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.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Stuck in My Head: "Pinball Wizard"

I heard the word "pinball" at some point today, and have been humming this ditty ever since.

"Pinball Wizard" by The Who:

Danielle Capriato |

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Bravo rundown

If Housewives, wealthy singles and competition shows aren't your thing, you can probably tune out of this blog entry right now.

I watch a lot of Bravo - well, almost exclusively Bravo, so I'm in kind of a Bravo bubble. The network has premiered several shows over the summer, and I have a lot of thoughts to share about the happenings.

(I know I don't watch many quality TV shows, so no need to lecture me about how I should be watching "Mad Men" or something.)

Real Housewives of New Jersey

The Real Housewives of New Jersey
This might be my favorite season yet of any of the Housewives series. If you're thinking about getting into the series (though you probably shouldn't waste your time), a marathon of this season's Jersey ladies would be the way to go. The dynamic of the current cast of characters is much better than in past seasons, showing the good and bad of everyone (but mostly the good of Caroline, whom I think everyone wants as their second mom [and not just because her son is gorgeous]). Teresa, who in past seasons seemed fun and sane, now seems like she is trying to put on a show to keep everything together. Maybe it was a bad idea for her to agree to this season, with the legal issues that have been going on with her family. Add to that the family feud with sister-in-law Melissa and cousin Kathy, and she's poised for a complete breakdown on national television. God, this show sounds so trashy. Did I really call it my favorite in the franchise?

Millionaire Matchmaker

I blogged a few weeks ago about how I was looking forward to the return of Patti Stanger and crew, and their matchmaking hijinks. So far this season, I'm disappointed. The matchmaking crew spent season four in New York City, and upon their return to L.A. this year, Patti spent plenty of time trashing NYC and the people there. From that point forward, season five has seem scripted. The first season or two of the show seemed much more staged, while the third and fourth were a little more natural. This season, though, has regressed a bit to the set-up situations. Patti's comments seem more unnatural, instead of her usual off-the-cuff wit. This week's episode - the third this season - has been my favorite so far, because it involved a charming prince and an awkward guy who works with my friend. But if more of the episodes are like the first two than the third, I'm not sure how much longer I will be reserving space on my DVR for this show. (But I am really looking forward to the episode that will include Madison from "Million Dollar Listing.")

Flipping Out

I'll try to avoid gushing about this show and just say that I love Jeff, Jenni and Zoila. I don't think I'm learning anything about interior design or remodeling homes, but I am laughing pretty hard when I'm watching it.

Most Eligible Dallas

I hope this show doesn't come back for a second season. I might tune out at some point, and it will be much easier to do that if it's not going to be back again. I don't know how it will be back again, anyway, because shouldn't these people be finding love? And that would make them less than most eligible. They should have just done a Real Housewives of Dallas.

Top Chef: Just Desserts

A group of pastry chefs competing to make the best desserts? The worst part about this show is that you can't taste what they're making.

Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

Taylor and Russell in happier times.
Oh, the elephant in the room. After the husband of one of the Housewives killed himself earlier this month, Bravo announced it would re-edit the footage from this season, which premieres Monday. What a tough situation. Taylor's storyline this season involved her troubles with husband Russell, so it will be interesting to see how the network incorporates or omits his presence. Prior to Russell's suicide, I had been looking forward to this season to see what was happening with the ladies. Sisters Kim and Kyle ended last season with a bit of exposure of some major problems between them, so I'm curious how their relationship has changed since then. And Camille is newly divorced from Kelsey Grammer, so I wonder if she'll be as much of a mean girl as she was last season.

So much bad TV to watch, so little time.

-- Cheryl Sadler | | @nhcheryl

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Monday, August 29, 2011

Stuck in My Head: "Dog Days Are Over"

I heard this song while at the gym today, and I've been singing it to myself ever since. I'm a fan of Florence + The Machine, and maybe you are too.

