Saturday, October 27, 2012

The black sheep of Port Charles is back

Port Charles’ resident hit-man with a heart of gold was gunned down in cold blood this week and became the fourth (technically fifth, if you count Franco) Quartermaine heir to die in the last decade.

Four of them, ironically, were the offspring of Alan and Monica Quartermaine (Tracey’s two sons are still alive). Alan himself succumbed to a heart attack several years ago – and became the fifth heir to die.

I suppose, if you really want to get technical, Justus was a Quartermaine heir, too. So that would be six deaths.

Why does it matter?

Fans are sick to death (pun intended) of the decimation of the Quartermaine family. The Quartermaines were once the heart – and funny bone – of the show.

So, while I’m glad Jason Morgan is leaving – I would have welcomed Jason Quartermaine back with open arms. Does that make any sense?

Anyway, in the waning seconds of Friday’s episode black sheep boozer A.J. Quartermaine stepped through the parlor door and greeted his mother. For those not in the know, Sean Kanan is playing him this go-around – not Billy Warlock.
Anyway, A.J. was killed off years ago in a murder mystery that pointed the figure at everyone – and then literally brought down a virtual no one as the culprit. I’m not sure how he’s been resurrected this time. All we are sure of is that – for a little while at least – his mother Monica knew he wasn’t really dead.

I’m glad to see A.J. I’m also hopeful that the current writing regime won’t repeat the mistakes of the last writing regime. You know the ones, where the criminals on the show (Sonny and Jason) are the heroes and everyone else is somehow evil?

The truth of the matter is, A.J. was sacrificed at the altar of his brother, Saint Jason of the Docks, for years before he was ultimately written off. It was, essentially, disgusting.
While the current writing regime at ‘General Hospital’ is profoundly better than the last two writing regimes, they still have issues. That was obvious this week when Jason – an actual mob hitman – was mourned as a hero and all around good guy that was just misunderstood.

Jason’s grieving widow actually had the audacity to go off because lawyer Diane was representing the man that she thinks stole her son. That’s pretty rich – since her husband stole brother A.J.’s son.

I’m hopeful that A.J. will be written as a flawed individual – but one that isn’t the villain in this story. I want A.J. to get to know his son (how much do Kanan and Chad Duell look alike?). I want A.J. to completely infuriate Carly and Sonny. I want A.J. to romance Liz – anyone see potential sparks there? I want A.J. to be a centerpiece in Port Charles.

I understand we still have a few weeks of grieving for Jason Morgan ahead of us.

The truth is, though, the show is better off without him.

I’m guessing we’re going to get some scenes of an amnesiac Jason wandering off on his own or – better yet – Jason being kept captive in the bed next to Robin.

We also have the funeral of Edward Quartermaine to look forward to. Yes, I know, this was another Quartermaine death. However, this time the actor John Ingle died in real life. I don’t want the character recast, so paying homage to him is the next  best thing.

We’ve already got confirmations on returns for Skye and Ned – and rumors abound that there might be ghostly visits from Alan and Emily. Quite frankly, while we’re resurrecting Quartermaines, why not just go all the way out on a limb and say Helena has been keeping Alan and Emily? I’m willing to believe it. I promise.

I think bringing A.J. back is a definite step in the right direction. Let’s hope the writers don’t screw it up.

What do you think? Are you looking forward to A.J.’s return?

New releases in entertainment this week

If there was one week where I could actually say there’s not one thing that’s debuting I have even remote interest in, this would be that week.

On the movie front, you have exactly two choices.

The first is ‘The Man With the Iron Fists.’ It stars Russell Crowe and Lucy Liu. It’s the story  of a band of warriors, assassins and a rogue Brish soldier who are on the hunt for a fabled treasure. They all descend on a village in feudal China, where  a humble blacksmith looks to defend himself and his fellow villages.

I think the only thing that can be said about this movie is: Russell Crowe has fallen so far.

The other movie opening in wide release is the animated ‘Wreck-It Ralph.’ This is the story of a video game villain that wants to be a hero and sets out to fulfill his dream, but his quest brings havoc to the whole arcade where he lives. Voices are provided by John C. Reilly and Jane Lynch.

I like some animated films – but I doubt this will be one of them.

Four comedies debut on Friday night.

First up, NBC's 'Whitney' and 'Community' return. 'Community' is hilarious -- and troubled behind the scenes. 'Whitney' is crap.
ABC brings back Tim Allen's 'Last Man Standing' -- with a bunch of different actors -- and no more laughs. The network is also debuting 'Malibu Country' with Reba McEntire.

