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This past week, Lady Gaga hosted a fun, somewhat psychedelic hour of television on ABC: Lady Gaga and The Muppets’ Holiday Special. In many ways, the special transported me back to the mid-80s, when a post-Muppet Show troupe of puppets were still dominating all facets of media at the time. Now that the Muppets are successfully making a comeback, this led me to reminisce about the numerous Muppet holiday films over the years and question which one is my favorite.
Growing up as a kid obsessed with any and everything related to Jim Henson, the magic of the Muppets always brightened my spirits with laughter, wonder and imagination. Christmastime was always a magical time of year, but in my home, Christmas was about more than stuffing stockings with candy. Christmas was about stories, and sharing the wonder and belief of the holidays with friends and family. Every year, like stockings filled by Santa, »
- Tony Nunes
Happy Thanksgiving, dear readers! Whether you’re traveling to see relatives, hosting relatives who have traveled to see you, getting ready for the football games, or just preparing for the big holiday feast, I hope you are stay safe and enjoy yourselves. In the meantime, this Thanksgiving-week edition of Trailer Trashin’ takes a look at one of my most anticipated family films of next year – Muppets Most Wanted.
Premise: While on a grand world tour, Kermit the Frog and the other Muppets find themselves unwillingly involved in a European jewel-heist caper headed by Constantine, a criminal mastermind and Kermit lookalike, and his dastardly sidekick Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais).
My take: As I imagine is the case for many people of my generation, I grew up loving the Muppets. I’ve seen their movies many times, Muppet Babies was one of my favorite cartoons when I was little, and The Muppet Christmas Carol »
- Timothy Monforton
At the very least, Kill Your Darlings is a fairly ingenious idea for a movie. Taking a little-known murder case in the early lives of Ivy League undergrads Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, and Jack Kerouac and using it to frame a tale of creative, sexual, and social awakening, John Krokidas’s film has ideas and ambition to spare. What could have easily become a Muppet Babies for the Beat set turns out to be, at least at first, a touching look at the intermingling of adolescent and literary passion in a world on edge. Somewhere in its conception, though, lie the seeds of its (partial) downfall.The film follows young, talented Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe), a frustrated teen from Paterson, New Jersey, as he enters his freshman year at Columbia. There, he becomes captivated by Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan), a charismatic bon vivant who likes to get up on »
- Bilge Ebiri
It's the last night of "X Factor" auditions. Huzzah! Soon we'll stop with our arbitrary leaps between Long Island, Los Angles, Denver, Charleston and... um... wherever else we've been. Soon, we'll start The Four Chairs, whatever that is. But first? The remaining auditions and the assignment of teams. Who will be this year's L.A. Reid and whine and pout and cry? Click through for the full live-blog... 8:00 p.m. Et. I look forward to The Baby Destiny's Child that Kelly's been hyping. I fear that it won't be a hilarious Muppet Babies-style group with Baby Beyonce, Baby Michelle Williams and Baby »
- Daniel Fienberg
Denver, the setting of this spliffy documentary, is The Mile High City in more ways than one
Marijuana use on TV has been growing like hydroponic plants under fluorescent light and a Baby Bio sprinkler. Back in finger-waggy 1990, we had a preachy one-off spesh called Cartoon All-Stars To The Rescue, which saw an supergroup of Bugs Bunny, Alf, Garfield, the Smurfs, the Muppet Babies, Michelangelo the Ninja Turtle and Slimer from Ghostbusters teaching us "the million wonderful ways to say no". But by the naughty Noughties, everyone was blazing up like Cheech & Chong. There was Nate on Six Feet Under, Frank on Shameless, Aj on The Sopranos, the Entourage lads, the entire casts of Ideal and Weeds. In Simpsons episode Weekend At Burnsie's, Homer got high and became vice-president of the power plant after cracking up at Monty's lame gags ("I got promoted and it's all thanks to yes-i-cannabis!"). Weed »
- Sarah Dempster, Michael Hogan
Keith Olbermann is returning to television, the New York Times reports. He’ll be getting his own show on ESPN2, where his beat will include pop culture and current events but not politics.