Danielle Capriato |

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Sunday, August 28, 2011

'Help' stays on top during weak weekend

Does the summer always end with such weak movies? The past few weekends at the box office have been less-than impressive, but surely that's because movie-goers are done with summer vacation and heading back to their real lives, and the big-budget movies with big-budget marketing came to theaters two months ago.

From The Associated Press:
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Where available, latest international numbers also are included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. “The Help,” $14.3 million. (Review by The AP's David Germain)
2. “Colombiana,” $10.3 million. (Review by The AP's Christy Lemire)
3. “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark,” $8.7 million. (Review by Germain)
4. “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” $8.65 million ($22.1 million international). (Review by The News-Herald's Mark Meszoros; "Movie simians rise to next level in new 'Apes' prequel" by Germain)
5. “Our Idiot Brother,” $6.6 million. (Review by Lemire)
6. “Spy Kids: All the Time in the World,” $5.7 million.
7. “The Smurfs,” $4.8 million.
8. “Conan the Barbarian,” $3.1 million. (Review by Lemire)
9. “Fright Night,” $3 million. (Review by Lemire)
10. “Crazy, Stupid, Love,” $2.9 million. (Review by Lemire)

-- Cheryl Sadler | | @nhcheryl

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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Stuck in My Head: "Pardon Me"/The Incubus concert rocked my face off

Remember when I said I was going to the Incubus concert?

Oh yes. It was awesome.

It was my first time seeing the band live, and for a long-time fan like myself, it was a real treat. Friday night was a gorgeous night in the flats for the concert, and it was a great way to end the summer.

Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine opened. He played some of his solo pieces, and also did a pretty kickin' rendition of "The Ghost of Tom Joad." Also, he played his guitar with his mouth. Pretty unimpressive stuff. (KIDDING)

Incubus sounded awesome live, almost CD-quality. It was a great show. The crowd loved it, especially when they played "Wish You Were Here," "Nice to Know You," "Drive," and "Megalomaniac."

They opened with "Pardon Me," one of my favorites. It has been playing in my head quite a bit since the show, which is why it's my current "Stuck in My Head." Enjoy:

Danielle Capriato |

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Hawaii Five-O: Terry O'Quinn to the rescue

Followers of CBS' fun reboot of Hawaii Five-O know the Five-O team has been broken up and is in serious trouble.

Terry O'Quinn (aka Locke from "Lost") is coming to the rescue. The second season starts Sept. 19. Check out the video below:

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Friday, August 26, 2011

Stuck in My Head: "Promises, Promises"

Because I'm going to the Incubus concert tonight, I've been listening a lot to one of my favorite bands.

Here's a taste of what they will likely perform at the concert, "Promises, Promises," off their new album, "If Not Now, When?"

Danielle Capriato |

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A look at Steve Jobs

I've always been a fan of Apple. From my very first iPod to my beloved Macbook, I have enjoyed incorporating Apple products into my everyday life. As news came out today that Steve Jobs was leaving Apple, I started thinking about the man behind the company that has undoubtedly changed the way we all view and use technology.

If you're looking for more information on the tech giant, here is a quick storify of some interesting Steve Jobs/Apple-related news:

Danielle Capriato | | @DCapriato

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Muppet Show Theme Song as done by OK Go

Cheryl has blogged several times about her love for OK Go's music videos. However, a friend of mine posted this one on Facebook today and I just had to share it. It's not quite the next "Stuck in My Head" blog, but it's definitely worth a look.

In this video, OK Go partners with the Muppets for a rendition of the ever-popular theme song from the beloved Jim Henson show.

I love it. And it reminds me that I can't wait to see the new Muppets movie in November.

If you don't remember the original theme song, here's a fun video:

Danielle Capriato | | @DCapriato

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The Kardashian wedding

If your invitation to Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries' wedding got lost in the mail, don't worry!

Storify user eldu put together a Storify on the wedding, including videos, photos, tweets from the family and well wishes from the public. Check it out below, you know, if you're into that kind of stuff. (If you're not, that's your fault for reading this blog post, right?)

If you can't get enough of the Kim-Kris wedding, don't worry! You only have to wait until 8 p.m. Oct. 9 and 9 p.m. Oct 10 when the two-part special will air on E!.

