Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wake Me Up When September Ends




One of my favorite music videos is of Green Day's great song "Wake Me Up Before September Ends." In the video, a young couple, played by Jamie Bell and Evan Rachel Wood, has a touching moment promising never to leave one another.

Later, they get into a fight after she confronts him of breaking their initial promise by enlisting to go off to war. He tells her he did that because he loved her so much and wanted to protect her...


We then seen him and his team fighting insurgents as she tearfully waits back at home. In the end, the audience is left in the dark of his ultimate fate just as his girlfriend is...



Time to wake up! October is here.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Looking Forward To...


The Social Network
Release: October 1, 2010
Distributor: Sony/Columbia
Director: David Fincher
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Timberlake, Rooney Mara, Max Minghella, Andrew Garfield, Armie Hammer, Joseph Mazzello, Rashida Jones, and Brenda Song

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Lone Star Gets Axed

One of my most anticipated new shows this season became the very first show to get the ax. After only two episodes, FOX has decided to cancel the critically-acclaimed but low-rated show Lone Star effectively immediately.

Am I shocked? Yes and no. I was shocked in so far as I thought that all of the critical love and pre-season buzz it received would've translated to more eyeballs checking it out, but when the first ratings numbers were published after its pilot, the writing was already on the wall. So when the network gave the show another chance this week, it was more or less seen as a Hail Mary pass which never connected as the ratings just fell some more.

Was it a quality show? Most definitely, but many critics kept saying how much the show felt like a cable show that would've probably fit better on FX or AMC and unfortunately the ratings it got were on par with those networks usual ratings and not the ratings expected for a highly-marketed show with a strong lead-in (House).

And so, goodbye Lone Star. Another Texas-sized blunder. Oh well.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Weekend TV

I saw the premiere of Supernatural on Friday with some hesitation since I'm definitely on the camp that think the show should've ended last year, when its original creators had wanted it to end. Instead they brought it back and sad to say it feels like a retread of previous plots. One of the brothers died, but has been resurrected? You don't say! There are bigger and mysterious forces at work? Wow, that is SO REFRESHING AND NEW. There's family tension? How groundbreaking! I jest, because I care. It also didn't help matters that my favorite character, Castiel, was nowhere to be found, which is just lame. A friend of mine says that the best way to go into this season is to have ZERO expectations. I think I'll do the same. Supernatural - B

After a long day outside, I managed to catch the premiere of Saturday Night Live with guest host Amy Poehler and company. I say "and company" because familiar faces like Tina Fey, Jimmy Fallon, Rachel Dratch, and Maya Rudolph made skit appearances as well as Justin Timberlake and musical guest Katy Perry. Overall, it was just OKAY. Nothing to really write home about. The first show back after summer hiatus is always tough since they try their best to get in all of the newsworthy stuff from the past 3 months. Kudos on the Gay Marriage at the Ground Zero Mosque sketch as well as Weekend Update's rant on DADT. Saturday Night Live - B


Sunday night for me was the premiere of The Amazing Race (its 17th season! wow!). I more or less posted my thoughts on the first episode in a previous entry, but I just want to say again how delightful this show is with its almost always interesting cast and gorgeous locales. Then there's the super awkward, over-dramatic episode of Brothers & Sisters and I actually see those qualities as a good thing. They obviously needed to deal with the fallout from the big accident from last season finale which they did with the special help of a convenient one year jump. Though was it just me or did they totally ripped its viewers off by not showing us the obviously awesome funeral of Robert? Just think about the possible guest list: crazy Holly, Robert's reverend brother/Kevin's ex, angry Rebecca, cast away Tommy, Robert's ex-wife, etc. I want to see THAT episode, please. Amazing Race - A; Brothers & Sisters - B

Amazing Race 17: The Contestants


It's another season of The Amazing Race which means it's yet another season to live vicariously through these brave racers traveling around the world for a chance of a million dollars. Hopefully the show will be around long enough for me to drum up the courage to apply, but for now I'm merely a huge fan and watcher. With that said, here are my initial thoughts on the 11 teams competing this year, in the order they checked in with Phil:

Jill & Thomas (Dating) - They are a formidable team out in front for most of the leg, working well together, and getting the show's first Express Pass enabling them to skip a task during the race. They're likable enough, so I wasn't angry they got this special prize.

Nat & Kat (Doctors) - Despite their rhyming names, I'm rooting for this team because (a) they refer to themselves as nerds (b) they are beautiful and smart, but seem very grounded and (c) I want an all-female team to win finally. Hope it's them!

Connor & Jonathan (Ivy League Acapella Singers) - Their singing will most likely get to me after a few more episodes, but they're likable enough. A few team have dubbed them "Team Glee." Seem to not take themselves too seriously, but could do well if they get their navigational skills and their penchant to help people in check.

Brook & Claire (Home Shopping Hosts) - They were popular even before the show began what with their watermelon video going viral. With that said, they both seemed to recover from that fluke accident quite well and is poised to be one of the few strong all-female teams this year.