It turns out American Dad will be wrapping up its run at Fox as its tenth season will be the animated comedy’s final season on broadcast TV. It’s not the last fans will see Stan, Francine and Roger, TBS will air the eleventh season.
A fan favorite is returning to Supernatural. I’ll let you decide if you want to click on the link and find out who or just spend the next few months avoiding spoilers.
Showtime has already ordered a second season of Ray Donovan. »
- Lyle Masaki
'So here they are, clambering aboard Hms Adulthood, preparing for a future of unfettered woo-hoo, only to find the bar deserted and the lifejackets made of galvanised steel'
So farewell then, Skins (Monday, 10pm, E4). Six years after the teen drama cartwheeled, trouserless, into the nation's living rooms, we find ourselves preparing to lay a wreath by its upturned trainers. Or boots. Or brogues. Or flip-flops or rope-soled Aztec-themed espadrilles or whatever … look, just stop trying to reduce this to like some sort of stereotype, yeah? (*Stomps upstairs; flings self on bed; pens furious sonnet about totally political footwear unfairness over rostrum shot of Thelwell Pony Club poster.*)
The death of any long-running series will bring out the metaphors and mourning veils but the boo-hoos greeting the final series of Skins are boo-hooier than most. There'll be no more cocksure nyaffs engaging in beezer Whizzer And Chips-style capers while scampering »
- Sarah Dempster
As part of their Marilyn Monroe celebration this summer, Austin Film Society will show Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (pictured above) 7 pm Tuesday at Alamo Drafthouse Village. Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell on a boat! In addition, tonight and Sunday Afs hosts Cecil B. DeMille's Cleopatra at the Marchesa (free, but you should RSVP). And In Bed with Ulysses, a documentary about James Joyce and his work Ulysses, plays 7 pm Wednesday at the Marchesa.
The Paramount continues the summer classic film series with a focus on musicals this weekend (Singin' in the Rain and The Sound of Music on Saturday and Sunday). Then it's film noir at both Paramount and Stateside on Tuesday and Wednesday, with Double Indemnity, Out of the Past, Sunset Boulevard and The Maltese Falcon all on the schedule.
For something completely different, the Alamo Kids Club at the Slaughter Lane location is screening The Muppets Take Manhattan this month. »
- Elizabeth Stoddard
Sytycd‘s Los Angeles and Austin auditions were full of enlightening, revelatory performers (and their children, in some cases). We learned so much that we could forgive the strange, not-completely-justified inclusion of guest judge Minnie Driver, who wouldn’t be my first choice in Best Supporting Actress nominees to judge these dancers. (Bring me Lauren Bacall, dammit!) I did chuckle when Minnie claimed her hotel was haunted. Because Minnie really believed it. And that’s a funny, zany thing to think, my dear.
Here are the five greatest performers from the two-hour extravaganza. The first one here wasn’t an official auditioner, but I think you’ll agree it deserves a plane ticket to Vegas or some other isolated desert land.
5. Mary’s Hair, the most dynamic dancer of the evening
Look at the gorgeous routines Mary’s hair is performing here. The bangs are nailing a contemporary routine while »
- Louis Virtel
Alan O'Day, a songwriter and performer who had a number 1 hit with 1977's "Undercover Angel," has died at the age of 72. According to his record label, 1st Phase Records, O'Day died of cancer while at home with family and friends in attendance.
Although a performer throughout his life, Alan O'Day first found success as a songwriter and producer working with other artists. At the height of his success in the 1970s, O'Day wrote songs for the likes of Cher, the Righteous Brothers and Helen Reddy. This last singer even scored a number 1 with a 1974 song written by O'Day, "Angie Baby."
As a singer, O'Day had only one hit, but that song -- "Undercover Angel" -- did make it to the top of the Billboard charts.
