Blogs > Tuned in to Pop Culture

They’re not standing around the watercooler, but Cheryl Sadler, Mark Meszoros, Mark Podolski and Nicole Franz are talking about what they’ve been watching, listening to and playing during their free time.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Million Dollar Listing: Season 4

The bad boys of real estate are back in Bravo's "Million Dollar Listing", a series that follows the drama of top agents selling properties in the tough market of Los Angeles.

I previewed the first two episodes of the season, and I'm pretty much hooked already. I'm fascinated by seeing the features, amenities and price tags on the gorgeous homes, and I'm looking forward to seeing the agents work out high-priced deals with difficult clients. And agent Josh Flagg (pictured on the right) isn't hard to look at for 42 minutes. Josh F. also appears to be the "nice guy" of the three agents featured on the show. Josh Altman (left) is aggressive and Madison Hildebrand (center) is kind of dramatic. Why do their personality traits matter? Because it's Bravo reality programming, and Bravo reality programming comes with drama drama drama.

Is this show something you should watch? If you like tuning in to HGTV to get a look at floor plans, furniture and interior decorating schemes of houses on the market, this is probably not the show for you. If you are interested in that kind of stuff but get bored with HGTV's presentation, you'll be much more entertained by "Million Dollar Listing." If you want a well-produced reality show with more substance than the usual and have an interest in real estate or beautiful California homes, you should give this show a try.

Unfortunately, the show premieres at 9 p.m. Feb. 3. With a (mostly) great comedy block taking up many TV watcher's Thursday nights, "Million Dollar Listing" might fight for viewers. But don't worry if you don't have the DVR space for it: Bravo replays shows frequently throughout the week and on its website.

Bravo's description of the show's fourth season:
The most buzzed-about real estate gurus return to Bravo for a brand new season of "Million Dollar Listing" and once again give viewers an up-close and personal look inside the high-stakes, cutthroat world of Los Angeles's real estate market. Josh Flagg and Madison Hildebrand return and are joined by Josh Altman, one of the most successful agents in the country.
"Million Dollar Listing" follows the lives of three of Los Angeles' hottest, young and aggressive real estate magnates in the making as they make a fortune selling multi-million dollar properties in the most exclusive neighborhoods – Hollywood, Malibu and Beverly Hills. With the economy still in a slump, Josh Altman, Josh Flagg and Madison must fight for their share of the market and the competition is intense. Season four follows the agents as they deal with some of the most demanding clients they have ever encountered. They are pushed to the limit and struggle to manage their personal lives while also trying to move some of the most magnificent and most expensive homes in the City of Angels.

You can preview the season by clicking the play button below (some offensive language is bleeped):

-- Cheryl Sadler

Labels: , ,

Sunday, January 30, 2011

'The Rite' opens at No. 1

No surprise that a new movie took the top spot and another new movie tied for third at the weekend box office. What is a surprise is the fact that "Yogi Bear" is still in the top 10. Seriously? Is that even in contention for an Academy Award? Isn't this the time of year when the weekend box office should be dominated by new releases and Oscar favorites?

From The Associated Press:
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Final figures will be released Monday.
1. “The Rite,” $15 million. (Review from Entertainment Editor Mark Meszoros)
2. “No Strings Attached,” $13.7 million. (Review from The AP's Christy Lemire)
3. “The Green Hornet,” $11.5 million. (Review from Lemire)
(tie) “The Mechanic, $11.5 million. (Review from Lemire)
5. “The King’s Speech,” $11.1 million. (Review from Lemire; "Colin Firth stammers eloquently as King George" by The AP's David Germain)
6. “True Grit,” $7.6 million. (Review from Lemire)
7. “The Dilemma,” $5.5 million. (Review from The AP's Jake Coyle)
8. “Black Swan,” $5.1 million. (Review from Lemire)
9. “The Fighter,” $4.1 million. (Review from Germain)
10. “Yogi Bear,” $3.2 million. (Review from Coyle)

-- Cheryl Sadler

Labels: ,

New Superman cast

Warner Bros. announced on Sunday Henry Cavill is the new Man of Steel and will play Clark Kent/Superman in yet another reboot of the iconic pop culture character.