Katie & Rachel (Beach Volleyball Partners) - Another strong all-female team, they are both fearless and athletic. Didn't get much on their personalities in the first episode, but they seem to work well together at least.

Gary & Mallory (Father/Daughter) - Was afraid Mallory would get on my nerves, but other teams have nicknamed her "Sunshine" and that's pretty much what she is and her joy and enthusiasm is contagious. Both seem to complement each other.

Michael & Kevin (Father/Son) - They are adorable together and apparently both are Youtube sensations. It's nice to see healthy/loving family relationships in display on this race (also see Gary/Mallory).

Chad & Stephanie (Newly Dating) - Very early in the show, Chad tells the viewers that he wants to propose to Stephanie during the race. That told me everything I needed to know about Chad and his macho bonehead act throughout the leg just confirmed it. Feel sorry for Stephanie.

Andie & Jenna (Birth Mother/Daughter) - They have been recently reunited and will use the race to spend time and bond with one another. It's a little hokey, but it's nice I suppose. As a team, they didn't really make an impression, but here's hoping they find the race worthwhile.

Nick & Vicki (Dating) - Wow, are they dumb. Thankfully, they're awfully likable in their naivete and they don't yell at one another (see Chad/Stephanie). I'm sort of rooting for them to as the ultimate underdog. Maybe they'll surprise us next week!

Ron & Tony (Best Friends) - They were first in the first half of the leg and then quickly and tragically ended up last in the end by getting hopelessly lost in the English countryside. They seemed really interesting and was sad they were the first to go.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Thursday Night TV

Heading into Thursday, it was feeling like a mixed bag. There were those few shows I was ecstatic about seeing again ever since I saw their season finales last season and then there are the more aged shows that I feel I've been watching more or less because of habit. Two things of note last night though: (a) I didn't check out any of the new shows the networks were shoving down our throats ($#!t My Dad Says and Outsourced looked absolutely abysmal) and (b) I spontaneously decided to cut out The Mentalist from my list. More free time for me!


On to the shows I did watch. Now, as amazing as Tina Fey is, and Jane Krakowski is sometimes as well, I feel 30 Rock hasn't been "must-see'TV" for awhile now and that's how I felt about the premiere as well. Maybe it's because I'm just not as enamored with Matt Damon's turn as pilot Carol or Krakowski dialed down the CRAZY this episode, but it was just okay. The other show is Grey's Anatomy, which in its defense has been doing a bit better. Its season finale was one of the best I saw last year and it would've been impossible to top what they did then. They didn't try to top it, thankfully, and instead tried to really deal with the trauma and fall out of the shooting. And to end with Owen and Cristina's wedding (I'm a big fan of the couple) was icing to the cake. 30 Rock - B; Grey's Anatomy - B

The big showdown of the night happened at 8PM when underrated Community went up against the behemoth that is Big Bang Theory. Not surprisingly BBT won the night in viewers, but in terms of quality they both came about pretty evenly with Community probably besting it just a tad since it had Betty White and DID NOT have one of its characters' penis stuck in a robot's hand. Actually for Big Bang Theory, my problem was that while the Penny/Sheldon plot was pure comedy gold, the B-plot with the three other guys was not as strong. This is unlike Community, which was strong throughout. The interplay between the disparate personalities in the group is one of the best things about this show and they delivered from the get go. Big Bang Theory - B; Community - B+

Finally, but certainly not least Fringe delivered one of the best episodes it has ever done (which is saying a lot) and one of the best premiere I saw this week. The most shocking thing is that the focus was all on Olivia, which at the beginning of the show's run was the least interesting character. Now? There's no such thing in this show. It was fantastic getting an extended look at the alternate universe Olivia now inhabits (Dogs! The Musical!) and also seeing Olivia struggle with all of the emotions and situations inherent to being over there (missing Peter, seeing her mom, etc.). I feel as if Anna Torv will have plenty of material this season to put forth a great Emmy reel, not as if they'd pay attention anyway. I just feel sorry for Joshua Jackson since he's the one actor not able to do double duty between both universes. Oh well. Fringe - A

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wednesday Night TV


There's a reason why Modern Family won all of those Emmy Awards a month ago and it's because this show is hilarious and still manages to balance all of its physical humor with just the right amount of heart. And this show has heart to spare. My favorite story-line last night revolved around the Dunphys and their struggle to let go of their old car. "Letting go" was the theme of the night, and it would be the saddest of days when we have to let this show go. Thankfully, that ain't happening any time soon. Cougar Town was the second half of that very funny hour and I certainly realized the I missed these crazy alcoholics. I get why they asked Jennifer Aniston to guest star (ratings!), but they didn't need her. Movie Mash-Up game will now be a staple between my friends and I. Modern Family - A-; Cougar Town - B+

How about the new shows of the night? Well... Undercovers met my expectations even though they weren't totally high. I mean hot people kicking ass in gorgeous exotic locales. Check, check, and check. I like the banter and the fact that this married couple is discovering stuff about one another as they've never worked together before as spies. Right now, it's Alias without all the Rambaldi and conspiracy stuff, which is good, but not really the most exciting thing, you know? Then there's The Whole Truth which I hadn't really planned on watching, but I did anyway. I truly expected it to suck, and it sucked all right, sucked me right in. The concept is simple enough. It's a court-room drama where we see the case from both the defense and prosecutor's side. I found the pilot very fascinating and most of that, I hope, had to do with breezy way Rob Morrow and Maura Tierney interacted with one another. So overall, very good. Undercovers - B; The Whole Truth - B+

Recent TV Casting News


The past day or so, there have been so many exciting TV casting news that I could barely contain my excitement and had to post them immediately.