Let's just say for example that someone got up at 4:30 a.m. to watch the Royal Wedding ... does that person have a right to roll her eyes and blog sarcastically about the over-the-top-ness of the Kardashian wedding? I sure hope so, because she just did.

-- Cheryl Sadler | | @nhcheryl

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Monday, August 22, 2011

Stuck in My Head: "Can't Hug Every Cat"

Ever have a song, or part of a song, play on loop in your head for days on end?

Of course you have.

It happens to me all the time. So much, in fact, that I've decided I would share my misery with the world on this blog. Maybe these songs will get stuck in your heads, too. Maybe you'll discover new music to enjoy. Or maybe not.

In any event, the song stuck in my head this week is not a song you will probably ever hear on the radio, something for which you might be thankful. "Can't Hug Every Cat" is actually a songify; a fake dating video was turned into a hilariously catchy musical number featuring an overly dramatic cat lover and some of her favorite animals friends playing backup.

See the original, un-songify-ed video here:

Danielle Capriato |


Sunday, August 21, 2011

'Help' overtakes 'Apes'

A bit of a weird weekend at the box office. Three blockbusters - "Harry Potter," "Captain America" and "Cowboys & Aliens" - lost spots in the top 10. "The Help" surpassed "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" for the No. 1 spot. "The Help" must be quite a good movie to overtake a summer action film in the second week for both. I know one News-Herald movie reviewer who saw it this weekend and said he got a bit misty-eyed.

From The Associated Press:
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Where available, latest international numbers are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. “The Help,” $20.5 million. (Review by The AP's David Germain)
2. “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” $16.3 million. (Review by The News-Herald's Mark Meszoros; "Movie simians rise to next level in new 'Apes' prequel" by Germain)
3. “Spy Kids: All the Time in the World,” $12 million.
4. “Conan the Barbarian,” $10 million. (Review by The AP's Christy Lemire)
5. “Fright Night,” $8.3 million. (Review by Lemire)
6. “The Smurfs,” $8 million ($35.3 million international).
7. “Final Destination 5,” $7.7 million.
8. “30 Minutes or Less,” $6.3 million. (Review by Meszoros)
9. “One Day,” $5.1 million.
10. “Crazy, Stupid, Love,” $5 million. (Review by Lemire)

-- Cheryl Sadler | | @nhcheryl

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Friday, August 19, 2011

'Jaws' at Playhouse Square: What a night

As my wife and I drove to Playhouse Square to watch a screening of the 1975 classic "Jaws," I told her I thought maybe 100 would be at the venue that holds over 2,500.

Was I wrong, and this movie-going night could have not been more right.

A special thank you to Playhouse Square, which showed "Jaws" on Thursday night as part of its 14th annual Cinema at the Square! series.

At least 1,000 were there to watch the movie about a killer shark that terrorizes a small beach town. The crowd, myself included, wasn't simply into the film. We were all really, really into the film.

When it was time to laugh, scream and clap, the crowd did so with energy. It felt like opening night for "Jaws" in 1975. A huge reaction occurred when actor Roy Scheider uttered his famous line, "You're gonna need a bigger boat."

When the film's credits began to roll, it was time for the final ovation of the night. Plenty in attendance were of the older variety, but many were teen-agers, some even younger, proving why "Jaws" has and will always stand the test of time.

Isn't that what any great film does?

- Mark Podolski

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Monday, August 15, 2011

Mourning Elvis 34 years later

Maybe things like this shouldn't surprise me anymore.

Those people are holding vigil at Graceland for Elvis Presley - who died 34 years ago Tuesday.

Maybe it's because he died seven years before I was born, but I'm having trouble understanding why people would flock to mourn him so many years later.

Read more from The Associated Press here.

-- Cheryl Sadler | | @nhcheryl


First week of The Avengers in downtown Cleveland

A week ago, "The Avengers" set up shop in downtown Cleveland to film the movie, which is due in theaters next year. View the Storify below to see what Cleveland area residents shared from the set.