O'Day's career continued in the following decades. Among other activities, he co-wrote original songs for the "Muppet Babies" cartoons of the late 1980s and scored »
Remember the days when popular prime-time TV shows would get Saturday-morning cartoon spinoffs, like The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang and Partridge Family 2200 A.D.? Those were truly the cultural salad days. So why not bring back that trend? There seems only one logical show to start with: Mad Men. Sure, the Sterling Draper Cooper Pryce employees and their significant others may be downers as adults, but give 'em the Muppet Babies treatment and they're adorable! Li'l Don, the Tom Sawyer of the group who can get anyone to do what he wants; Li'l Pete, the class kiss-ass who always ends up saying the wrong thing; and Li'l Peggy, always with her head buried in her toy typewriter! (In Hanna-Barbera tradition they should also have some sort of animal sidekick: Lucky the Pig? We'll market test that one.) Enjoy these pint-size ad tykes, courtesy of Jon Defreest; AMC and »
- Jon Defreest,Josh Wolk
In many viewers’ eyes, prequels are guilty until proved innocent. The Star Wars prequels satisfied few who’d gone through puberty, The Hobbit already looks to be an endless journey, and film history is littered with other excursions into fictional backstory that ultimately led nowhere. (Butch and Sundance: The Early Days, anyone?) TV has an equally poor track record: Star Trek: Enterprise; Ponderosa; the Battlestar Galactica prequel, Caprica; and other series traded on well-known brands’ allure without capturing their magic and were so shackled by the need to maintain continuity with future time lines that their imaginations suffered. The most satisfying television prequel might have been the eighties kids’ cartoon series Muppet Babies. Like J. J. Abrams’s Star Trek and the CW’s Sex and the City prequel, Carrie Diaries—both of which have a goofy freshness—it seemed to be unfolding in an alternate universe, one in which »
- Matt Zoller Seitz
Trailer Ryan Lambie 11 Apr 2013 - 09:53
The 90s classic Flashback is being remade with lots of polygons and textures. Here's the first trailer...
For its time, Delphine Software's Flashback was properly cinematic. With its 2D platforming action overlaid with sumptuous rotoscoped animation, a theme tune which, at the time, sounded worthy of a Hollywood sci-fi flick, and a compelling storyline, it was about as close as the 16-bit generation got to its own Uncharted.
Perhaps we can forgive developer Vector Cell, then, for making hero Conrad B Hart look remarkably like Naughty Dog's hero Nathan Drake - Conrad was hanging from platforms and shooting bad guys while Nathan was still watching Muppet Babies, after all.
Besides, the newly announced Flashback HD remake has more than just nostalgia to link it back to the 1992 original. Designer Paul Cuisset, along with several other members of the Delphine team, reunited to create a Flashback for the current generation. »
A&E's Psycho prequel Bates Motel has been picked up for a second season. In his review, New York's Matt Zoller Seitz found himself "torn between condemning the series for piggybacking on a classic and promising an origin story it doesn’t really care to deliver, and praising it for avoiding the homicidal Muppet Babies formula and pulling a pretty brazen bait-and-switch." Now showrunners Carlton Cuse (Lost) and Kerry Ehrin (Friday Night Lights) will get at least another ten episodes to help Seitz and everyone else parse it out. »
- Zach Dionne
Three weeks ago, Vulture’s TV critic Matt Zoller Seitz wrote about his frustrations with the current season of Community: "It’s still a good show, but it doesn’t give me that anticipatory buzz that defines a really great series, that joyous anxiety born from being continually, often delightfully surprised." And after the first five episodes, the prevailing sense is that Seitz is very much correct — the show is not as good as it once was. However, what if this season's fundamental flaws have actually been part of the show’s DNA the entire time but we were too distracted to notice? Are we finally seeing problems that had been there all along?Each of this season’s five episodes has had a big conceptual hook. In order: Hunger Games/multi-cam sitcom/Muppet Babies parody; haunted house movie parody; fan convention parody; war movie parody; Shawshank Redemption parody. Yet »
- Jesse David Fox
Review Emma Matthews Feb 17, 2013
It's an out-of-season Halloween episode from Community this week, but how does it measure up to previous outings?
