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.
Sunday, September 30, 2012
'Hotel Transylvania' wins weekend box office
I have to say that I'm disappointed the movie starring the love of my life Joseph Gordon-Levitt didn't take first place at the weekend box office, but it's always those family-friendly movies that get the big bucks (even if it gets a bad review). Also, the No. 1 movie is seasonal, which can be hard to compete against.
(I inadvertently forgot about posting last weekend's box office numbers, so apologies to those of you who were looking for them and just couldn't figure out where else on the Internet you would find them.)
I got this note in my email the other day and had to share it. Pretty cool that the Zac Brown Band supports eating locally while on tour— and takes that opportunity to meet fans.
Mike and Diane Hiener, owners of Peters Creek Farm, Ltd. in
Dorset, Ashtabula County OH, will have a special customer on Saturday,
September 29, 2012.They will provide
vegetables used by Chef Rusty Hamlin of the Zac Brown Band during their stop at
Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls.Chef Rusty cooks for the band while they are on tour. Chef Rusty and the
band believe in supporting local farms while on tour and will purchase much of
their food from them directly and at farmers markets. The band also provides a
unique fan experience called an Eat and Greet.Many artists will arrange to meet with their fans while on tour.The Zac Brown Band takes it one step
further.At most stops, they provide a
full course gourmet meal for about 120 lucky people.The food is masterfully prepared by Chef
Rusty and his crew and the menu includes creations from both Chef Rusty and Zac
Brown who was a chef before the band became his full time occupation.At the Eat and Greets, the band mingles and
eats dinner with their fans.
While the menu has not been set, the Hieners grow a wide
variety of vegetables, everything from asparagus to zucchini, for their CSA,
farmers markets, restaurants and other customers. Chef Rusty is expected to be
at the Countryside Conservancy Farmers Market at Howe Meadow where the Hieners
sell their produce, 4040 Riverview Road in Peninsula the morning of the 29th
to pick up his order and shop from the other vendors.
The Zac Brown Band performed
in and around their home base of Atlanta, Georgia for many years, but came onto
the national country music scene in 2008 with the release of their major label
debut album The Foundation which included “Chicken Fried” their first of
many number one country music singles.The
band won the 2009 Grammy for Best New Artist.Their current and third studio album Uncaged was released in July
2012 and debuted at No.1 on the Billboard album chart.The Zac Brown Band has made their success by
building a fan base from the ground up through intimate fan contact such as
their Eat and Greets and their support of local businesses. Band members include Zac Brown (lead vocal,
guitar), Jimmy DeMartini (violin, vocals), John Driskell Hopkins (bass,
vocals), Coy Bowles (guitar, organ), Chris Fryar (drums), Daniel de los Reyes
(percussionist), and Clay Cook (guitar, keyboard, mandolin, pedal steel,
Peters Creek Farm, Ltd. from Ashtabula County is a local
grower of high quality produce that can be found at farmers markets in
Peninsula, Shaker Heights, Jefferson and Ashtabula and through their Community
Supported Agriculture program with its sister farm from Jefferson; Covered
Bridge Gardens. The Hieners can be reached at 3451 South Denmark Road, Dorset,
OH 44032. (440) 858-9741.Their farm
blog can be found at http://peterscreekfarmblog.blogspot.com and Peters CreekFarm can also be found on Facebook.
DVD/Blu Ray review: The Dark Knight Returns (not Rises!)
If you were wondering where Christopher Nolan found inspiration for his mega blockbuster film, "The Dark Knight Rises," look no further than "The Dark Knight Returns," a series of comics penned by Frank Miller in the 1980s.
It tells the story of an aging Bruce Wayne who's been retired as Batman (sound familiar?) for 10 years only to return when Gotham City needs him most.
"The Dark Knight Returns" can be easily found in graphic novel form now, but when it first hit comic book shops in the 1980s as a four-part series it turned the Batman character upside down, and in a good way. Miller's depiction was dark ... very dark, and eye-opening.
Over the years, fanboys have begged for a movie company to bring "The Dark Knight Returns," to the big screen, but it hasn't happened.
Warner Bros. took a different route - a straight-to-video animated film - and the result is impressive. Warner Bros. made the film in two parts, Part 1 on DVD and Blu Ray was released on Tuesday, and for good reason. The first film is 1 hour, 16 minutes, which is long for an animated film.
