All posts by Sheldon Wiebe

MOVIES/TELEVISION: Oscar® History Is Made – Bigelow Wins!

Movie history has just been made. First, Kathryn Bigelow won the Academy Award® for Directing and moments later, another Oscar® for Best Film – she was a producer on The Hurt Locker, not just the director. Fellow nominee, James Cameron, was one of the first to stand – leading to a full on standing ovation for his ex.

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Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin were solid but not brilliant co-hosts, picking up steam as the ceremonies proceeded. Their onscreen chemistry was good but they had a tendency to dispense their banter shade a shade too quickly.

As per usual, my choices for the awards were not entirely spot on, but in most cases, wins by other nominees could not possibly be considered disappointments. My thoughts follow the jump.

Continue reading MOVIES/TELEVISION: Oscar® History Is Made – Bigelow Wins!

MOVIES: If I Picked The Oscars®!

It’s that wonderful time of the year when The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences hands out the most famous awards in the world [yes, even more well-known than the Nobel Prize]. Despite a drop-off in indie film production, it’s been a pretty good year for movies and the box office reflects that – in terms of popularity and quality.

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Despite the apparent locks for various of the awards, the one sure thing about any awards ceremony – including the Academy Awards® – is that there’s no such thing as a sure thing. Thus, while we might expect Christoph Waltz to win Vest Supporting Actor for Inglourious Basterds, or Sandra Bullock to take home the Best Actress award for The Blind side, there are no guarantees.

Rather than make the usual predictions about who I think should win the major awards, this year I’m going with whom I most want to see win [turns out I’m lousy at predictions anyway…].

Continue reading MOVIES: If I Picked The Oscars®!

TELEVISION: You Can Kiss My Shiny Metal A$$! Futurama Is Back!

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Remember how Futurama got cancelled back in 2006 and Comedy Central bought the rights to air the original seventy-two episodes, beginning in 2008? Remember how the show’s ratings on CC were little short of magical? And how the show’s DVD sales were way up there? And how news was that there would be new eps?

Well, 20th Century Fox Television has come through and now Comedy Central is bringing twelve new eps of Futurama to cable. The politically incorrect Matt Groening series – for my money, one of the best sci-fi series on TV – will begin its new season on June 24th, 2010, at 10/9C.

Kiss my shiny metallic a$$, indeed!

TELEVISION: Rejoice Skiffy Fans! FRINGE Renewed For Third Season!

Fox TV has given TV’s second-best sci fi series [behind only Lost] the thumbs up for a third season, according to Entertainment Weekly’s Lynette Rice.

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The series which averages under eight million viewers per week has still managed to give Fox a presence its new timeslot on Thursdays – and the network is showing its appreciation for both the high-quality series and its fervent fan base [kind of like they did with Dollhouse, only with a series that has better than three times as many viewers].

Maybe we’ve reached a tipping point where quality and economics and audience can co-exist – after all, NBC renewed Chuck, this season, which has a similarly-sized audience. Two shows might not seem like a trend, but with TV’s increasingly fragmented audience, they could be enough.

MOVIE REVIEW: Brooklyn’s Finest – Ironic Title; So-So Movie!

The reason clichés become clichés is that they are rooted in truth. In Brooklyn’s Finest, director Antoine Fuqua [Training Day] and screenwriter Michael C. Mann attempt to see through the clichés to the truth that lies beneath. They are only partially successful.

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The film follows three cops – about to be retired Eddie [Richard Gere], overwhelmed family man Sal [Ethan Hawke] and undercover cop Tango [Don Cheadle] – through a few very pressure packed days in the worst part of the most crime ridden precinct in Brooklyn.

Continue reading MOVIE REVIEW: Brooklyn’s Finest – Ironic Title; So-So Movie!

TELEVISION: NBC’s Thursday Night Comedy Block Intact For 2010-2011!

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NBC announced today that Thursday night comedies 30 Rock, The Office and Community will be back for the 2010-2011 season beginning this fall. In combination with the announcement earlier that Parks & Recreation had been renewed, this means that NBC’s Thursday night comedy block will be intact for next season.

“We are happy to give these early pickups to these critically acclaimed, incredibly funny comedies,” said Angela Bromstad, President, Primetime Entertainment, NBC and Universal Media Studios.