Zack Snyder is on board to direct the film, set for a December 2012 release. Cavill is best known for his performance on Showtime's "The Tudors."

Before the announcement, I had never heard of Cavill, but that shouldn't discourage Superman fans, and it doesn't discourage me. Although he was criticized for his performance in "Superman Returns," I enjoyed Brandon Routh's portrayal of Superman.

Also reportedly attached to the new Superman project is Christopher Nolan and David Goyer, who helped reboot the Batman series, so that's a good thing.

As for Cavill? Hey, he looks like Superman, so that's a start. I'm willing to give this actor a chance.

- Mark Podolski

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Would you like to ford the river? Oregon Trail expected to hit Facebook

Hold your horses, friends--or maybe you should hold your oxen! MTV is reporting that a new version of the super old but super popular grade school game Oregon Trail is coming to Facebook.

I usually ignore just about every Facebook game or app request (no, I will not join your mafia or water your plants in Farmville), but I can definitely see myself wasting lots of time traversing the trails in a covered wagon and crying over friends and family as they die from cholera or dysentery.

Meanwhile, if your wanderlust is reaching past the old west, you can also try out the Facebook version of Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego. The scarlet-clad spy who put the "miss" in "missdemeanor" and (allegedly) stole the beans from Lima is coming back to our computers as well. Both games are slated to launch this February.

Check out the trailers for both games.

Oregon Trail:

Carmen Sandiego:

Now if only they can get Rockapella to come back and sing the Carmen Sandiego theme song...

Hey, a girl can dream, can't she?

--Danielle Capriato

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Well, 9 outta 10 ain't bad, right?

So I was off by one. I thought the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science would favor "Blue Valentine" over "127 Hours." Other than that miss, I correctly predicted the Oscar nominations on this blog Monday.

Check out more on this morning's Oscar nominations here.

-- Mark Meszoros

Monday, January 24, 2011

Look for these 10 films to make waves Tuesday

Your friendly neighborhood movie writer here with a quick hit with predictions for which 10 films will receive Oscar nods Tuesday morning.

I compiled this list quickly last week with plans to reveal it during my weekly Thursday morning hit on WELW-AM 1330, but the conversation didn't go that way. (Such is the way with radio, I'm learning).

Anyway, here is the 10-pack of films I expect to receive Oscar nods:

Black Swan
The Fighter
The King's Speech
The Social Network
The Kids Are All Right
True Grit
Toy Story 3
Blue Valentine
Winter’s Bone

Let me be absolutely clear: These are not the 10 films I think SHOULD receive them, rather which ones will. This isn't rocket science. The first five were the nominees for the Golden Globe for best drama film ("The Social Network" won), followed by the winner in the comedy musical category, followed by a movie that surprisingly went un-nominated but that has been a commercial and critical hit, followed by the best-reviewed film of 2010, followed by two wonderful, well-reviewed movies.

(I saw "Blue Valentine" over the weekend, and wow. Good, strong stuff. Maybe a little predictable, but the drama about a young marriage falling apart boasted terrific performances by Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams and pitch-perfect direction from Derek Cianfrance, who whose work I'm not yet familiar. That needs to change. He made this movie feel so real and intimate that I felt a little guilty watching this couple's life fall apart -- like I had no right to be intruding on their privacy. The movie can be found at the Cedar Lee Theatre in Cleveland Heights. Read the Associated Press review here.)

Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams star in "Blue Valentine."

Over the next few weeks, I'll actually rank the 10 best films of 2010 as I see them. It won't be easy, and, as you can guess, "Blue Valentine" will get some consideration for the top spot. I still need to see a few 2011 films -- "The Kids Are All Right" among them. If you're also behind, there's no time like the present to get started. 

-- Mark Meszoros

Sunday, January 23, 2011

This weekend's top movie gave me an earworm

Does anyone else think of the *NSYNC song when they hear the phrase "No strings attached"? Anyone? Anyone? Buehler?