Do the math. Producing an animated film that would have likely been close to two-and-a-half hours doesn't make sense. On one hand, die-hard Batman fans have to be disappointed they must wait until early 2013 for Part 2, but it will be worth it. Part 1 is must-see viewing for any Batman fan.
Warner Bros. has clearly taken its time transforming Miller's iconic graphic novel to film. A few scenes were eliminated completely (most likely because of time constraints), and some of the intense violence and language from the pages is toned down a bit for home viewing but not much.
If the first fight between Batman and Bane in Nolan's "The Dark Knight Rises" had your jaw dropped to the floor, the two fights between an even older Caped Crusader (he's at least 50 in "Returns") and the over-the-top, but super-cool mutant leader in Part 1 is more stunning. The final fight has the best line of the film. Batman as he's taking on the mutant leader: "You don't get it boy. This isn't a mudhole. It's an operating table, and I'm the surgeon." Get the point? It's the most violent animated film I've ever seen.
As for why Wayne returns to wear the cape and cowl, the obvious answer is the presence of old nemesis and friend Harvey Dent/Two-Face and a mutant gang that threatens to take over Gotham. Looking beyond that, it's about Wayne not being able to escape his inner Batman (again, sound familiar?) Why he's been retired for 10 years is hinted at, but never fully explained. Jason Todd, the second Robin after Dick Grayson, was murdered by the Joker, and a reference to that popular story from the '80s is the likely reason why Batman retired in the first place.
That's plenty to take in for Part 1, which ends with a teaser to the Dark Knight's ultimate foe, the Joker, for Part 2.
- No voice overs by Peter Weller (Robocop), the voice of Batman. One of the most iconic lines in the graphic novel of "Returns" is when Wayne makes his return as Batman. He does so on a rainy Gotham night, and as he's jumping off a rooftop he says to himself, "The rain on my chest is a baptism ... I'm born again." We don't get that fantastic line and others from the graphic novel in the film version.
- Blu Ray extras, especially the touting of the digital version of the graphic novel. Instead, it's only a few pages. How lame. There is a cool preview of Part 2 of "Returns," but not much else worth spending your time on. That's not the reason to buy this DVD or Blu Ray. The film itself is well worth the price.
Definitely worth plugging in for 'Revolution' tonight
I caught the pilot episode of NBC's new, post-apocalyptic drama "Revolution" on Hulu. You can watch it there now (or just scroll down to where I embedded the video at the end of this post) or wait until it premieres at 10 p.m. tonight on NBC.
Tracy Spiridakos as Charlie Matheson, left, and Billy Burke as Miles Matheson from the new series "Revolution." NBC/Associated Press
In case you haven't caught a commercial or promo for NBC's new, post-apocalyptic drama "Revolution," NBC offers this synopsis of the show:
What would you do without it all? In this epic adventure from J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot Productions and "Supernatural's" Eric Kripke, a family struggles to reunite in an American landscape where every single piece of technology - computers, planes, cars, phones, even lights - has mysteriously blacked out forever. A drama with sweeping scope and intimate focus, "Revolution" is also about family - both the family you're born into and the family you choose. This is a swashbuckling journey of hope and rebirth seen through the eyes of one strong-willed young woman, Charlie Matheson (Tracy Spiridakos, "Being Human"), and her brother Danny (Graham Rogers, "Memphis Beat"). When Danny is kidnapped by militia leaders for a darker purpose, Charlie must reconnect with her estranged uncle Miles (Billy Burke, "The Twilight Saga"), a former U.S. Marine living a reclusive life. Together, with a rogue band of survivors, they set out to rescue Danny, overthrow the militia and ultimately re-establish the United States of America. All the while, they explore the enduring mystery of why the power failed, and if - or how - it will ever return.
Swashbuckling? A long journey? A rogue band of companions? Sounds an awful lot like my favorite book: "The Hobbit." But unlike J.R.R. Tolkien's classic children's story soon to be a likely bloated three-movie silver screen escapade, which I will be first in line to see, there's actually female characters to be found here. In fact, the lead is a teenage girl who feels a bit like Everdeen Katniss from "The Hunger Games." The whole show has a certain Panem-feeling of decayed society turning back to a tech-free world, and I'd wager that if you liked Suzanne Collins' trilogy or it's film adaption you'll enjoy "Revolution," too.