This review contains spoilers.
4.1 Paranormal Parentage
Our second foray into the Harmon-less wilds of Greendale turned up the now traditionally un-traditional Halloween Special. Yup. Halloween. Thanks to the much-delayed series start, in the Community-verse, it’s still October 2012; which is surely the only downfall of planning your show around an actual calendar – Networks are no respecter of format...
Anyhoo, the becostumed gang are drawn into Pierce’s specifically designed haunted house, to track down a racist ghost, bond, and generally reveal things about Pierce that no one ever needed to know, in true Community style... Well, almost. Whether it’s the jolt of watching a brand new Halloween episode in February, or the costumed reminder that the show’s uphill battle with NBC is a losing one, »
Review Emma Matthews Feb 11, 2013
October 19th finally arrived! Here's Emma's review of Community's season four opener...
This review contains spoilers.
4.1 History 101
After an extended sabbatical, our favourite dysfunctional study group finally walked back through the doors of America’s most dubious educational institution this week, allowing us to breathe a sigh of (almost) relief. Following a hiatus that saw the show’s creator Dan Harmon part ways with NBC, a precarious will they/won’t they be cancelled tug of love/disgust, where it looked as if Community would never again grace our screens, along with a display of diva behaviour from Chevy Chase that would make Joan Collins blush with embarrassment and frankly, the fact the premiere aired at all is nothing short of a miracle.
But as with all miracles, you’d be forgiven for approaching season four’s opener with extreme caution. Until its removal from our schedules, »
“Change is always scary. But then I thought of you guys and I wasn’t so scared. Abed, when you brought the group together, you changed our lives. But then we changed each other, and we’re gonna keep changing in unexpected ways. (…) Even if we go somewhere, we’re not going anywhere. ”
Okay, Human Beings, I need everyone to take a deep breath.
Although yesterday’s calendar read February 7th, those of us crowded around our televisions beginning at 8:00 likely knew it to be October 19th. The question isn’t where, but when, yes?
After all it’s been through it its relatively short time with an audience, fans of the show Community were anxiously awaiting the premiere of season 4. After dealing with a mid-season hiatus in December 2011 with a return in March 2012, the Dan Harmon/Chevy Chase debacle, the ultimate removal of Dan Harmon from the show’s reins, »
- Jamie Hoover
This has been a long time coming. As a fanbase, we’ve had to jump over several hurdles in order to arrive at this moment: our October 19. With all the drama that has surrounded Community since the end of last season – Dan Harmon’s firing, Chevy Chase leaving the show, the reduced episode count and subsequent schedule shuffling – it’s hard not to go into this premiere waiting for the bomb to go off. It almost seemed like all signs were pointing toward disaster. How could the new showrunners possibly recreate what was so clearly a man’s love and passion? Dan Harmon poured his soul into this series, gave it life and was terminated because he loved his creation so much that he became impossible for NBC to deal with. I know a lot of viewers will be looking at “History 101” with a magnifying glass, scrutinizing every detail to »
- Brody Gibson
I really hate that I'm writing this review. I've been waiting and waiting for "Community" Season 4 like any good fan out there, and all I wanted to do was sing the show's praises upon its return.
It's just that I can't. This isn't the "Community" we used to know. What we have now is not creator Dan Harmon's darkly funny "Community," but a reflection of that show, filtered through the brighter and happier perceptions of others.
And that's the problem -- "Community" is not a light-filled show. Every joke and every parody had an underlying darkness that gave meaning to what might have been nothing but silly gags.
Without Harmon at the reins, the darkness disappears.
Of course, "Community" is still funny. I'd even go so far to say that this show remains one of the silliest, cleverest and weirdest comedies on television. And the Season 4 premiere »
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