Sunday, August 31, 2014

Veronica Mars Webseries Spin-Off "Play it Again, Dick" to Premiere Sept 15th

I'm happy to see Veronica Mars back in any incarnation, and who doesn't love Ryan Hansen (if not his douchey character Dick Casablancas)? So I'm happy to see that the CW will, in fact, release the Veronica Mars spin-off webseries, Play It Again, Dick starting on September 15th, with a new 8-10 minute episode released weekly after that. Should be fun!

Read more about it over at EW!

Obamacare: Lowering Premiums

This is a pretty BFD. TPM's headline that the fact that Obamacare is lowering - instead of increasing - premiums around the country is something the GOP doesn't want you to see is totally accurate. This, along with other factors like the fact that Obamacare hasn't been the disaster the GOP "knew" it would be, is why it's slowly but surely stopped being a 2014 elections issue. Just as Social Security and Medicare quickly blended into the, "Of course we have this safety net/protection," Obamacare, too, is quietly becoming just another thing Americans assume they have, and appreciate without really acknowledge or even know they appreciate.

Solid commentary on "Every Simpsons Ever"

I hope those of you out there with FXX are enjoying, "Every Simpsons Ever" or, as I call it, "I've had Seasons 1-11 on DVD this whole time." I know most Simpsons episodes (through Season 11 or so) by heart, but Alyssa Rosenberg over at WaPo is new to the show, and I feel like her thoughts on how The Simpsons portrays childhood are totally accurate.

Have you been enjoying "Every Simpsons Ever"? Have you noticed anything different since you last watched these episodes? Anything that went over your head as a kid that you now are like, "oh THAT's why that's funny!"?

SYTYCD Wedding Dance

SYTYCD has been pretty good this season. I think I liked last season better (though it's funny that last season I was no fan of Aaron, the tapper who made it to the finale, and I'm also not huge on Zack, the guy tapper in this year's finale), but I really loved this wedding-dance-to-end-all-wedding-dances with Twitch and Valerie. I feel like it's been one of the few truly stand out routines of the year, but maybe because it's so funny?

I'd go to that wedding. Also, Ricky is super amazing - how does he get his body to extend so much!? And I don't even totally know what extending means!

Early Jim Henson Animated Short!

Check out this super cool early Jim Henson short. It's an animated paper-cut piece, called Drum West set to a piece of jazz music by Chico Hamilton.

Here's a description from the Jim Henson Company:
“Drums West” cut-paper animation from Jim Henson. This newly rediscovered short was created in Jim’s home studio in Bethesda, MD around 1961. It is one of several experimental shorts inspired by the music of jazz great Chico Hamilton. At the end, in footage probably shot by Jerry Juhl, Jim demonstrates his working method.

It reminds me a lot of Disney's Fantasia's elements that visualize the music combined with a pre-Sesame Street homegrown animation feeling. And I love the adorable shot of Henson (pre-beard, notes my husband) at the end.

This also feels very appropriate right now because it's raining outside and the music reminds me of rain on a tin roof. Staccato, like fireworks, yet somehow soothing.

[via /Film]

Congrats to Bob's Burgers and Harry Shearer!

I forgot to mention this around Emmy's time, but I was SO happy that Bob's Burgers won an Emmy for outstanding animated program, and that Harry Shearer (finally!) won for his voiceover work on The Simpsons! Yay for funny people who have been recognized for their great work!

Watch my friend Caitlin in "The Knick"!

The other channel we got for free for a weekend was Cinemax, to promote their new show The Knick. The show is pretty grisly (early 20th century surgery, so, you know), but my friend Caitlin plays one of the nurses in the first two episodes (and has a pretty epic scene at the beginning of the second one). So if you can watch those first two episodes, you totally should! Just not while you're eating.

The Toast's "Outlander" Drinking Game

The humor site, The Toast, has a pitch-perfect drinking game for the new Starz' series, Outlander (and the books the show is based on). I should also mention that if you really do abide by it, you will get super-schwasted, so proceed with caution.

Also, I really wish I could watch the show without paying for Starz! They totally hooked me on the first episode (they gave us a free weekend of Starz and then just took it away! Which was the point but still lame).

Read an Unpublished Chapter of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"

You can read a whole, unpublished chapter of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory over at The Guardian.

There's generally a reason why part of a book doesn't get published, and it certainly makes sense here (too many kids!), but the mountain of vanilla fudge does sound delectable - though I'd prefer salted caramel fudge to vanilla.

How Caffeine Works

This video gives a quick and simple illustration (literally!) of how caffeine works in our brains by blocking a sleepiness-inducing chemical called adenosine.

Neat! I learned something new!!

You can watch more AsapScience videos on their YouTube channel.

New Bloomsbury Harry Potter Covers!

