Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Reboot

I stopped blogging. I don't know why I did. Life got in the way. I got lazy. Now I plan on getting back on track. I plan on blogging again and more. Give my blog a cleaner look. Start some new features. Should be a lot of fun.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Wick's Picks Great Books - The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins



Welcome to my new Great Books feature. Starting off here is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

I got the book and its sequels Christmas of 2010. I can't believe how fast I finished them. Now, if you have read the books you will understand that I was full on sobbing while reading portions of the books. In my opinion a mark of a great book is one that is emotionally engaging that somehow gives us insight to our humanity.

Spoilers after the jump!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Wick's Youtube Sensation Pick - Sam Tsui covers "We Found Love"

I know many of us have hit our tolerance level with this song, but Sam Tsui completely captured me with the way he delivered this song. I love how its slowed down. I love the effects he uses on the song. I love the whole arrangement. The fact that he can make continue to love this obviously over played song is crazy. I love this version though I am now debating whether Alex Goot's version is the superior one, but hey I'm just going to love both. Enjoy.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Wick's Picks Movie Review - Chronicle


My last experience seeing a found footage film in theaters resulted in me making a run for it to the bathroom (yes I am talking about Cloverfield). I was slightly worried about seeing another film where I would be worrying about cameras shaking. Thankfully that wasn't the case and Chronicle to be a very creative and entertaining film.

So we have these three guys Andrew (Dane DeHaan), Steve (Michael B. Jordan), and Matt (Alex Russell) who find a cave with this weird alien rock thing and they later find they are able to move things with their minds (telekinesis). This all very awesome and the effects used are amazing. What makes this movie really amazing though is its smart script and its lead actors (specifically DeHaan) .

Dane DeHaan plays Andrew amazingly. The film is mostly centered around him and the things he deals with and how he changes over the course of the film. His mother is severely ill and his father is abusive. He is treated like crap at school. He decides to film everything he does. Once he gets his powers though things change. His character is easily the most heart breaking. Watching his father abuse him had me clenching my fists. DeHaan does such a great job conveying the emotions and you kind of want to cry with him. When he starts to do things that are dangerous and life threatening to others you still sympathize with him because people made him this way.

I really enjoyed the script as it really felt natural. They had conversations that sounded like the conversations I had with my friends. I just really enjoyed that.

Now to the filming style. What made this film different from other found footage films was that instead of of one camera being the focus point it used multiple ones. It was a very creative way to get different angles and shots. It is extremely effective in the climax of the film.

Oh and now I have realized how cold it would be to fly up in the sky.

I thought this movie was excellent and I just found out that a sequel was green lit so I am excited to see where this goes. Go see it if you haven't. I give the film 4/4 stars.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

"8": A Play about the Fight for Marriage Equality

The ruling for the overturning of Proposition 8 by Judge Walker was upheld by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on February 7, 2012. This fight has been a long and hard one on those in LGBT community and its not over yet. Take a look at Dustin Lance Black's(Milk) celebrity filled reading of his play below. It was so well done. The most heart tugging portions were those done by Chris Colfer portraying Ryan Kendall who was forced to undergo conversion therapy in his teens, Matt Bomer and Matthew Morrison portraying gay couple Jeff Zarillo and Paul Katami, Christine Lahti and Jamie Lee Curtis(playing lesbian couple Kris Perry and Sandy Stier), and Bridger Zadina and Jansen Panettiere as their sons Spencer and Elliot Perry.

Those staring are: Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Martin Sheen, Christine Lahti, Jamie Lee Curtis, Bridger Zadina, Jansen Panettiere, Matt Bomer, Matthew Morrison, Rory O'Malley, Yeardly Smith, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Chris Colfer, James Pickens Jr., Kevin Bacon, John C. Reilly, George Takei, Jane Lynch, Cleve Jones, Campbell Brown, and Vanessa Garcia.

This play starts at about the 30 minute mark, but if you want to see news clips before hand skip ahead to around the 17 minute mark.

Smash Review


Warning Spoiler Alert on the last four episodes of Smash

So Smash's first season is four episodes in and I have to say I am enjoying this musical television show. Now in ratings since its huge debut numbers have dropped quite significantly with its most recent numbers being 6.9 million total viewers and a 2.4 rating in the demo. which is not good considering its debut was 11.4 million total viewers and a 3.8 rating in the demo. I really want this NBC musical drama to succeed, but its going to need more eyes watching it. So lets talk about the show.