This weekend's box office totals, according to The Associated Press:
1. “No Strings Attached,” $20.3 million. (Review from The AP's Christy Lemire)
2. “The Green Hornet,” $18.1 million. (Review from Lemire)
3. “The Dilemma,” $9.7 million. (Review from The AP's Jake Coyle)
4. “The King’s Speech,” $9.2 million. (Review from Lemire; "Colin Firth stammers eloquently as King George" by The AP's David Germain)
5. “True Grit,” $8 million. (Review from Lemire)
6. “Black Swan,” $6.2 million. (Review from Lemire)
7. “The Fighter,” $4.5 million. (Review from Germain)
8. “Little Fockers,” $4.4 million. (Review from Germain)
9. “Yogi Bear,” $4.1 million. (Review from Coyle)
10. “Tron: Legacy,” $3.7 million. (Review from The News-Herald's Mark Meszoros; "Picky Bridges picks 'Tron' sequel, working with Coens again" by Germain)

-- Cheryl Sadler

Labels: ,

Thursday, January 20, 2011

CAKE debuts with lowest No. 1 record sales of all-time

With CAKE being one of my favorite bands of all-time, it was bittersweet to see on Wednesday, their sixth-studio album - Showroom of Compassion - debuted at No. 1 on the billboard charts.

It was their first No. 1 record to debut at No. 1 in their 20-year history. The problem, it was the lowest selling album in the history of record sales to land at No. 1.

CAKE’s latest album, their first in seven years, sold just 44,000 records and is a painful reminder that the record industry is in complete disarray.

Don’t believe me? Go to your local Best Buy, Target or Walmart to see how much they’ve downsized their CD stock.

I used to go to Best Buy weekly for years and look through their enormous CD selection. Now when I step foot in there, I can hardly find the CD section, let alone the CD I actually want.

Call me old fashioned, but I still support my favorite bands/artists by buying their CDs.

Three quick things about CAKE having the lowest selling No. 1 record of all-time:

1.) This record will keep breaking, like on a weekly basis, as the record industry continues its downswing.

2.) The first quarter of every year sees its lowest record sales. It’s right after the holidays and record labels normally save their bigger releases for summer or just before the holidays to drive sales boosts.

3.) Despite being the lowest selling No. 1 record of all-time, selling 44,000 copies is still impressive for a band like CAKE for three reasons. One, Showroom of Compassion was independently released, meaning, they didn’t have a major record label to pay for promotions, shipping, music videos, etc. Two, It’s their first release in seven years. Half the country probably had forgotten the band still existed. And lastly, CAKE was never a big selling band in the first place.

So I really hope after 20 years, CAKE doesn’t become known as the “band with the lowest No. 1 selling record album of all-time.”

To put things in perspective of how things have fallen in the past five years. In 2008, Lil Wayne's Tha Carter III sold a million records. In one week. 

That’s 956,000 more records sold in one week than what CAKE just sold.

In 2006, Brand New’s The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me sold 61,000 copies in one week...and that debuted at No. 31 on the billboard charts. That's 17,000 more than what CAKE just sold and landed 31 slots behind No. 1.

People just aren’t buying CDs anymore.

So the whole “CAKE has the no. 1 lowest selling album of all-time” shouldn’t be a reflection on the band whatsoever. It’s not their fault that the record industry is in shambles.

By Nick Carrabine

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

"How Did This Get Made?" How didn't this get made earlier?

I just discovered what might be my favorite podcast. "How Did This Get Made?" features host Paul Scheer with June Diane Raphael and Jason Mantzoukas talking about awful movies -- wondering, as the title suggests, "How did this get made?"

The given description of the podcast is as follows:
Have you ever watched a movie so terrible, so unwatchable, that it actually is amazing? I'm talking about movies like Wild Hogs, Crank 2: High Voltage, The Room, Howard the Duck, or any movie past 2001 with Steven Seagal. If you answered yes then this show is for you. We love these terrible movies and on each episode Paul Scheer (Human Giant) leads a roundtable discussion with June Diane Raphael (Flight of the Conchords) and Jason Mantzoukas (The League) along with a celebrity guest to try to make sense of ONE film that makes absolutely no sense. We'll share our WTF moments, favorite lines, and even read your thoughts on the film, just send them to - Because the best part of a bad movie is talking about it afterwards. Note: For fullest enjoyment, watch the movie before listening!