I think it was wrong for the networks to abandon Friday nights. CBS has proven that you can get decent ratings on Fridays. Just look at 'Blue Bloods.'

This isn't how you get good ratings, though.

On DVD this week there is absolutely nothing of interested.

The Will Ferrell  and Zach Galifianakis dud 'The Campaign' is supposed to take a crack at American politics – which makes it convenient that it debuts one week before the election. That doesn’t make it any more interesting, though.

A&E’s ‘Coma’ miniseries – starring Lauren Ambrose, Geena Davis and James Woods – also bows. I watched it when it first premiered. I found parts of it interesting, but most of it was just ridiculous schlock.

The only other release that caught my eye was ‘A Christmas Story 2.’ Whoever is trying to rip off the greatest Christmas movie ever made for a quick buck is a tool. Yeah, I said it.

There is slightly more to offer in music this week.

Rod Stewart offers the 13-song ‘Merry Christmas, Baby’ – which features covers on a bevy of favorites like ‘Auld Lang Syne,’ ‘White Christmas’ and ‘We Three Kings’ – among others.

Cee-Lo Green let’s loose with ‘Cee Lo’s Magic Moment,’ which is 14 Christmas songs like ‘Run Rudolph Run,’ ‘You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,’ and a duet with Stewart.

Neil Young & Crazy Horse unveil ‘Psychic Pill,’ which consists of 85 minutes of music (nine songs) and is the first album released by the two musical entities in a decade.

Finally, Toby Keith has ‘Hope on the Rocks,’ which has 14 songs – including a ‘Red Solo Cup’ remix.

Video Games
As far as video games go, I’m especially disappointed because ‘Lord of the Rings Lego’ was supposed to debut Tuesday (but got put off for two weeks).

Instead, we have ‘Assassin’s Creed 3’ – which is popular – but I don’t get the appeal of it. There’s also ‘Need for Speed: Most Wanted 2’ and ‘Toy Story Mania.’

What do you think? Is there anything to get excited about this week?

This week's top entertainment moments: Sexy nuns, Captain Hook and a Dawson's Creek reunion

The countdown to cancellation has already started for several shows, including what was supposed to be ABC’s power trio of ‘Last Resort,’ ‘Nashville’ and ‘666 Park Avenue.’

I think most people thought ‘666 Park Avenue’ and ‘Nashville’ would be slam dunks, while ‘Last Resort’ would struggle.

‘Nashville’ was the best reviewed show of the year. I’m not quite sure while it hasn’t caught on. ABC should definitely give it a better time slot. Perhaps move it to Tuesdays where there’s a vacuum of solid shows?

As for ‘666 Park Avenue,’ the problem with that show is that the writing is really cheesy. It’s supposed to be scary. In reality, it’s just silly.

‘Last Resort’ is on an island (pun intended). It really doesn’t pair up well with anything else on ABC’s lineup and it is fairly high concept. I can’t help but wonder if the show would have done better on CBS.

Anyway, this week’s top entertainment moments are:

5. American Horror Story – I’m still not sold on ‘Asylum’ yet. I like the ambiance but there’s something missing that I can’t put my finger on. Still, Jessica Lange is still all kinds of awesome. This week gave us some of Sister Jude’s back story - -including the fact that she was a lounge singer and um. . . popular with the townspeople. Not only that, she once got drunk and mowed down a little girl and kept on going. Exactly what kind of nun is she again?

4. Once Upon a Time – The Rumplestiltskin-heavy episode (no Emma and Snow in sight) shed some light on his tortured past. Not only was he a walking doormat, but he was also a rampant coward when he was human. I guess that’s why he is such a bully as The Dark One. Still, I was actually rooting for him to kill his wife. And, while I find Hook intriguing, I’m much more interested in Smee’s backstory. This show has been solid this season – but I don’t like the diverging storylines.

3. The Walking Dead – Rick is not taking anyone’s crap this season. The old Rick would have made excuses for a guy that tossed a walker on him. This Rick? No way. He buries a machete in his head. Then, he takes a guy that really had nothing to do with the situation and chases him outside where he leaves him to be walker lunch. This is not the Rick we’re used to. Not only that, he also rebuffed wife Lori’s attempts to repair their fractured marriage and he’s become emotionally distant from just about everyone in the group. Change is good, but I miss the old Rick. Anyone else more excited for Merle’s return this week rather than the Governor’s introduction?