The fast-paced pilot, directed by "Iron Man" director Jon Favreau, doesn't waste time. The world goes dark about two minutes into the episode with an eerie sequence that showcases some of the immediate results of a complete failure of all things tech.
A requisite commercial break interrupts the mayhem, and it returns "15 years after the blackout" with a educational voice describing what happened over vast scenes of decayed cities, overgrown streets, deserted parks, etc. The show has a lot of these vast landscapes interspersed with more intimate shots and scenes between the characters. "Revolution" has truly created an immense world in great detail for its characters to traverse.
JD Pardo as Nate. NBC/Associated Press
I'll not spoil anything for you but the show took a couple of twists I wasn't expecting and had some surprising moments, both violent, funny and intriguing.
The opening hour (or nearly 44 minutes plus commercials) sets up some mysteries (Why did the power go out? Can it be turned on? How do they keep there hair and makeup looking so fantastic?) that I'm sure we'll be getting to the bottom of bit by back for as long as the series remains on air.
It's definitely worth tuning into the pilot, and here's hoping subsequent episodes live up to the grandeur and intriguing nature of this opener.
We knew it would be taller than last year's model, the iPhone 4S.
We knew it would be thinner.
New, smaller dock connector. Headphone jack moved to the bottom. LTE yes. NFC no.
I was underwhelmed. And, you know if you checked out the podcast, I was buying one the first chance I got.
Hey, I've got an iPhone 4 from 2010, and I'm a new-phone-every-two-years guy. I want to keep up with the tech, man.
And this phone will be better -- much better -- than mine. It's got more power under the hood, and I'm especially looking forward to the supposedly improved 8-megapixel camera. I take a lot of photos with my phone, the 5 megapixel shots I'm currently taking aren't cutting it.
Sure, I could have gone to another phone. Android phones are hugely popular, but I just don't like the operating system and the unpredictable software-update schedule that come with those phones. The new Windows Phone 8 system intrigues me much more, but it's unproven and far behind in terms of available apps.
Plus, even though I don't have a Mac computer, I've bought into the Apple ecosystem. I also have an iPad 2, an Apple TV and two other AirPlay speaker locations in my house. Despite its occasional choppiness, I love Apple's wireless system for music playback.
So, despite Apple not going out on a limb with innovations when it comes to its flagship mobile device in recent years (sorry, Siri), the iPhone still makes the most sense for me.
And if I'm buying a new gadget, I want it now. I want it, like, yesterday. But I'm not interested in standing in line at Legacy Village in Lyndhurst with a bunch of weirdos waiting to buy the phone Sept. 21 at the Apple store when it goes on sale at 8 a.m.
Thus, I did the most logical thing: I sent an alarm to get me up at 2:50 a.m. Friday, Sept. 14, so I could make one of the first online pre-orders when Apple started taking them at 3 a.m. (midnight Pacific). That would ensure that I would get it on or around Sept. 21.
(Yes, if you're keeping score, waiting in line makes you ridiculous but waking up in the middle of the night from a dead sleep to order a phone via your computer, makes you rad and cool. Got it? Good.)
I wasn't worried about how it would go. After all, this wasn't my first 3 a.m. Apple rodeo. In March 2011, I awoke at the same time to preorder what would become my beloved iPad. I had no trouble getting to the "Store" part of Apple.com and buying the device with a combination of my credit cards and a bunch of gift cards.
So, despite an energy-sucking cold virus, I dragged myself from my bed at about 2:55, ready to rock, roll and order. But -- gasp -- at 3 a.m., I kept getting this message -- in an annoying selection of languages -- that the store was down and would be right back. Same thing at 3:01. At 3:05. At, gulp, 3:10. I thought Apple just wasn't ready to take the orders, but I now believe they were overwhelmed with orders and the site was struggling.
Mainly for something to do, I went on Twitter. And saw that a couple of tech journalists and sites I follow were tweeting about problems with the site but that the Apple Store iPhone app seemed to be working for folks. The app! Of course! There's an app for that!
Pulled out my iPhone -- somewhat groggily recognizing the irony that it otherwise would have never occurred to me to use it in this situation -- and was able to get farther along in the process. Very carefully, through my three-hours-of-sleep haze, I made sure I selected the right model of phone on the right carrier.
