  • All our content is completely unique. We have a few links to other stories but the majority of them are written by our writers and even when we link we provide our own commentary. CHECK
  • The blog should be updated on a regular basis (at least several times a month) and should not just go a few months between posts. CHECK
  • The blog should already contain at least 10-12 quality posts. New blogs with very little content will not be accepted. CHECK
  • The blog's primary contain must be in English. BlogRush is currently not available for non-English blogs. CHECK
  • The blog should not contain an excessive amount of advertising and links and very little actual content. The focus of the blog should be quality content. CHECK
  • The primary content of the blog should not be "scraped" content from other sources and/or script-generated pages for the sole purpose of search engine rank manipulation. The focus of the blog should be quality content. CHECK
  • The blog's content (or advertising) should not contain any of the following types of content: hate, anti-racial, terrorism, drug-related, hacking, phishing, fraud, pornographic, nudity, warez, gambling, copyright infringement, obscene or disgusting material of any kind, or anything considered illegal. CHECK

Thus, it seems we meet all the criteria. I suggest people digg this post to spread the word then maybe Blog Rush will do something about the situation, especially since they are not answering their email.

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postThursday, 18 October 2007

The Amazing Poker Scam

Here is some great poker advice: "Do not play at Absolute Poker!" Steven Levitt from Freakonomics (great blog, better book) has been following a poker scam there. Part One: Some poker player played like he could see everyone's cards, crazy. Part Two: Fellow poker players investigated and with the aid of an inside informant discovered that a staff member of Absolute Poker was responsible for the cheating. Hopefully this isn't happening at 3 Piggs. Read the full story here and here.

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Video Game Destroys the Box Office

Tired of merely killing Aliens, the space marines of Halo 3 set their sights on the film industry, claiming poor Ben Stiller as their first casualty.

According to Studio Briefing the release of Halo 3 may have been the cause of the recent low box office earnings. Here is the original segment:

Some industry analysts are blaming the release of the videogame Halo 3 for the current dive in movie ticket sales. Advertising Age has observed that over the Oct. 5 weekend, after Halo 3 had sold $300 million worth of copies, the box office was down 27 percent below the same weekend last year -- the worst performance for an October weekend since 1999. Over the same weekend, The Heartbreak Kid, which some box-office gurus had predicted would make up to $30 million, brought in only $14 million. "The audience on this game is the 18-to-34 demographic, similar to what you'd see in cinemas," Mike Hickey, an analyst at Denver research firm Janco Partners, told AdAge, adding that the box-office slide "could last for several weeks.

This is just going by official sales and isn't taking into consideration all the pirate copies of the game that are bound to have spread. In any case this means that film distributors will now also have to take high profile game releases into consideration. The poor performing R-rated Heartbreak Kid was essentially released when a large chunk of it's target audience were glued to their computer. Big oops DreamWorks.

Since games tend to consume a lot more time then major sporting events this means that distributors are going to have a whole new bunch of challenges on their hands. Possibly having to forecast a games potential impact in weeks before claiming a release date.

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postTuesday, 16 October 2007

Stick Arena: Say Good Bye to Your Life

Stick Arena is a game from XGen Studios where you run around and kill other stick men. The best part is it's a live multiplayer game, which means you are running around against live opponents.

You can also register and thus keep all your stats. So grab a baseball bat, sword or gun and kill some stick figures.

 Play Stick Arena

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postMonday, 15 October 2007

The Most Disgusting Short Story Ever Written

Sex can get pretty disgusting especially by yourself...Sexual taboos and gross out vomiting, now that's a crazy combination for one little story.About two years ago I read a review for Chuck Palahniuk’s Haunted, which you should probably know a little about first. Basically Haunted is a short story collection, however, instead of just arbitrarily collecting his short stories in an anthology Palahniuk has weaved them into a novel. Basically the main characters are all partaking in the same twisted writing seminar and Palahiniuk’s short stories are the work of the characters.

Anyway, the review made mention of one particular story called Guts. The reviewer broke off into a rant over how disgusting this popular Palahinuiuk story is. Anyway, I completely forgot about the review and went on with my life. Then the other day I started reading Haunted and Guts is the first short story in the collection.