I've always found Paul Scheer hysterical, and I think this podcast is the perfect platform for his comedy. I haven't seen either of the movies discussed in the first two episodes, but I don't need to now that I've heard the awful commentary detailing the movies in their entirety. Though the description recommends watching the awful movies before listening to the podcast, I don't think that's necessary (especially if you don't want to spend $10 to sit through two hours of Nicolas Cage or Christina Aguilera).

I'm almost anxiously looking forward to a podcast on a horrible movie that I enjoy. Surely the commentary will be hilarious, but will it ruin my illusions about the quality of the film?

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, or listen to the episodes Earwolf. Note the "Explicit" label, which is there for a reason. Listener discretion is advised.

-- Cheryl Sadler

Labels: ,

Monday, January 17, 2011

'Social Network' proves golden

Instead of watching the Golden Globe Awards, I chose to watch the latest Blu-ray from Netflix collecting dust near my entertainment center. (That movie, for those wondering, was “I’m Still Here,” the mockumentary about Jaoquin Phoenix’s supposed retirement from acting to pursue a hip-hop career. There was probably a really great movie to be made there; “I’m Still Here” wasn’t it.)

But I think I’m caught up with Sunday night’s goings-on. Host Ricky Gervais was funny if jerky and “The Social Network” put itself in the driver’s seat for a big Oscar night by winning the Golden Globe for best drama film.

"The Social Network" stars Jesse Eisenberg, left, as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

If there’s such a thing as a sure bet it’s that the so-called “Facebook movie” will be one of the 10 films to be nominated for best picture when the nods are announced Jan. 25. Two of the competitors are sure to be “Black Swan and “The King’s Speech,” with fellow Golden Globe drama nominees “Inception” and “The Fighter” also likely to be in the mix.

It’s too early for any real prediction. After all, what wins the big Oscar has as much — maybe more — to do with it’s campaigning this time of year as it does with it’s actual quality as a work of cinema. Nevertheless, my guess is “The Social Network,” directed by David Fincher (“Fight Club,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”) and written by Aaron Sorkin (“The West Wing,” “A Few Good Men”) will take the top prize.

Still, I can’t shake the feeling that “Black Swan,” the haunting psychological ballet drama directed by Darren Aronofsky and starring Natalie Portman, could get in the mix. I’m probably crazy, though. The experts on Gold — a site started, sold off and now owned again by Mentor native Tom O’Neil, an awards show expert — had the Globes as a two-horse race between “Network” and “The King’s Speech.” (The latter, by the way, is a wonderfully enjoyable film, but it doesn’t feel like an Oscar winner to me. I’d like to be wrong; I enjoyed it more than “Network.”)

I’m a bit sorry I didn’t see the Globes if only for all the uncomfortable moments created by second-time host Ricky Gervais. If you missed him, as well, check out some highlights here.

-- Mark Meszoros

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Solid first-place finish for new release 'Green Hornet'

Less than stellar reviews don't seem to keep people from seeing big releases at the box office. Case in point: "The Green Hornet" had a great debut (compared with what other films brought in this weekend), and "Little Fockers," "Yogi Bear" and "Season of the Witch" are still in the top 10.

From The Associated Press:
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Final figures will be released Tuesday.
1. “The Green Hornet,” $34 million. (Review from The AP's Christy Lemire)
2. “The Dilemma,” $17.4 million. (Review from The AP's Jake Coyle)
3. “True Grit,” $11.2 million. (Review from Lemire)
4. “The King’s Speech,” $9 million. (Review from Lemire; "Colin Firth stammers eloquently as King George" by The AP's David Germain)
5. “Black Swan,” $8.1 million. (Review from Lemire)
6. “Little Fockers,” $7.1 million. (Review from Germain)
7. “Tron: Legacy,” $5.6 million. (Review from The News-Herald's Mark Meszoros; "Picky Bridges picks 'Tron' sequel, working with Coens again" by Germain)
8. “Yogi Bear,” $5.3 million. (Review from Coyle)
9. “The Fighter,” $5.1 million. (Review from Germain)
10. “Season of the Witch,” $4.5 million. (Review from Lemire)

-- Cheryl Sadler

Labels: ,

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

CAKE: Showroom of Compassion

“It’s been a long time,
Since I’ve seen your smiling face.
It’s been a long time,
Since I’ve seen a su-u-u-u-u-u-unny day.”

