Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Netflix Officially Announces Stranger Things Season 2

I knew it was coming because the first season of Stranger Things has been so hugely successful for Netflix, but today Netflix officially announced season two and needless to say, I am beyond excited.  In fact, here are some of the reactions I had when I heard the news:

  If you haven't watched this show yet, what the hell are your waiting for?  Can't wait to visit The Upside Down again in 2017!!!

Monday, August 29, 2016

RIP: Gene Wilder

Haunted Honeymoon

The year 2016 has taken another icon from us as we lost Gene Wilder today who was an actor, director and writer.  While his most successful work came prior to 1980, for those of us who grew up in the 80's, we fell in love with his movies watching them on local independent channels on the weekends.  From Blazing Saddles to Young Frankenstein to Willy Wonka to The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Smarter Brother, these were movies my generation grew up watching.  I liked Wilder so much as a kid, I actually talked my parents into taking me to see Haunted Honeymoon its opening weekend.  In 1990, I'd be willing to bet that my buddy and I were the only teenagers in the country to go see Funny About Love its opening weekend just because Gene Wilder was in it.  While critics didn't like the majority of the stuff he did, the fans did and I sure did.  I see a Gene Wilder marathon in my near future.


Friday, August 26, 2016

New Movies Friday: 8.26.16

It is the final weekend of August and there are only two wide-releases opening this weekend.  The first is the horror film Don't Breathe, which is a movie I've been looking forward to all summer.  Reviews have been excellent as the movie is getting an 88% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes.  This summer has already been a big success for the horror/thriller genres with hits like The Conjuring 2, The Shallows and Light's Out and I suspect that this trend will continue with Don't Breathe.  Look for Don't Breathe to open in the 21-23 million range which will easily be enough to end Suicide Squad's three week reign at the top of the box-office.

The other new release this weekend is the Jason Statham action film, Mechanic: Resurrection.  This is a sequel to 2011's The Mechanic, which is a sequel nobody really asked for.  From the info I've read about why they made this movie, it seems that Statham movies are made for what is considered a low cost (around 40 million) and by they time they are done world-wide at the box-office and after the BluRay/DVD sales, his movies always turn in a nice profit for the studio.  The movie is getting a poor 40% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes, but his fans won't care about that.  Look for Mechanic 2 to pull in around 6-8 million this weekend.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Review: Guns n Roses Live 8.18.16

Pic Stolen from my Nikki

Last night I went to Dodger Stadium and watched a reunited Guns n Roses play to a sold out crowd.  For those of us that grew up in the 80's, Guns n Roses is easily one of the biggest and most influential hard rock bands for our generation.  It took over 20 years, but getting to see most of the original members back together kicking ass on stage was pretty damn special.  This is especially true for those of us who never got to seen them back in the day.  While I never got to see GNR back in the day, I did see Axl's version of the band over 10 years ago at the Universal Amphitheater and I also got to see Slash's Snakepit perform back in the 90's.  Both of those shows were excellent by the way.

Back to last night, GNR hit the stage a little after 8pm and gave the crowd three hours of rock n' roll decadence.  They played all the big hits, the well known songs, added several from the Chinese Democracy album and then a few cover songs too.  There were Slash guitar solos, Axl playing piano, pyro and fireworks.  The band sounded tight and Axl's vocals were pretty damn strong.  I'm not sure what he is doing, but is vocals sound better today than they did a decade ago.  Slash was the essence of cool and Duff was Duff.  The non-original members did a really good job too.

One of the things I wondered about was how many people at the show would know any of the Chinese Democracy songs.  Chinese Democracy is the album that took Axl over a decade to complete and he did it with an entire different group of musicians under the GNR name.  The album is actually a really good record, but only the die hard GNR fans bought it.  From the looks of it, not many of the people at this show were die hard GNR fans because they didn't know those songs.  Hopefully they liked what they heard and they will go out at buy the album.  The best part of hearing GNR do the Chinese Democracy songs was to hear how Slash changed the solos and made them his own.  The songs are better for it too.

The only complaint I have regarding the show is the venue.  While Dodger Stadium may be a great place to watch a baseball game, it sucks ass for a concert.  Unless you have seats in the area in front of the stage, you will be spending most of your time watching the jumbo-tron.  I guess it was worth it for this one time, but I will never go see a concert at Dodger Stadium again unless I get the tickets for free or something like that.

So Guns n Roses are back and they sure looked happy on that stage last night.  Maybe they are all friends again or maybe it is just the millions of dollars they make every night, but the fans benefited either way.  Hopefully the band decides to start writing songs together and we get a new album, but I won't hold my breath.

New Movies Friday: 8.19.16

This weekend looks like it will be the third weekend in a row for Suicide Squad to be the box-office champion.  Look for Harley Quinn and her pals to pull in 21-23 million this weekend as the film continues to get closer to that 300 million mark domestically.

In a summer filled with a ton of animated films, it seems like overkill to get another one, but there is one more to go which just so happens to be the best reviewed of them all.  Kubo and the Two Strings is pulling in a 95% rating at Rotten Tomatoes with most critics saying it is the best animated film of the year.  Despite the great reviews, don't look for Kubo to pull in Pixar and Disney level box-office numbers as this movies studio doesn't pimp their movies like the other studios do.  Look for Kubo to pull in 15-17 million this weekend.