I dig the red theme and the creepiness of the thestrals
Recently, Scholastic got some new Harry Potter artwork, so now Bloomsbury is following in their footsteps. I was never a fan of Bloomsbury's old HP covers, so these are a huge improvement. They're pretty spoiler-y (especially Book 7), so I guess they're really more for fans who have already read the books. I also feel like Harry doesn't really age throughout them - i.e. look at him in Book 1 vs Book 7 - not a huge difference even though it's been seven years! Ah well, the artwork in and of itself is really lovely.

Check out all the covers here!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Pixar's "The Good Dinosaur" Update!

I was bummed when Pixar's The Good Dinosaur got bumped from this summer to next Thanksgiving (definitely one reason this summer has been a bit lacking in the film department - aside from Obvious Child and Guardians of course!), because it meant the film's problems must have been pretty severe. It looks like we were right, but, fortunately, that all has been resolved.

Collider released a video and article from an interview with John Lithgow explaining that he's going to re-record his entire role (Poppa) for the film. He says, "Don’t worry.  It’s coming and it’s gonna be better than I ever imagined.” That's good! Lithgow's got good taste, so I trust him on this one.

I also much prefer Pixar delaying and reinventing a movie rather than release something subpar. I hope that when The Good Dinosaur is released in November 25, 2015, it proves that this reboot was necessary and that the film is just as wonderful and magical as we expect from the Pixar pedigree.

You can read more and watch the video of Lithgow's interview over at Collider.

The Art of the Steadicam

Refocused Media put together this hypnotic compilation of steadicam (and steadi-crane) shots over the years, composed of almost forty films and a few TV shows.

From the creators over at Refocused:

These sequences are accomplished using a Steadicam, which is essentially a balanced stabilizer that allows for smoother and more easily controlled handheld camera operation. Invented by Garrett Brown in the early 70?s, the steadicam shot — or ‘steadishot’ — has become one of the most dynamic and exciting forms of cinematography and is one of the most engaging visual techniques in a filmmaker’s storytelling arsenal. I was inspired to make this homage to the art of steadicam cinematography when browsing the database of “top” clips over at, which are rated by the community. After locating what sources I could from the top 50 or so, I decided to stick with the order presented on the site (accurate as of March 1, 2013). 

I love these kinds of montages (the year-in-film ones are usually great) because they remind you why - even when we have an overall crummy summer of movies like this year - you love movies in the first place. Film is an art and it is beautiful and full of visual storytelling. A compilation like this (especially because they've replaced the audio with an overarching song to connect the films) allows you to really see what the camera is telling you and why. It's fascinating!

[via /Film]

The Film Before the Film: Opening Titles

If you've taken any film classes, consider this a brief and fun refresher, but if you're new to thinking about film instead of just absorbing it, this is quick documentary that gives you a brief glimpse into the artistry and history behind films' opening titles:

The documentary was made as a research project by students Nora Thoes and Damian PĂ©rez at the BTK University of Applied Sciences in Berlin

I've always been a big fan of opening titles in film and TV. They're a great way to introduce the audience to the tone of the movie, as well as introduce a different kind of visual style, like animation or stop-motion or CGI or paper-craft, into the film that you probably wouldn't have the opportunity to do elsewhere.

Do you think you'll consider opening titles more often in films now?

[via /Film]

Diet Racism: When Just a Little is Still Too Much

College Humor has a fun soda commercial parody called, Diet Racism, "when you say stuff that's kind of racist but stop short of saying the n-word"

Ugh, why is this so true? Barf society barf barf.

[via HuffPo]

If Guy Best Friends Were Like Girl Best Friends

How guys spend their time together...

Haha, obviously this isn't how guys act around each other! They totally forgot the part where they binge-watch Orphan Black and talk about their relationship with their mothers.

[via HuffPo]

Garfunkel and Oates: Rainbow Connection

If you haven't started watching Garfunkel and Oates on IFC, do it now! If you need proof, watch this super sweet adorable clip, and know that the whole show is not super sweet like this, but is very funny:

Awwwwwwwwww love and stuff.

Billy on the Street on the Emmys!

I totally missed this, but I love having Billy on the Street back if only for four minutes: "Seth and Billy on the Street" (can't embed, sorry!)

Lake Bell to direct "The Emperor's Children"

I loved Lake Bell's In A World - it was really funny and sweet and had a slower pace (in a good way) than most comedies. I'll be interested to see what she can do with The Emperor's Children, which follows some 30ish Brown grads as they navigate life before and following 9/11. Not really a topic I'd want to hear about normally (thus why I haven't read the book it's based on), but it might be worthwhile with Bell at the helm. Best of luck to her!

[Read more about Bell's sophomore pick over at /Film]

Parks and Rec Season 6 Gag Reel!

Speaking of Andy Dwyer, here's Parks and Rec's season six gag reel!! It's not nearly enough to tide us over before the FINAL SEVENTH SEASON this spring, but I'll take it!

[via HuffPo]

GotG What the What!?

Who knew Guardians of the Galaxy was not going to suck!? I didn't! And then it turned out to be one of the most fun movies of the (admittedly underwhelming) summer!

