Friday, July 21, 2017

Marvel's 'Inhumans' Comes to ABC This Fall - Video of the Day

VIDEO OF THE DAY

First look at ABC's Marvel series coming this fall: Inhumans.

This Day in Pop Culture for July 21

Christian singer Brandon Heath was born on July 21, 1978 and married on May 25, 2014.

Brandon Heath is Born

It was on this day that Brandon Heath was born in 1978. The contemporary Christian singer and musician’s first album, Early Stuff, was released in 2004. Since then, Heath has produced five other albums which help nominate him for a few Grammys and winning a few Dove Awards.  In 2008, Heath spent time as the worship pastor at The Woodlands United Methodist Church in Texas for about a year, but later moved back to Nashville. Perhaps his most popular song is "I'm Not Who I Was" which became a #1 single that stayed on top of Billboard's Hot Christian Songs chart for several weeks. The song speaks about how he learned to forgive a certain person in his life, but for many years, it remained a mystery on who that was. More recently, Heath disclosed to audiences that the song was a dedication to this step mother. In May 25, 2014, he was married. Sorry girls.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Christopher Nolan Presents a 'You are Here' Approach to 'Dunkirk'

Movie review of "Dunkirk"
Dunkirk (Warner Bros.)

MOVIE REVIEW

Christopher Nolan has had the distinction to have become one of “those” directors. The kind that when you see their name listed, you have a pretty good idea of what you are about to see. He has a distinctive look and feel to his movies. It might have something to do with the fact that he writes many of his own scripts as well. However, up until this point, all of the stories that Nolan has shared have been fictional. Dunkirk is the director’s first stab of writing and directing a movie based on a real-life event.

Movie review of "Dunkirk"
Fionn Whitehead as Tommy in Dunkirk (Warner Bros)
This story takes place in May 1940 when the British Expeditionary Force, along with the French, Belgian and Canadian troops were forced back to the beaches of Dunkirk. The large naval ships had a hard time reaching the troops due to the long, shallow beaches. There was a call made for civilian “little ships” to come to their aid and unbelievably, they came.

The movie Dunkirk focuses on three distinct storylines: The view from the air, the view from the beach and the view from the civilians on the boats. Unlike most war movies, this one thrusts you into the action without giving much information on the background of the story you are about to watch nor is there any character development of the main players. There is very little dialogue and the film causes a struggle trying to figure out who is who. This might have been by design as Nolan gives this film a real “you are there” approach. It feels as if you are there working alongside these men who aren’t completely sure of their surroundings either. We don’t even learn every character’s names.

What if the Lightsabers in 'Star Wars' Sounded Like Owen Wilson? - Video of the Day

VIDEO OF THE DAY

Star Wars re-edited so that the lightsabers sound like Owen Wilson saying "wow." (By Ursinarium)

This Day in Pop Culture for July 20

O. J. Simpson is Granted Parole

After serving nine years of a nine to 33-year sentence, former football player and actor, O. J. Simpson was granted parole today in Nevada. Simpson was doing time for his role in his 2007 confrontation over sport memorabilia at a Las Vegas hotel. During his trial, Simpson was found guilty of 12 charges in the incident where he and five other men were said to have stormed a hotel room to retrieve his personal items, but left with a lot more. He told the parole board, "I've spent nine years making no excuses about anything. I am sorry that things turned out the way they did. I had no intent to commit a crime … I've done my time, I'd just like to get back to my family and friends – and believe it or not I do have some real friends!" He also reiterated about how good of a person he was and how he wants to live out the rest of his life as a better Christian. While some are doubtful of his remarks that he is not a violent person, his prison record has been spotless. He could be released as soon as October 1, 2017.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

'Laff-A-Lympics': The Animated 'Battle of the Network Stars'

Laff-A-Lympics
(Hanna-Barbera/Warner Bros.)


TV

Since ABC has revived (at lease for this summer) The Battle of the Network Stars, I thought I might showcase another show that was loosely based and/or inspired by the twice-yearly TV special: Laff-A-Lympics (also known as Scooby's All Star Laff-A-Lympics). Don't remember it? Watch the video after the jump and see if that brings back some memories for you.

Though Laff-A-Lympics only lasted for two seasons, it was a fairly popular limited animated cartoon series sandwiched between episodes of Scooby-Doo, Captain Cavemen and the Teen Angels and Dynomutt. The show aired on ABC from September 1977 to July 1979. Videos of the two seasons are available on DVD.

Like the Battle of the Network Stars, which featured one team from the three national networks (ABC, NBC and CBS), this cartoon pitted well-known Hanna-Barbera characters against one another divided up into three teams: The Scooby Doobies, The Yogi Yahooeys and the Really Rottens. At the time, most kids were well aware of all of the team players on the Scooby Doobies, but not as many were familiar with some of the Yogi Yahooeys. Worse though was the decision to create almost all new characters for the Really Rottens.

Originally, Dick Dastardly and Muttley were going to lead the team, but those characters were co-owned by Heatter-Quigley Productions. So, Hanna-Barbera created the Dick Dastardly look-alike, Dread Baron and gave him Mumbly as his pooch. Though he had a strong resemblance to Muttley complete with the same distinctive laugh, Mumby was actually an existing character who played a detective years earlier. Apparently, somewhere down the line he choose a life of crime.

2017 British Airways Safety Video - Video of the Day

VIDEO OF THE DAY

This British Airways safety video was created with the help of Comic Relief and will be shown to passengers beginning on September 1, 2017, but you can see the "director's cut" now.

‘Wonder Woman’ Earns Her Place as a Super Hero

Gal Gadot shines as Wonder Woman.
Gal Gadot shines as Wonder Woman. (Warner Bros.)

MOVIE REVIEW

While both Superman and Batman haven’t fared that well with critics and moviegoers so far with Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Wonder Woman proves that maybe DC just needed a woman’s touch. The film made $223 million during its opening weekend making it the largest female-lead superhero movie opening of all time. (Of course, anything would be better than Warner Bros. last female super hero movie: Catwoman.) Unlike the previous two films, Wonder Woman has an impressive 93% “fresh” Rotten Tomatoes rating (the other two received 55% and 27% respectively) and finally, here is my better-late-than-never review.

Before this movie, my only real connection to Wonder Woman was from watching SuperFriends on Saturday mornings and the occasional viewing of the Lynda Carter show. I never read the comic books. According to the movie, Wonder Woman was born Diana the princess of the Amazons. Legend has it that Zeus first created man in his own image but men being men, they couldn’t help but kill each other, so Zeus then created woman and that created peace and harmony for a while. But then the Greek God Ares (God of War) became jealous of mankind and destroyed all then men. Zeus then hid the woman on a remote island of Themyscira and leaves behind the "God-killer" sword should Ares ever come back.