Renaissance News Vol. 2 Issue 13

Yes, the posts have been sporadic. I’m aware of the sporadicness of the postings. Believe me that the management would like to desporadisize the entire process but the process has been inexplicably extrasporadisized. And now for something completely different…

  • Because I know that he has a disturbingly rabid following amongst certain of my readers, we’ll start with Nathan Fillion news. The Firefly and Castle star is rumored to be cast as Dr. Hank Pym in The Avengers.
  • Last week came the good news that the racist twin robots would not be returning in Transformers 3, now comes the news that neither will Megan Fox. The soon-to-be-Lindsay-Lohan-level-has-been’s contract not being picked up for the third film probably has nothing to do with a recent interview she gave comparing director Michael Bay to Hitler. Probably nothing to do with that. Also, Alan Tudyk (Firefly) has joined the cast.
  • Captain America will be shooting in London. I want to go on record that that seems a bit off. Captain Britain (yes, he exists) will now have to be shot in Toledo.
  • Josh Brolin has joined the cast of Men in Black III.
  • Want to hear what Eddie Murphy’s thoughts on Nutty Professor 3, which he’s writing. “We kind of wrote something that might be kind of funny.” BAM. Confidence. Love it.
  • I would tell you that Pirates of the Caribbean 4 is being filmed in 3-D, but I am officially boycotting 3-D news unless it involves me being given money for reporting on it.
  • Ewan McGregor has signed on to Director Terry Gilliam’s long in the works Don Quixote.
  • Video game duo, Kane & Lynch, will be coming to the big screen starring Jamie Foxx and Bruce Willis. Still waiting for the first good video game movie, guys. Just saying.
  • The CW has renewed One Tree Hill and announced next season will be Smallville‘s last. CBS has canceled The New Adventures of Old Christine, Numb3rs, Cold Case, and The Ghost Whisperer. NBC renewed Chuck and canceled Heroes and Law & Order, denying it the chance have its 21st season and break Gunsmoke‘s record as the longest running drama in TV history. ABC has renewed V and canceled Flashforward and Scrubs
  • Linda Hamilton (Terminator) is joining the cast of Weeds.
  • DVD Release Dates:
    Burn Notice: The Complete Third Season, June 1st
    The Bounty Hunter, July 13th
    Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, June 22nd
  • Box Office
    1. Iron Man 2, $52.0 million
    2. Robin Hood, $36.1 million
    3. Letters to Juliet, $13.5 million
    4. Just Wright, $8.3 million
    5. How to Train Your Dragon, $5.0 million (passed $200 million total)
  • Rolling Stone Album Chart
    1. My World 2.0 by Justin Bieber
    2. Need You Now by Lady Antebellum
    3. High Violet by The National
    4. Iron Man 2 Soundtrack by AC/DC
    5. Sea of Cowards by Jack White and the Cowards
  • Bestselling Video Games
    1. Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2, DS
    2. Wii Sports, Wii
    3. Pokemon Heart Gold, DS
    4. New Super Mario Bros, Wii
    5. Wii Sports Resort, Wii
  • New York Times Hardcover Bestsellers
    1. Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris
    2. The 9th Judgment by James Patterson
    3. Innocent by Scott Turow
    4. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
    5. Deliver Us from Evil by David Baldacci

Hot Tub Time Machine

Finally! Finally a movie that lives up to the awesomeness of its title! Having been seriously disappointed by awesomely titled films such as Snakes on a Plane and The Men Who Stare at Goats, I needed the redemption that only a film with a title like Hot Tub Time Machine can give. So, yes, I paid money and went and saw Hot Tub Time Machine in the theatre. Here’s the thing though: not only did it live up to its great title, Hot Tub Time Machine may be the best comedy I’ve seen in the last year.

The movie’s plot is pretty much explained by the title. After a friend’s failed suicide attempt, his friends take him back to the ski lodge where they had their heyday of partying and magic in 1985. They find the lodge dilapidated and pathetic, much as their own lives have become, until they get in their suite’s hot tub and are magically sucked back into 1985. At no point does the movie ever try to explain why (the closest it comes is a cryptic hot tub repair machine man played to perfection by Chevy Chase), and the characters fight between each other as to whether they should use this second chance to change their futures, but they’re also all geek enough to have arguments over the effects this may have on the time/space continuum. Screw it, basically the movie is Back to the Future but with a hard R. It’s crude, it’s foul, and it’s unrelentingly funny. Comedies can frequently have lapses and long stretches of dry spots, but Hot Tub kept me laughing the entire film, sometimes so hard I thought I’d cry.

If you lived through the 80’s, I’m sure you’ll appreciate the humor to an even greater extent, but the film’s heart is the friends who have drifted apart realizing that they were really happiest when they were hanging out together, screwing with each other, and an active part of each others lives. Through all the absurdity, the movie has a soul (albeit a twisted one) and leaves you smiling at the character’s fates. John Cusack is outstanding as a sort of black comedy version of himself in all those 80’s films he did. Craig Robinson shines given more to do than he ever is on The Office. Crispin Glover also has a small and hysterical role that delivers maybe the film’s funniest moment.