This tale of taboo sexuality is probably the most disgusting thing I have ever read. I actually gagged while reading it (in fairness I was hung over). It’s an extremely well written piece of fiction and as disgusting as it is I could not stop reading. It’s starts off fluffy and lighthearted and climatically builds till your wriggling in your seat with discomfort. I was forced to finish and walked around for the rest of the day as nauseous as hell. Strangely enough I highly recommend it. Read Guts here.

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postSunday, 14 October 2007

Review: Reaper

Writing this review made me sleepy.

The Plot: Another show with a slacker but this time he doesn’t become a top secret government security concern (Chuck). Sam just turned 21 and what he doesn’t know is that before he was born his parents sold his soul to the devil. Satan himself has come to collect and now Sam must live out the rest of his life as the devil’s bounty hunter, capturing escaped souls from hell.

The Good: Kevin Smith (Clerks) directs this quirky pilot to perfection, delivering a sharp witty, quick paced 40-minutes that packs on the comedy. You have to love a show where the main character dropped out of college because it made him sleepy. Bret Harrison is perfect in the lead role and his own show has been a long time coming. Ray Wise makes a great devil and Tyler Labine as the weird sidekick friend is hilarious.

The Bad: No actual horror here and this is the kind of show that should have some kind of scare factor. Plus I saw the second episode and it was the same formula, which was a bit of a downer. The show needs to make the escaped souls concept better.

The Ugly: Once again a comparison of the first two episodes but the effects budget was obviously much higher in the first and the second really didn't feature much action.

The Verdict: The show scored a 2.1/3, which is good for the CW, plus it has had very small declines since the debut which means this should be around for the season.

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Review: Journeyman

Have you been leaping randomly through time only to return and be disappointed to discover that you missed the premiere of Journeyman. Well at least you can read this review.

The Plot: Much like the average university student, Dan Vassar blacks out and wakes up in strange places. However, Vassar isn't just waking up in strange places but different periods of time. Vassar struggles to understand what is happening to him as he unexpectedly journeys through time. 

The Good: For some reason I was not expecting much from this show but I was completely offside. Everything fits into place in a show that brings back good memories of that other TV time travel extravaganza Quantum Leap. The obvious differences being that Dan Vassar always remains Dan Vassar and that he gets to return to his regular life. There is no explanation as to why Vassar makes these leaps, which will provide a good reason for viewers to keep watching. Kevin McKidd has a charming bulldog like quality in the lead roll. Plus their is a juicy emotional story/love triangle set up that should be entertaining.

The Bad: Nothing overly hectic here but for some reason nobody seems to age in the 10 year intervals in the story. You would think a show that shows people at different stages would have invested in some 'age' makeup.

The Ugly: I can't think of anything, maybe I should mention the lack of ageing thing again.

The Verdict: From what I've seen I want this show to go on, however the similarly themed Day Break (which also had Moon Bloodgood) didn't last last season. Plus the show took a big knock in the ratings from it's second to third episode. I recommend watching this one while it's around.

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postSaturday, 13 October 2007

Review: The Big Bang Theory

Will this show make a ‘big bang’? Read the review and find out… God, I hate myself.

The Plot: Two nerds amble around in their socially challenged lives until a beautiful girl moves in next door and decides to befriend them.

The Good: The concept is not that bad and has the potential to produce some good comedy.

The Bad: It’s a traditional sitcom (which if you haven’t been paying attention – I hate). The execution is all-wrong and the show just feels clunky. I think there is a strong script here but the actors are not able to pull it off. The best way to look at it would be to compare it to the shows creators other gig – Two and a Half Men. The jokes are similar and at the same intensity but there’s no Charlie Sheen and Richard Cryer to deliver them.

The Ugly: I can’t stand Kayley Cuoco, as they say in France – “She’s lame.” Johnny Galecki doesn’t do nerd very well and instead goes for creepy. Jim Parsons is channeling David Hyde Pierce in all the wrong ways.

The Verdict: While I and about a million other people stopped watching it after the premier it’s doing pretty well for a sitcom currently (and it’s in a tough time slot). I don’t think this show has a particularly high budget, so if the viewer dropping stops it should make it through its first season. It might even hit its stride late in the season as many new sitcoms do and gain some viewers.

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postFriday, 12 October 2007

Do You Want Smarter Posts?

We’ve just added the intelligent expandable posts hack. The hack makes it so the “Read It…” link only appears when there is more to the post. Meaning that there is no more “Read It…” link at the end of a short post when there is nothing further.