Indeed it’s been a long time.

It’s been seven years since CAKE has released their last studio album, Pressure Chief.

Throughout the past 16 years, CAKE has remained one of my favorite bands despite consistently releasing inconsistent albums.

However even their albums that misfire still contain some absolute great material on them. Although I have all their albums, I once made a compilation disc in college of my favorite 20 CAKE songs from their first five albums and to this day it remains a disc that I cannot live without. (I’ve never done this for another band/artist.)

CAKE has always been an off-kiltered, unique band using a variety of instruments where vocalist John McCrea often talks rather than sings influenced by 60s rock and elements of hip-hop. They began their career (1994) when bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains and Stone Temple Pilots were in their height of theirs.

In essence, CAKE was anti-grunge, and really, anti-any musical genre.

They were and remain their own genre using everything from electric guitars to trumpets, horns, keyboards and a variety of other instruments I’ve never heard of (The instrument list for Showroom of Compassion besides the basic drum, guitar and bass include: trumpet, keyboards, piano, euphonium, nord, synthesizer, rheem and bandalero.)

The band’s latest disc, Showroom of Compassion — released today — may actually be their most consistent album since Fashion Nugget, released in 1996.

The album starts off with a slightly disappointing opener in “Federal Funding” but is quickly followed up with arguably the two best tracks on the album, “Long Time” and “Got to Move.”

“Got To Move” may actually be one of the more melodic and catchy CAKE song in the band’s 16-year catalog.

The fourth track, “What’s Now is Now” is forgettable and the fifth track, “Mustache Man” is saved by a chorus (“I’ve was-ted, so much time.”) that will stay stuck in your head for days.

The sixth track,” Teenage Pregnancy” is a haunting, dark piano instrumental with various “yeahs” thrown out by McCrea during the portion of the song. Had the song had lyrics, it may have been the best track on the album.

“Sick of You,” the album’s first single is the next track and has caught on after multiple listens. I didn’t like it at first, but it has grown on me over time.

“Easy to Crash,” “Bound Away,” and “This Winter” are all above average songs, with “Easy to Crash” probably coming in as the third best track on the album. “This Winter” is the slowest song on the album and while the band often drifted into some dark material, rarely do they ever have slow songs.

The final song, “The Italian Guy” is a bit of a mystery. Not bad but not great and sort of a disappointing album closer.

Upon first listen of the album, I was disappointed after waiting seven years for a CAKE release, but after listening to it back and forth repeatedly for four straight days, not only has it grown on me, but I can safely say this is the band’s second best album behind Fashion Nugget.

By Nick Carrabine

Sunday, January 2, 2011

LOST circa 1967

I just discovered this video of the "Lost" opening credits ... if it were set in the 1960s (the video includes shots of partial nudity, but nothing you wouldn't find on prime-time TV):


I miss Jack and Sawyer and the Island and Hurley and even the Smoke Monster.

-- Cheryl Sadler

Labels: , ,

'Fockers' at No. 1 again

With nothing new at the box office this week, the rankings stayed pretty similar to last week's tally. Which movies did you catch over the holiday weekends?

From The Associated Press:
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Final figures will be released Monday.
1. “Little Fockers,” $26.3 million. (Review from The AP's David Germain)
2. “True Grit,” $24.5 million. (Review from The AP's Christy Lemire)
3. “Tron: Legacy,” $18.3 million. (Review from The News-Herald's Mark Meszoros; "Picky Bridges picks 'Tron' sequel, working with Coens again" by Germain)
4. “Yogi Bear,” $13 million. (Review from The AP's Jake Coyle)
5. “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” $10.5 million. (Review from Coyle)
6. “Tangled,” $10.01 million. (Review from Coyle)
7. “The Fighter,” $10 million. (Review from Germain)
8. “Gulliver’s Travels,” $9.1 million.
9. “Black Swan,” $8.5 million. (Review from Lemire)
10. “The King’s Speech,” $7.6 million. (Review from Lemire; "Colin Firth stammers eloquently as King George" by Germain)

-- Cheryl Sadler

Labels: ,