The pilot episode is by far the best episode of the season so far. It did a wonderful job introducing us to the characters of this show.We have American Idol Season 5 runner-up Katherine McPhee as Karen a Broadway newbie trying to break out. Megan Hilty is Ivy Lynn a blond bombshell trying to get her first starring role as Marilyn Monroe. Debra Messing of Will and Grace fame is Julia, is one of the musicals co-writers who is trying to adopt a child with her husband. Christian Borle is Tom, the other co-writer and is gay with very strong feelings about who should play Marlyn in the musical and absolutely hates Derek Willis. Derek is played by Jack Davenport who is a brilliant director, but is quite the jerk and womanizer and as Tom said is, "a terrible human being." Then there is Angelica Huston who plays Eileen Rand the shows producer who is in the process of getting a divorce from her husband, with whom she has developed a habit of tossing drinks into his face. Raza Jaffrey plays Dev Sundaram, Karen's boyfriend who works in the mayor's office and is quite attractive. Lastly there is Jaime Cepero who plays Ellis, Tom's assistant, who is sneaky, scheming guy with an innocent facade. Each of those actors and their characters are really interesting and I want to know more about them, especially Eileen who Angelica Huston plays flawlessly.

In the pilot we see how Marlyn the Musical starts being developed by Julia and Tom. They start writing songs which in turn once a demo was leaked (courtesy of Ellis) everyone wants to get involved. They start holding auditions where Karen sings a pretty good version of "Beautiful". She and Ivy are given the call backs. I want to say there is a scene with Ivy telling her mom she got the the call back and it was a very natural and humanizing moment for her. Derek does try and get Karen to sleep with him which she declines after doing a JFK Happy Birthday moment with her in just a button down t-shirt.The episode was really well done so I give "Pilot" an A+

Now the second episode "The Callback" was almost as good as the second with Karen and Ivy going a longer than average callback process. Both girls are impressing the others. Elsewhere Julia and her husband are struggling with the adoption process and Eileen's divorce is complicating the financing of the musical. Ivy ends up sleeping with Derek after some scene work. The best song out of the bunch done during this episode was Karen's call back piece "The 20th Century Fox Mambo". Sadly it wasn't enough for her and Ivy got Marlyn. I give the episode a B+.

"Enter Mr. DimMaggio" was sadly kind of boring. Now there were some good things in the episode like the introduction of Michael Swift played by Will Chase who previously was in one of Julia and Tom's plays. Everyone, but Julia is excited to cast him as Joe DiMaggio though that may have something to do with the fact that they had an affair. Its a nice twist and Debra Messing does a really good job with this material. Karen's storyline on the other hand is beyond boring as she is in Iowa with her friends and family for a baby shower and she sang "Redneck Woman" and I wanted to bash my head into the wall because the show is better than that song choice. Just no. The rest of the episode is more of the same with Ellis scheming, Eileen having issues financing the musical and throw drinks into her husbands face, and Ivy and Derek having sex. Oh and the music is just blah this episode. I give it a C+.

"The Cost of Art" was an excellent episode. It moved the plot along nicely as it was starting to drag. Karen is having trouble being in the ensemble as she isn't able to blend in. Her singing is too loud and her dancing calls attention to itself. Ivy isn't helping matters and is in complete bitch mode. Karen gets some help from the other ensemble members to help her blend in. Elsewhere Eileen is still having problems with financing the musical when she decides to sell a rare painting. Problem she couldn't sell it because bill of sale was in her husbands name. Derek is holding a party for Lyle West a young star played by Nick Jonas (who by the way was excellent). At said party Eileen ropes Lyle into helping finance the musical. Of course some persuasion was in order and Ivy, Tom, Julia, and Michael perform "I Never Met a Wolf Who Didn't Love to Howl" a piece that was being worked on earlier in the episode while Ivy was in full diva mode. Either way it sounds excellent and is probably my favorite original song the show has done so far. Ivy sees Derek acting like the womanizer he is and gets all offended, but instead of telling him to shove it she decides to continue to be with him (talk about low self esteem). Karen later at a bar does a dance with her ensemble friends to show she can blend (set to Adele's "Rumor Has It), but eventually ends up as the center of attention (the show saying deserves the spotlight) and she sings a partial cover of the song (its passable, but Glee did it better). Oh, earlier in episode Tom went on a date with a slightly boring guy, but he turns out to be so sweet and interested in Tom's work. I give this episode an A.

Now there have been many comparisons to my other favorite TV musical and I can say they are so different. While Glee definitely opened the door to musical television and made sure shows like Smash could be possible they have little in common. Glee is mostly a comedy with dramatic elements. Smash is a drama with comedic bits used sparingly. Glee is a very colorful show and has a very young feeling (mostly because its set in high school). Smash has a more mature approach and is quite serious. Both shows are fun and have musical numbers and they are quite gay. Comparisons stop there.