-- Cheryl Sadler | | @nhcheryl

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Patti Stanger and the matchmaking crew are back.

One of my favorite shows, "The Millionaire Matchmaker," comes back for a fifth season at 9 p.m. today on Bravo TV.

The show stars Patti Stanger, the millionaire matchmaker and CEO of an exclusive dating service, the Millionaire's Club. In advance of the season five premiere, I read Stanger's book "Become Your Own Matchmaker: 8 Easy Steps for Attracting Your Perfect Mate". I was kind of bored and underwhelmed with it. Check out my review, and come back later this week to see my initial thoughts on the fifth season.

-- Cheryl Sadler | | @nhcheryl

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

'Apes' on top again

Shouldn't be much of a surprise that a big summer blockbuster has stayed at the top of the box office for a second straight weekend. What might be surprising is how awful "The Change-Up" must be if in its second week, it's already barely hanging on to Top 10 status.

From The Associated Press:
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Where available, latest international numbers are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” $27.5 million ($40.5 million international). (Review by The News-Herald's Mark Meszoros; "Movie simians rise to next level in new 'Apes' prequel" by The AP's David Germain)
2. “The Help,” $25.5 million. (Review by Germain)
3. “Final Destination 5,” $18.4 million.
4. “The Smurfs,” $13.5 million ($60 million international).
5. “30 Minutes or Less,” $13 million. (Review by Meszoros)
6. “Cowboys & Aliens,” $7.6 million ($7 million international). (Review by Germain)
7. “Captain America: The First Avenger,” $7.1 million ($12.2 million international). (Review by Meszoros; "Evans apprehensive about clutching shield in 'Captain America'" by The AP's Derrik J. Lang; "Captain America's co-creator proud of patriotic hero" by The AP's Matt Moore)
8. “Crazy, Stupid, Love,” $6.93 million. (Review by Lemire)
9. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” $6.9 million ($30 million international). (Review by Meszoros; "But what if the 'Harry Potter' stars had never been cast?" by Germain)
10. “The Change-Up,” $6.2 million. (Review by The AP's Christy Lemire)

-- Cheryl Sadler | | @nhcheryl

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Finally, 'Jaws' on the big screen

To me, there's nothing like a great movie on the big screen.

To me, there isn't a movie better than "Jaws," the movie that started the summer blockbuster genre.

I've watched the movies countless times, but I've never seen it on the big screen. Until now, or least next week. The countdown has started and I can't wait.

On Thursday, Aug. 18, Playhouse Square is showing "Jaws" as part of its Cinema at the Square series. My wife and I will be there. It should be a moviegoing experience unlike any other. The 1975 film starring Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Shaw and Roy Scheider is one of a kind, and the ultimate summer flick.

If you've never seen "Jaws,"  and are heading the Aug. 18 showing, I am jealous. I wish I could see the film that made Steven Spielberg a star for the first time all over again. Let the countdown begin, but remember:

Don't go in the water.

- Mark Podolski

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The lost "Lost" footage

If you're still mourning the end of "Lost" and didn't make it to Comic-Con this year, you might want to check out the video below. Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse showed the clip to prove they had all of "Lost" planned out all along.

Note: Major spoiler alert. Also: Bleeped language at the end of the clip.

-- Cheryl Sadler | | @nhcheryl

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Sorry to see 'Platinum Hit' end

I get sucked into everything Bravo TV, and the summer's new show "Platinum Hit" was no exception.

I. Loved. This. Show.

I'm worried I might have been in quite the minority on that, though. The show premiered on Monday night, and partway through the season was moved to 8 p.m. Fridays. The Friday night timeslot traditionally isn't the most desired - although, I'm sure in the time of DVR that makes a little less of a difference.

"Platinum Hit" is a songwriting competition, with 12 people vying to write the next platinum hit. Each week the contestants wrote a hook (chorus) in a specific genre or on a specific topic. Judges would select the top hooks, and winners would pick teams schoolyard style to turn the winning hooks into full songs. After sometimes-intense songwriting sessions, the contestants perform their songs for the judges, who then select a winning song and a losing song. And in true contest-show style, one member of the losing team goes home. The show ended Friday night, and I'm thrilled with the winning songwriter, who is so incredibly lyrically talented. 