Some movies should never be remade and Ben-Hur is one of those movies.  This new Ben-Hur cost 100 million to make and it won't come close to making that domestically.  A check over at Rotten Tomatoes shows the movie is getting a poor 31% at Rotten Tomatoes, so there will be no Academy Awards for this movie like there were for the classic.  Look for Ben-Hur to pull in around 12 million this weekend.

The final film this weekend is the R-rated comedy War Dogs which is from the director of The Hangover Trilogy.  The movie is pulling in average reviews with a 57% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes which should be good enough for this movies audience to show up.  That said, the movie lacks real box-office star power, so look for the movie to pull in only around 13 million.  

Friday, August 12, 2016

New Movies Friday: 8.12.16

Last weekend Suicide Squad broke every August opening weekend record and it will dominated this weekend as well.  While the movie didn't get good reviews from critics, the word-of-mouth from the fans is mostly positive and that means Suicide Squad won't have the huge second weekend drop that Batman v Superman did.  Look for Suicide Squad to be number one again this weekend with 50-55 million.

As for the new movies, we are getting something you don't get very often during the summer months and that is all the new movies are getting great reviews.  The R-rated animated film Sausage Party should be the top new film of the weekend.  A check over at Rotten Tomatoes shows critics dig the dirty sausage humor as it has a 83% fresh rating.  Look for this party to pull in around 30 million this weekend.

Earlier this year Disney scored a huge hit with their updating of The Jungle Book and now they are trying it again with an updating of their classic, Pete's Dragon.  The difference here is that Pete's Dragon is not as loved or remembered by the general public as Jungle Book is, so it won't be as successful.  Still, reviews are strong with a 85% fresh rating and the family audience hasn't had a new movie for several weeks now.  Look for Pete's Dragon to pull in around 25 million this weekend.

The final film of the weekend is our annual August release from the greatest actress of all time, Meryl Streep.  Reviews for Florence Foster Jenkins has been very strong with an 88% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes and it is a given that Streep will be nominated for Best Actress for this role as well.  The movie is only getting a modest size release, so box-office numbers won't be huge to start, but this movie will have legs thanks to word-of-mouth.  Look for Florence Foster Jenkins to pull in around 6-8 million.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Music Review: Weezer - The White Album

It may be hard to believe, but Weezer's latest album, known as The White Album, is their tenth studio album.  When Weezer started back in the 90's they were mostly referred to as an alt rock band and over the years they have morphed into more of a power-pop band.  Of course, when listening to their early stuff, you can hear tons of power-pop influence in their songs, but it is even more prevalent now.

I read that with this album Rivers Cuomo was attempting to make an album that had a happy "summer time" feel to it.  I think this means Weezer was trying to make an album that could be the background soundtrack during the free spirit of the summer season.  I would imagine that while Weezer was recording this album, they could picture people having it on while they are out at the beach, by the pool, in a park or wherever the summer may take you.  Overall, I think that Weezer accomplished their goal as this is a fun album that is filled with catchy hooks, melodies and lyrics.  Where I think the band really succeeded is that they were able to create this fun album and still have hints of classic Weezer.

While the album is filled with good songs, the songs I really connected to are the power-pop driven Wind in our Sail, (Girl We Got A) Good Thing and California Kids.  I have enjoyed Weezer's first ten album and I hope they release ten more.



Friday, August 5, 2016

New Movies Friday: 8.5.16

The last major summer blockbuster of 2016 is here and expect August opening weekend records to fall.  In fact, Suicide Squad already broke Thursday night preview records for August last night by pulling in a huge 20.5 million.  The previous record?  11.2 million for Guardians of the Galaxy.  No movie has opened over the 100 million mark in August and Suicide Squad will easily break that record as well.  The current August opening weekend record is 94.3 million for Guardians of the Galaxy and Suicide Squad is set to dwarf that record.  Reviews have been really bad as the movie has a 26% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes, but that won't matter this weekend.  The hype is just too strong.  Look for Suicide Squad to pull in around 135 million this weekend.

The only other major release is Nine Lives which is a movie in which Kevin Spacey plays a man trapped in the body of a cat.  All I can say is that the paycheck must have been huge for Spacey to take this role.  The movie is getting horrid reviews with a 13% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes.  Look for Nine Lives to pull in around 5 million this weekend.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Music Review: Cheap Trick - Bang Zoom Crazy...Hello

When it comes to the best power-pop bands ever, Cheap Trick are at the top of anyone's best of list.  Cheap Trick started in 1977 and here they are in 2016 still putting out good music.  Believe it or not, Bang Zoom Crazy...Hello is the bands 17th album and it reminds you why you started listening to Cheap Trick in the first place.  Cheap Trick have not always put out good albums as some of their 80's output demonstrates, but since the late 90's, their albums have been solid.

Bang Zoom Crazy...Hello is exactly what you expect from a Cheap Trick album.  The songs are upbeat rock songs that have great hooks, melodies and harmonies.  This album demonstrates that if these guys stick to what they know, they put out good rock n roll.  Songs like Heart On The Line, No Direction Home and Long Time No See Ya are songs that would perfectly fit on any Cheap Trick 'best of ' compilation.  I think the most interesting song on the album is the haunting When I Wake Up Tomorrow, which is different than the other songs on the album, but sticks with you after your done listening to the record.  Cheap Trick was finally inducted in the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in 2016 which was well deserved and this album proves that they still have what it takes to rock.