As for the music on both shows sorry, but Glee has Smash beat. Smash's cover songs are too karaoke or too odd ("Grenade"). Smash does a great job though at creating songs set for a musical whereas Glee's originals are more pop oriented so its like comparing apples to oranges. Still there is a lot of potential.

So all in all I am liking this show more and more. There is so much potential and so much talent.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Glee: Overview of Season 3 So Far


There is no amount of blogging I could do to say how much I love this show. I love it so much no matter the frustration it can bring to me. I loved the last two season so it shouldn't be much of a surprise I love this season. So lets start with a list of what I am loving this season and then go onto a list of what I am not.


1. The Visibility - We have Kurt who is gay, Blaine who is gay, Santana who is a lesbian, and Brittney who is bisexual, Sebastian who is gay, and Dave who is gay. Plus we just got introduced to Rachel's gay dads! How gay is this show. Plus, Chris Colfer who is gay continues to play Kurt so amazingly. Sue Sylvester is portrayed by the out lesbian Jane Lynch. Ricky Martin who came out in 2010 guest starred on the show. And of course the creator of the show Ryan Murphy is gay himself. I challenge anyone to find anything else on network television gayer.



2. Klaine and Brittana - Yes I went there. These characters continue to have some of the best storylines on the show. Dealing with the complications of coming out, public displays of affection, and sexual awakenings make them some of the most developed characters. Plus, they are just so cute together.


3.  On My Way - A lot of the time Glee is really a comedy, but when it needs to be it can be serious and in the best way possible. Dave Karofsky's attempted suicide in the episode was such a relevant and heart tugging storyline. LGBT teen suicide is such a huge issue in the world we live in and I am so glad they did such a great job addressing the issue. This episode easily is one of my favorites in the shows entire run. Other than that the episode had pretty good musical performances and cliff hanger that many fans are eager to find out about.


4. "Rumor Has It/ Someone Like You" Mash-Up - Nothing so far this season has topped it. Check out my post on it here .


5. Chord Overstreet/Sam Evans - I was not happy when Chord Overstreet was not picked up as as series regular at the end of the second season, but I was so happy he was brought back. And this time he is more interesting. I am really loving the Sam and Mercedes storyline.


6.The Troubletones - Aside from the fantastic "Rumor Has It/ Someone Like You" mash-up the Troubletones really have put out some fantastic numbers this season, plus they were able to highlight the voices of Naya Rivera, Amber Riley, and Heather Morris which is awesome. Other highlight performances "Stronger" and "Survivor/ I Will Survive".


7. Michael - When the New Directions did the Jackson Family at Regionals I was so happy, but not as happy as the Michael episode made me (minus 2 songs). The performances of songs in that episode were so amazing especially "Smooth Criminal", "Bad", and "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'".



8. The First Time - The show was able to handle the sensitive subject of losing one's virginity, which they managed to do with a gay couple. It felt very honest. I felt they were able to capture the intimacy and nervousness of how it happens.


9. Yes/ No - That episode was a surprise favorite for me. I normally hate episodes that are Will centered, but this time it was perfect. Also, Becky's storyline was handled so well (plus Helen Mirren guest starred as her voice over). Plus, all the musical numbers were so amazing especially the over the top and wet "We Found Love".


10. Mike Chang- Harry Shum Jr. was absolutely fantastic in Asian F. His dancing, his acting, and even his singing were just so perfect. He actually made me cry.


Now for the Five Things I Hate About This Season


1. Will Schuester - He has his great moments like in Yes/No, but he just drives me insane. I like him best when he is actually just being himself and not trying to be the "cool teacher". I had enough of him in The Spanish Teacher where his character was so unbelievably stupid. Watching the episode I really understood how Santana felt watching him. Also, sometimes the things he says to Emma make me want to punch him.


2. Glee Project Winners - Now I like the winners that I have seen so far, but I am disappointed in how they are being used. Damian who plays Rory has pretty much stayed in the background all season with barely anything to do and the songs they have had him sing are so boring. Lindsey who played Harmony was literally there just to sing and yeah. So far Samuel who plays Joe seems pretty cool as the open minded Christian hippie kid seems cool, but I really want to see more. Alex is slated to appear late in the season.


3. Finn Outing Santana - Not okay at all! Sorry, but that was the most uncalled for thing I have ever seen in television. They sort of made up for it, but still coming out is a personal decision.


4. Psycho Quinn - At first when I was seeing previews I was excited to see Quinn all rocker like, but then it turned out to be a mess. Then she tried to steal Beth from Shelby and get Shelby fired for sleeping with Puck. It was just all bad.


5. Emma's Parents - I hate them. They are evil.