The movie is super cute, but I have to admit most of my love of it derives from the transformation of one of my favorite actors from adora-cool Bright from the WB's (!) Everwood to super-adora-schlub Andy on Parks and Rec to adora-sexy-superhero Peter Quill in GotG. You did it, Chris Pratt!

I mean, look at this! Come on!

A while ago /Film put out a fun list of all the stuff that may happen in GotG2 so check it out!

"Women Against Feminism" parody Twitter is super funny/sad

"Women Against Feminism" is the exception that proves the rule of feminism gaining more mainstream acceptance. So a "Women Against Feminism" parody twitter seems very appropriate. It's super funny and you should check it out! @NoToFeminism


[via HuffPo]

Fall TV's Getting Colorful!

If you're not excited about Fall TV so far, I'm not surprised. There are a lot of not-so-promising pilots out there, but that's always the case! Some that look terrible will turn out to be great, most will turn out to be just as bad as you thought, and ones you never heard of will in turn fade into ether or be the funniest/most wonderful thing of all time (until the next FMWTOAT). BUT ABC may have more a more good than bad ratio going on this year, since they've greenlit a lot of shows starring people of color. I know I've mentioned this before, but since premiere time is right around the corner, I figured I'd re-mention it. I'm most looking forward to How to Get Away with Murder because I'm a Shonda girl, but the other shows might just blow my mind! Who knows!?

I Wrote a Funny Thing

And it's kind of blowing up the internet! It's this card for someecards. Just 7.9K more shares and it'll get to 200K shares!

It even made it onto HuffPo!

"Wild" Trailer

Below is a trailer for Reese Witherspoon's new movie, Wild, about a woman who hikes 1,000 miles to help her heal over a tragedy (and her reactions to that tragedy). It's based on a memoir by Cheryl Strayed.

It looks like it could be really good or really schmaltzy, but considering it was adapted by Nick Hornby, I'm guessing good. I also really love Reese Witherspoon as an actress, so this feels like a solid showcase for her talent. It's coming December 5th, so just in time for the post-and-pre holidays!

[via GITS]

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Bill Hader's List of 200 Essential Comedies

I just finished the book, Poking a Dead Frogs: Conversations with Today's Top Comedy Writers. He's the same guy who wrote the same book like five years ago, and the conversations are pretty much the same - in that they're interesting and fun to read, but you come out of it feeling like you haven't really learned anything. In the book, Bill Hader provides a list of his 200 "Essential" comedies to watch. You can read the full list here. The list is familiar with a few interesting differentiations, and I'll add the ones I haven't seen to my Netlflix list. I will say, I think it's really cute that he has pretty much every Coen brothers movie on there. I agree, Bill, I agree.

What do you think? Which ones haven't you seen, but want to now solely because a famous funny guy says they're legit? Because that's reason enough for me.

First Trailer for Jon Stewart's "Rosewater"

We're going to find out very soon what Jon Stewart was up to last summer. Below is the trailer for Rosewater, a film about an Iranian-Canadian journalist detained in Iran for 118 days, mostly for his coverage of the 2009 elections, but in part for appearing on Stewart's The Daily Show.

What do you think? It looks intense but interesting and informative. Honestly, I could stare at Gael Garcia Bernal for days, so if nothing else, Jon Stewart proves he can pick a solid story and great star.

[via /Film]

Clip from Pixar's "Lava"!

Disney and Pixar are pulling out all the stops to show us their new material. From Big Hero 6 to Inside Out to Feast, and now Lava, we're getting all kinds of fun animated sneak previews.

Here's the clip from Lava, courtesy of Yahoo:

It looks very sweet, and I love the colors. The music feels a bit fast, but I wonder if that was just for this clip's sake - it may feel more fluid in context.

Can't wait to see it!

#Shonda + #Mindy = #BestShowEver!

Shonda Rhimes will appear on The Mindy Project. She will play - of course - herself.

Once I watch that episode, my life will be complete.

Get ready for a new definition of time: BSAM (Before Shonda And Mindy) and ASAM (After Shonda And Mindy).

[via HuffPo]

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

FIrst Look at Disney Short, "Feast"

Goodness gracious - just take one gander at how flipping adorable this little B-Terrier is in Disney's new short, Feast. What a cute wee beastie!

Who wouldn't want to squeeze that little pup? What a cutie. I can't wait to watch it when it comes out along with Big Hero 6 this November!

[via /Film]

Riley from "Inside Out" First Look!!

I'm SUPER excited about Pixar's new movie, Inside Out, even if it isn't going to be released until next year, and look how adorable the setting is!

Looks like Riley's just moved into her new place and is happy to be there. Or is she?

Moving is rough. It's exciting to see what the world looks like outside of Riley's brain, but I'm also excited to see more of what's inside it!

There's a full sneak peak video at Disney Movies Anywhere (you have to login, but it's free). Enjoy!

[via /Film and Pixar Times]