That was relatively easy, but changing where the phone would be shipped to applying my lone giftcard to the balance seemed to be off the table. There was also some mention of an activation fee I feel strongly I shouldn't have to pay as someone staying with his carrier. But whatever. At that point I probably would have agreed to buy a $2,500 computer if it meant I could also have the phone.
As much as it would have pained me not to be among the first to have this phone, to be able to annoyingly show it off to people before they or their friends have it, I would have been OK waiting until the daylight hours to buy the phone. That is, did I not believe the initial stock would sell out -- it did -- and did I not have a temporary quote to sell my iPhone 4 for $160, effectively knocking that amount off the purchase price. When I woke up this morning -- and after confirming that I did in fact order what I thought I did and that it should arrive in about a week -- I learned that shipping estimates had bumped to two to three weeks, a time sure to increase as the hours went along.
So, despite a few bumps in the road, this story has a happy ending. And there's something very important that I want you to take away from all of this: Those folks waiting in line at Legacy Village on Sept. 21 are total weirdos.
An Internet report that "The Dark Knight Rises" director Christopher Nolan is rumored to add a director's cut of the film to the DVD/Blu Ray release has Batman fans pumped.
I'm not holding my breath. Nolan has yet to release a director's cut for any of his films, so why start with Rises?
The report suggests 30 minutes will be added to film's already two hours and 45 minutes of running time. The extra footage, according to the report, will center on the villain Bane's origin story and more air time with Ra's Al Ghul, the villain from Nolan's first Bat film, "Batman Begins."
Whether or not a director's cut is included doesn't matter to me. If it is, I'll be excited, but I can't wait to make by Nolan/Bat Blu Ray library complete. The DVD/Blu Ray release date for the film is Dec. 7.
Movie-goers were apparently in the mood for a fright, as "The Possession" took the top spot at the box office over the three-day holiday weekend.
I'm indifferent about most of these movies in the top 10. The one movie out right now that I'd really like to see is "Sleepwalk With Me."n If you're not familiar with the concept of the movie or with its star Mike Birbiglia, you should take a listen to his monologue on which the movie is based. It's the most recent episode (Aug. 28) from The Moth podcast and definitely worth a free download.
From The Associated Press:
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com. Where available, latest international numbers are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Tuesday.
Three recently released books have caught my eye, and are worth a look, or even a buy:
The Art and Making of the The Dark Knight Trilogy
Fans of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy will drool over this 300-page look back at each film.
It contains a ton of behind-the-scene photos (thus the title), and plenty more. This coffee-table sized book has the backing of the big players involved. The foreword is written by Nolan and the introduction Michael Caine, who plays Bruce Wayne's trusty butler Alfred in the three films.
Three sections - pre-production, production and post-production - leave no stone unturned about how each film came to life on the big screen. Did I mention photos? There's also storyboards and production artwork.
If there's Nolan-Batman fan in your life, this book won't disappoint.
Totally MAD: 60 years of Humor, Satire, Stupidity and Stupidity
Eat your heart out Alfred E. Neuman.
The kings of satire - MAD Magazine - are celebrating 60 years of "high-quality idiocy," as described in the book's press release. Right on. The book is a celebration of spoof covers throughout the years, cartoon strips, those ridiculous MAD back-page fold-ins, and of course there's sprinkling of Alfred E. Neuman on just about every page.
Spy vs. Spy (my personal favorite) fans need not worry. There's a few tributes to the black and white characters. There's also five essays about MAD's cultural impact, the best being the origin of Alfred E. Neuman.
Totally MAD hits bookstores Oct. 30.
Parker: The Score
If you've seen Mel Gibson in "Payback" then author Richard Stark's and illustrator Darwyn Cooke's third graphic novel installment about Parker, a professional criminal who joins 11 others to rob a small town, is must-read.
The Score is preceded by "The Hunter," the story Gibson's "Payback" was based on, and the sequel, "The Outfit." In the first graphic novel, Parker is hell-bent on revenge. In the second, he's watching his back. In "The Score," Parker is intrigued by the most challenging "job" of his criminal life. Each story is set in the 1960s, giving the artwork a stylish look.
The character of Parker is a classy criminal, which makes it's difficult not to like the character, but the book presents more. Cooke, a marvelous illustrator, is at his best in "The Score." He uses two colors throughout the graphic novel: black and orange. It works well.
Parker fans can rejoice: He'll return with a fourth graphic novel in 2013. Surely, he'll be hell-bent about something.