What made this show different than "American Idol"? (Yes, both feature Kara DioGuardi as a judge.) "Platinum Hit" is all about the writing and much less about the performing - and that's what I found so interesting about it. Watching the whole songwriting process was pretty fascinating, as the contestants would focus on the tiniest details with words and pitch and notes, writing and writing and rewriting. I never really thought much about what makes a song a hit song, but I could usually tell what was good and what was bad. Hearing the feedback from the judges helped me understand why what I was hearing was good or bad. The judges often had suggestions for ways lyrics or melody could be written better. I often watched the judges' comments thinking, "Oooooh, right!" I loved a lot of the music that came out of the show and experiencing hit songs from behind the performance.

I have a feeling this is going to be one of the one season-and-done shows. Most of Bravo's shows focus on a group of people, following them from one season to the next. Will "Platinum Hit" be the next "Top Chef"? Unfortunately, I don't think so. I think people care more about watching food made than watching songs be written. It was a good show to have on the DVR all summer, and I'll be disappointed if it doesn't come back next year.

View a video of a sneak peek of the season here:

If you don't mind the season being spoiled, check out the full performance of the winning hit below:

-- Cheryl Sadler | | @nhcheryl


Monday, August 8, 2011

The Times They Are a-Changin'

Sure, the song says “Everybody must get stoned,” but after seeing the great Bob Dylan Saturday night at Jacob’s Pavilion at Nautica in Cleveland, the phrase running through my mind is “Everybody must get old.”
Don’t get it twisted – I love Dylan. After all, the dude is 70 and still rocking out. And he did rock Saturday night – just not as long as I remember him rocking at previous shows.
I’m guessing that was my seventh time seeing one of the greatest songwriters of the the 20th century. Maybe it was six, maybe it was eight, but you get the idea: I’m no stranger to Dylan concerts.
If you’ve seen Dylan over the last 15 years or so, you know what you’re going to get. Dylan drags his now-gravelly voice through a selection of tunes from his vast discography, reinventing them along the way. This is not a man who sings songs they way they sound on his record. Accept this, and you’re likely to enjoy them.
It helps that Dylan always has a topnotch backup band. The evolving collection of musicians always brings a nice rock crunch to his often folkie repertoire.
Saturday night, Bob Dylan and His Band rock and rolled through a set that began with “Rainy Day Women No. 12 & 35” (“Everybody must get stoned”) and soon gave us “Tangled Up in Blue” and “Missisippi” – one of his best songs of the last decade – before steamrolling through “Highway 61 Revisited,” “Like a Rolling Stone” and “All Along the Watchtower.”
It was all good, but it was over pretty fast. But hey, when I’m 70 I’m guessing I’ll be taking it lot easier than Dylan.
My only real complaint with the show was its strict anti-photography policy. Many artists frown on fans taking video with their smartphones, but they’re generally fine with still photography. Not Dylan. His people had the Nautica staff in crackdown mode. When I merely had my phone in my hand, I was told by one very nice gentleman that they didn’t even want people having their cell phones out. Either Dylan makes a lot of cash selling his image or this is one cat who really doesn’t like how he looks in photos.
It’s too bad. I like taking concert photos with my iPhone 4, posting a couple on social media sites and saving the rest for the memories. But, to quote The Rolling Stones, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”
I hope to see Dylan again, but who knows?
So no photos? Fine.
Fairly short set? Cool.
I still got one more night in the presence of an American icon and a musical genius.
-- Mark Meszoros

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Sunday, August 7, 2011

'Apes' rises to the top of the box office

Signs you made a bad movie: You fall to third place behind the movie with which you tied for first in the previous week, and that movie wasn't screened even for critics to review. Yes, I'm talking about you, "Cowboys & Aliens."