To add it to your blog click here. But be warned the post is in Spanish and Google Translator changes the code. So make sure to have a translated and untranslated version of the page open.

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postThursday, 11 October 2007

Review: Chuck

It’s a strange name yet there’s a martial arts expert (Chuck Norris), a kick ass author (Chuck Palahniuk), two recent movies (I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, Good Luck Chuck) and now a TV show that all share it.

The Plot: Josh Schwartz (The OC) brings us the story of slacker inadvertently exposed to a subliminal message that encodes his brain with all the information from the recently destroyed US super computer. Now Chuck has all of the US governments secrets and classified information lying dormant in his head and is suddenly America’s no.1 security concern.

The Good: This is a fast paced quirky action comedy. The lead Zachary Levi is charismatic and likeable and he is surrounded from a great support cast. Plus Adam Baldwin is in the show (which would mean something to you if you’ve heard of Firefly or Serenity).

The Bad: None of the jokes are laugh out load funny. They are more of the – think quietly to yourself, “well that’s worth a chuckle but not out load” kind of variety.

The Ugly: Nothing, really this is one of the best new shows. Some may argue that the show is cheesy and far-fetched but that’s exactly what it’s meant to be.

The Verdict: It’s in a tough time slot having to deal with Dancing with the Stars, the How I Met Your Mother/The Big Bang Theory comedy block, and Prison Break. Plus it’s the lead in for Heroes, which has seen its ratings dropping rapidly. In TV world when a new show is the lead in for a hit and the hits ratings starts to drop the new show is often blamed. As much as I love this show the ratings have been steadily dropping from 6.0/9 to 5.1/8 to 4.5/7 after three episodes, if this continues the show is toast.

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postWednesday, 10 October 2007

Review: Back to You

Anybody want to read a review of Back to You? ...Anybody?

The Plot: A big time news anchor fucks up royally on air resulting in him returning to the small town news station where his career began.

The Good: The return of Kelsey Grammer (Frasier) and Patricia Heaton (Everybody Loves Raymond) to TV charms this small screen sitcom right up. Plus having Fred Willard (Anchorman) in the cast is a further bonus. As far as traditional sitcoms go this is a top-notch act. A high joke ratio with the punch lines being delivered by seasoned pros. Throw in some melodramatic soap opera type plot aspects and you have a formulae for a very entertaining show.

The Bad: It’s a traditional sitcom. Traditional sitcoms are over, maybe not in the ratings but they’ve served their purpose in culture and will soon disappear. It’s only a matter of time before we do away with the canned laughter for good. Allowing the audience the autonomy to decide what is actually funny and being able to squeeze more jokes into the 22-minute format.

The Ugly: Some fat guy who was more than unconvincing as the station manager. On a generally excellent cast he stands out like a sore thumb bringing the show down.

The Verdict: I’m predicting a moderate hit, but what the hell do I know?

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postTuesday, 09 October 2007

Review: Gossip Girl

After a long delay, due to technical difficulties, the new TV season reviews continue with Gossip Girl .

The Plot: Picture a snooty private high school in New York where the majority of the students get more pocket money than you make in a year. At this high school the queen bee of uber-chicks suddenly disappears without a trace. One year later she returns unexpectedly causing mass confusion among her spoilt pears. The whole event is documented by the schools anonymous gossip blogger – Gossip Girl.

The Good: Josh Swartz (The OC) is back delivering some more of those quick witty comments that made his first show a success.

The Bad: The cast members who get these lines might as well be reading passages from the dictionary. That’s right, there’s no Adam Brody here just some uncharismatic pretty boy who wouldn’t know sarcasm if it pissed in his Sprite Zero.

The Ugly: I read a review of this show that said if you turned off the sound you wouldn’t be able to distinguish it from The OC, which I found odd because visually the shows a hit. Great cinematography that captures autumn in New York, making this a somewhat different looking Teen show. However, it’s the same old same old in terms of story. Swartz has his beloved triangle theory in full force and the actors are all really just there for their aesthetics. Plus, the little girl from The Grinch is there wearing skimpy outfits, and at 14 that’s just creepy.

The Verdict: I’m tempted to rule this show off, but it might be a hit with the teens. With such a “young” cast there’s a chance they might hit their stride after a couple of episodes, plus the CW doesn’t exactly expect stellar ratings.

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