So far, along with giving Chuck the order for its back nine this season, that brings NBC’s smart decisions over the last three seasons to three. We can only wait to see how the network fares after pilot season.

MOVIE REVIEW: Burton’s Alice Is A Small W Wonder!

Tim Burton and Alice in Wonderland are such a natural combination that it’s a wonder that he hasn’t tried to make an Alice film years ago. Now that he has, it’s likely that it will draw mixed reviews because everyone has a different idea of what a Burton Alice would look like – not too mention the possibility that he’d make a sequel to the Lewis Carroll novels.

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Well, Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland is as odd and vaguely sinister as any Burton fan could ask for. It also pushes the bounds of its PG rating as far as it can. I can see it producing nightmares in younger children and especially sensitive adults. From where I sit, this is a Good Thing. Alice in Wonderland should be a bit darker and more twisted than other classic tales – that aren’t Grimm’s Fairy Tales, at least.

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TELEVISION: Smallville Gets 10th!

Despite lower rates than last season, The CW has renewed Smallville for a tenth season – tying it with Stargate SG-1 as America’s longest-running sci-fi/fantasy series.

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The news, which is being reported by Brian Hibberd’s Live Feed blog and the folks at Airlock Alpha, is, no doubt, a reward for giving the network a steady presence on the black hole of Friday nights – better known as “date night” – and for being a frequently TiVo’d series.

DC purists will continue to be appalled, while the rest of us are cheered by the news. Plus Tom Welling and Calgary girl Erica Durance work for another year. Sounds like win-win to me.

HOLLYWOOD INSIDER: TV’s Most Explosive Couple; Burn Notice’s Jeffrey Donovan and Gabrielle Anwar; Talk About Their Most Dangerous Stunts, TV’s Most Unusual Relationship and Much, Much, More!

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Recently, I had the opportunity to take part in a teleconference Q&A with Burn Notice’s [USA,Thursday, 10/9C] Gabrielle Anwar and Jeffrey Donovan – the latter of whom seldom does these things [which is a shame because he’s smart, and wry and funny – and a gentleman…] – for the series’ third season finale. The result was a lot of fun and, in a few instances, revelatory.

There were more than twenty reporters/bloggers on the call [see end of Q&A for complete list], which might be due to Mr. Donovan’s presence. And a good time was had by all…

Continue reading HOLLYWOOD INSIDER: TV’s Most Explosive Couple; Burn Notice’s Jeffrey Donovan and Gabrielle Anwar; Talk About Their Most Dangerous Stunts, TV’s Most Unusual Relationship and Much, Much, More!

HOLLYWOOD INSIDER: Burn Notice’s Matt Nix Talks Casting, Spy Tips and More!

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Burn Notice [USA, Thursdays, 10/9C] has, over the course of its first three seasons, become one of cable’s most consistent hits. Recently, I had the opportunity to tale part in a Q&A teleconference call with series creator Matt Nix. As usual, Nix was cheerful, charming and loquacious – though [also as usual] shy on the spoiler front.

Also taking part in the Q&A were: Emma Loggins, Jenny Rarden, Melissa Lowry, Troy Rogers, Saran Fulghum and Len Lamoray [no affiliations were given].

Continue reading HOLLYWOOD INSIDER: Burn Notice’s Matt Nix Talks Casting, Spy Tips and More!

COMIC BOOKS/GAMES: The Splendid Magic of Penny Arcade – How Two Guys Went From Web Comic Creators To Moguls While Trying To Avoid Any Kind Of Work!

The Splendid Magic of Penny Arcade is, like its writers, Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins, many things.

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It is an autobiography of the writers; a chronicle of how posting a web comic strip back in 1998 led to a company that publishes the web comic; has set up a multi-million dollar charity, and created the most important annual gamers’ convention in the world. All because Mike and Jerry created a web comic that allowed them to give their opinions on all things video game [and anything else that crosses their minds] form and substance.

Continue reading COMIC BOOKS/GAMES: The Splendid Magic of Penny Arcade – How Two Guys Went From Web Comic Creators To Moguls While Trying To Avoid Any Kind Of Work!