If you're reading this, you must like movies. If you haven't listened to this month's PopCultured audiocast, you should check it out. I moderate for the first time, and our topic is summer movies. Give it a listen.

From The Associated Press:
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Where available, latest international numbers are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” $54 million ($23.4 million international). (Review by The News-Herald's Mark Meszoros; "Movie simians rise to next level in new 'Apes' prequel" by The AP's David Germain)
2. “The Smurfs,” $21 million ($45.2 million international).
3. “Cowboys & Aliens,” $15.8 million. (Review by Germain)
4. “The Change-Up,” $13.5 million. (Review by The AP's Christy Lemire)
5. “Captain America: The First Avenger,” $13 million ($27.5 million international). (Review by Meszoros; "Evans apprehensive about clutching shield in 'Captain America'" by The AP's Derrik J. Lang; "Captain America's co-creator proud of patriotic hero" by The AP's Matt Moore)
6. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” $12.2 million ($61.8 million international). (Review by Meszoros; "But what if the 'Harry Potter' stars had never been cast?" by Germain)
7. “Crazy, Stupid, Love,” $12.1 million. (Review by Lemire)
8. “Friends with Benefits,” $4.7 million. (Review by The AP's Jake Coyle)
9. “Horrible Bosses,” $4.6 million ($7.7 million international). (Review by Meszoros)
10. “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” $3 million ($17.5 million international). (Review by Meszoros)

-- Cheryl Sadler | | @nhcheryl

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

AT&T predicted the future

I was recently shown these videos of AT&T commercials from 1993. It was a "you GOTTA see this!" sort of moment. "AT&T predicted the future!"

I was skeptical. But when I saw the commercials, I was flabbergasted. It's baffling to think that these originally aired in 1993. Everything from GPS units to Skype was depicted with startling accuracy when considering current common technology. But don't let me spoil this for you; check the commercials out for yourself:

After thinking about these ads, I realized that the military had probably been using a lot of this technology before it was available for the general public. It's still uncanny that these commercials were able to depict what would be daily life for many of us about 18 years later.

--Danielle Capriato |

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

OK Go - 'All is Not Lost'

I've blogged before about how OK Go does just the neatest things with their music videos, and they've done it again with "All is Not Lost."

Check out a screen grab from the semi-interactive version of the video:

That image hardly does the video justice (and actually is rather confusing to look at on its own).

The choreography isn't technically beautiful, but it's complicated and nearly flawless in that respect. (Whenever I watch one of their videos, I always wonder how many hours they spend shooting the same thing over and over and over to get it just perfect.)

The interactive aspect of the video is seeing your own message incorporated into the video. It only works in Google Chrome, so download and install it if you don't have it on your computer. Close any program that you don't need open (which will help the browser run better for this song). Put in the Google Chrome address bar. Follow the instructions from there. Make sure your sound is on so you can hear the song.

If you aren't able to watch the Chrome-ified version of the video with your own message, check out the official video below:

-- Cheryl Sadler | | @nhcheryl

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Monday, August 1, 2011

A 'Bee Movie' review

I finally caught an airing of "Bee Movie" - yes, nearly four years after the animated film hit theaters. If you are better at making it to the movies than I am, you already know that the movie is about a bee (voiced by Jerry Seinfeld) who doesn't want to do a bee job. He meets a florist (voiced by Renee Zellweger), whom he befriends. I don't want to give away too much of the plot, but it involves a lot of honey and the food industry, and a bee who wants one thing so badly until he realizes he never really wanted it.

My favorite thing about the movie was the incredible animation within the hive. The pollen-collecting, nectar-processing, honey-making footage was clever and complicated. I probably could have watched that for the entire 91 minutes - and almost wish that was an option. I didn't care as much for the big plot points that occurred out in our world. It's all predicated on the idea that bees can communicate by talking just like humans. Couldn't the writers have kept the problems inside the hive? Or is that too much like every other animated movie that anthropomorphizes its characters?

This is one of those movies that the kids will love and adults will like well enough to get through.

Watch a trailer here.

-- Cheryl Sadler | | @nhcheryl

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