Writing a good absurdist comedy is as hard a thing as there is to do in film, and Hot Tub delivers. It’s not for everyone, but if you’ve got a twisted sense of humor, a group of good friends, and recall how surreal the 80s were, Hot Tub is just the movie for you.

How to Train Your Dragon

Some movies have amazing trailers that manage to turn truly crap films into these little short film masterpieces. I’m thinking here of the Where the Wild Things Are trailer with Arcade Fire’s “Wake Up” playing in the background. It was fantastic. After having seen and disliked the movie, I just decided to keep it on my iPod and to me, that’s the movie. Then there’s the opposite; trailers that are so awful for films that turn out to be brilliant that you nearly miss seeing them. Pixar used to have this problem. Until recently, I used to be sure the next Pixar film was going to be a disaster because the trailers were so mediocre. How to Train Your Dragon had awful trailers and it wasn’t until it got 98% positive on Rotten Tomatoes and my stepdaughter began extolling its virtues that I agreed to go see it.

It’s not a Pixar-level masterpiece by any means, and it’s geared more for younger kids, but man it is amazing looking. The animation is so spectacular that I wish I had seen it in an IMAX to drink even more of it in. The plot is pretty simple. Inexplicably Scottish Vikings have been battling dragons for time on end until Hiccup (yes, that’s his name) bonds with one of the beasts and upsets the whole cart of apples. It’s the kind of movie I wish I had a seven year old nephew to take to, but my siblings have not provided me with one yet. Let’s all just end the review thinking about their failure to breed.

Hey, Readers

I just wanted to thank everyone for all the kind comments, emails, etc. I’ve never done much of anything regular with my writing, and for right now this is the vehicle I’m choosing. It’s not the great American novel, but then I’m more of an essay guy anyhow. I would love to see you guys sign up as followers of the site if you haven’t already. All you have to do is click on the Follow button on the side and sign in with an account you’ve already created, be it Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc. I like to see your beaming faces (or in the case of those who have no icons, your sterling blankness) whenever I’m writing. I know the commenting feature on entries is overcomplex, but if you comment anonymously, just stick your first name at the bottom so I have someone to reply to by name. I want comments, criticism, suggestions, and any other feedback you can offer, so please pile it on!

Thanks again,

Renaissance News Vol. 2 Issue 12

A belated happy mother’s day to any mother’s who read my blog, and to my own who-if she did read this blog-would try to ground me even though I’m in my thirties. To the news!

  • Xbox 360 owners will be getting the motion control system Project Natal sometime in October. The official name of the control scheme is expected to be released at next month’s E3.
  • FOX has renewed Human Target for a second season and Lie to Me for a third.
  • The possibility that Transformers 3 will not be quite the cinematic boot scraping it’s predecessor was increased significantly by the news the twin robots (I forget their names, let’s just call them Bigotbot and Rascisty) will not be returning.
  • Dreamworks is courting Tim Burton to make a movie based on the board game Monsterpocalypse.
  • Terrence Howard will play Nelson Mandela opposite Jennifer Hudson in Winnie, a biopic of Mandela’s controversial wife.
  • If you’re visiting Disneyland/world anytime before this fall, take one last ride on Star Tours. The Star Wars ride will be getting re-imagined for a 2011 reopening.
  • Pixar has canceled development of it’s animated film Newt.
  • Avatar has sold a record-shattering 19.7 million DVD/BluRay discs since it’s release. Looks like none of y’all wanted to wait for the good DVD release this fall, huh?
  • Jerry Bruckheimer has confirmed another RN rumor; that Bad Boys 3 is on the way.
  • Another Will Smith-related rumor/gone official now has a release date. Men in Black III-D will hit theatres on May 25, 2012.
  • Brad Bird (The Incredibles) has been confirmed as the director of Mission: Impossible IV.
  • Ice Age: Continental Drift will hit theatres in 2012.
  • Elizabeth Perkins will be leaving Weeds after this season to develop her own sitcom.
  • DVD Release Dates:
    Hot Tub Time Machine, June 29th
    The Simpsons
    : The Complete Thirteenth Season, August 24th
    The Wolfman, June 1st
  • Box Office
    1. Iron Man 2, $128.1 million (5th best opening of all-time)
    2. Nightmare on Elm Street, $9.1 million
    3. How to Train Your Dragon, $6.7 million
    4. Date Night, $5.4 million
    5. The Back-Up Plan, $5.0 million
  • Rolling Stone Charts Top 5 Albums
    1. Oracle by Godsmack
    2. Need You Now by Lady Antebellum
    3. The Generous Mr. Lovewell by MercyMe
    4. Live at the Troubadour by Carole King and James Taylor
    5. My World’s 2.0 by Justin Bieber
  • Video Game Best Sellers
    1. Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2, DS
    2. Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, PS3
    3. Super Street Fighter IV, PS3
    4. Pokemon Heart Gold, DS
    5. Super Street Fighter IV, XBOX 360
  • New York Times Hardcover Fiction Bestsellers
    1. 9th Judgment by James Patterson
    2. Lover Mine by J.R. Ward
    3. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
    4. Deliver Us from Evil by David Baldacci
    5. Hannah’s List by Debbie Macomber

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