2. Switched at Birth – The final run of episodes to finish off the first season was a definite step down in quality. Still, I was glad to see Daphne’s crush on the creepy older guy that slept with her best friend’s mother come to an end. If she ends up pregnant, I’m going to pitch a fit, though. I think showing the birth control pills was pretty heavy handed. This show has enough going on without knocking up one of the teens. I also liked that John and Emmett tracked down Bay – and Emmett’s heartfelt “I will always come find you.” Anyone else less than thrilled to see a pregnant woman come in and ask for Angelo in the waning seconds? The last thing this family needs is another player.

1. Fringe – Color me surprised Batman. I didn’t see Friday’s death coming. Sure, this is the final season of a cult show which has nothing to lose. Still, though, killing off the newest member of the “team” in the waning moments of the episode amidst a shootout was a gutsy move. I was never a big fan of Etta. In fact, I thought she was a double agent a lot of the time. Still, I am excited to see what ramifications her death will wreak over the final run.

Honorable mentions go to:

Don’t Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 -- I loved ‘Dawson’s Creek.’ If there was one actress or actor from that show I would have wanted for a fun cameo, it wouldn’t have been Busy Phillips. Give me the core four please. That being said, Zach Morris stole the show.

Parenthood – This show has completely lost the fun. While I truly felt for Kristina when she lied to her daughter and said she was cancer free – even though she still has to go through chemotherapy – so she would go back to college my favorite moment of the episode was Max’s stirring speech for class president. That kid is clearly the star of the show right now. Kudos to Amber’s new love interest, too. 

666 Park Avenue – Terry O’Quinn clearly has “must work opposite smoke monster” as one of the lines in his contract.

Gossip Girl – Serena is completely unlikeable right now. The way she is treating Blair is unbelievable. Nate’s relationship with the underage girl isn’t doing any favors for him either. And Dan? Anyone wish he’d get hit by a truck? Still, the closing scenes of Chuck and Blair snuggling up together were worth watching the entire thing.

Supernatural – This was probably my least favorite episode of the show’s entire run. Still, I found Dean’s new “thought process” on monsters interesting at the end.

What do you think? What were this week’s top entertainment moments?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Get out of the fog! Silent Hill returns for some scary fun

In general, I’m not a fan of movies based on video games.

I can count on one hand how many are decent.

I can count on a unicorn’s horn how many are great.

Still, there are a handful of video game movies that I actually enjoy. I don’t think they’re perfect, mind you, but I’m one of those people that can enjoy a movie despite its flaws.

‘Silent Hill: Revelation’ hits theaters tonight – just in time for Halloween – and I’m actually looking forward to it.

The thing is, ‘Silent Hill: Revelation’ is probably not going to be a great horror movie. Of course, there hasn’t been one great horror movie released this entire season – so this film can actually be called quality entertainment when you compare it to things like ‘Paranormal Activity 4.’

I should point out that ‘Silent Hill’ is my favorite horror video game franchise. Why do I like ‘Silent Hill’? Well, in certain instances the game has actually given me the creeps. I like the foggy atmosphere of a town cut off from humanity. I like the radio that plays loud static when something terrible gets closer. I actually like most of the story lines in the games as well.

See, while I am a fan of gore, I don’t enjoy playing games like ‘Resident Evil’ – mostly because they’re purely about the kill.

‘Silent Hill’ has plenty of kills – it just has a lot of puzzles and creepy ambiance to go with it.

In the first ‘Silent Hill’ movie, which was released in 2006, Rose Da Silva (Radha Mitchell) got lost in the abandoned town while she was looking for her adopted daughter Sharon. While Rose was introduced to the horrors of Silent Hill, her husband Christopher Da Silva (Sean Bean) was looking for her in the “real” world.

To say the first ‘Silent Hill’ movie was great would be a big, fat lie. Still, there was adequate ambiance, solid performances and some solid nods to game play that only a true fan could appreciate.

This second installment is a little more interesting. First off, it was caught in development hell for years. I was actually surprised when they moved forward with releasing it.

At the center of this ‘Silent Hill’ is Heather Mason (a character from the video games) who comes to town looking for her father Harry – who is also played by Sean Bean. Confusing, yes I know.

Mitchell reprises her role in the film, Malcolm McDowell and Carrie-Ann Moss sign up for the new installment and, in a case of inspired casting, Kit Harrington also comes out for some nightmarish fun.

Why is that important? It’s not really. It’s just cool for ‘Game of Thrones’ fans to see Bean and Harrington reunite in another world with a lot of beheadings.

I’ve tried to remain spoiler-free on this ‘Silent Hill.’ This isn’t a franchise that is going to deliver 
some profound ending – I know that.

Still, of all the horror movies offered this season, the only one that’s piqued my interest even a little is ‘Silent Hill.’

Bring on the fog.