Emmy-winning pair Michael Emerson and Terry O'Quinn, who captivated audiences in Lost, will apparently be starring together in a hit man drama show produced by no other than J.J. Abrams. NBC won the bidding war and has committed to a pilot order for the still untitled show. While most of the actors in Lost were great, these two were really something special, especially in scenes together, so suffice it to say, I'm really excited for this project. I'm hoping it's a little less drama and more of a dramedy akin to Abrams' Alias and current Undercovers which contain a few campy asides. I also wouldn't say no to other Lost alums guest starring! Make it so!

I love to keep tabs on Buffy the Vampire Slayer alums, so it was great to hear that two of them will guest star in shows I actually watch. First Eliza Dushku will follow in Katee Sackhoff and Summer Glau's footsteps and appear in geeky hit Big Bang Theory, though unlike those two other actresses, she won't be playing herself. The other alum is Amber Benson, who will play a patient's sister in Grey's Anatomy. Showrunner Shonda Rhimes is a self-confessed big Buffy fan and it's worth to mention that Benson had appear in the Grey's spin-off Private Practice before. She, however, won't be playing the same character.

And finally, the most random and awesome TV casting news came out yesterday when it broke out that Teri Hatcher would play Lois Lane's mom in the final season of Smallville. To those who do not know, Hatcher played Lois Lane to Dean Cain's Superman in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, which aired for four seasons back in the 90s. Now,+ I don't watch Smallville and have not really been a fan of Hatcher since the 90s, but this casting coup deserves some kudos both to the Smallville folks who had the sense of humor to go for it and to Teri Hatcher who didn't need to do this at all. Well done to everyone involved.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tuesday Night TV


With more than half of the shows I'm interested in watching on Tuesdays not debuting until next week, it was just two shows on FOX that caught my attention.

And for Glee's sophomore season, everyone is definitely paying attention. I won't lie, I was a bit worried how this show was going handle all of its success from last season, but I think they did okay. The episode started out strong with lots of meta-jokes, paying homage to its vocal, media-savvy fans. Some might say it's just a wee bit too soon to do this, but Glee never does anything halfway. The pacing, the character re-introductions, and the integration of the new cast members in the first half of the episode were snappy and well-done, but sometime around Sue declared Will her mortal enemy again all the way to Rachel's out-of-place solo number in the end, the momentum sort of halted leaving me with a meh feeling in the end. Glee - B+

The new show to get that most-coveted post-Glee spot is Raising Hope which stars the wonderful Martha Plimpton and Cloris Leachman. Heard positive reviews for this one, but I thought the pilot was just okay. Was never a huge fan of My Name Is Earl, but it reminds me of that just a bit. I'll give it a few episodes to win me over though. I wasn't planning on watching Running Wilde, but I tuned in for the first ten or so minutes. And even though it was only a half an hour show, I just couldn't finish it. It was that painful. Raising Hope - B-; Running Wilde - D

Looking Forward To...


Howl
Release: September 24, 2010
Distributor: Oscilloscope Pictures
Directors: Bob Epstein and Jeff Friedman
Starring: Aaron Tveit, Mary-Louise Parker, Jon Hamm, David Strathairm, Bob Balaban, Jeff Daniels, Alessandro Nivola, Treat Williams, and James Franco

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Monday Night TV

Most of the shows that premiered last night took a "okay let's see where this is going approach save for one show which pretty much just picked up from where it left off last season as being just a fun kick-ass show.


That show was, drum-roll please, Castle. Just another wildly entertaining episode anchored by the fantastic chemistry of Nathan Filion and Stana Katic with some wonderful assists in Jon Huertas and Seamus Dever. With that said, the other returning shows weren't bad at all, as both How I Met Your Mother and Chuck went into the their new seasons with a mother in mind. While many were down on HIMYM last season, I really wasn't, so they didn't need to prove anything to me with their premiere. It delivered on the laughs, the plot, and most importantly the characters we've come to love. Special kudos to Alyson Hannigan and Jason Segel. As for Chuck, it was a hoot to see Linda Hamilton as Chuck's mom as well as to see the new Buy More and General Beckman's new role in the show. Castle - A; Chuck - B+; How I Met Your Mother - B+

The new shows pretty much ran the gamut in terms of my expectations. The Event disappointed promising us the next 24 or the next Lost, but all the pilot did was make me miss those two groundbreaking shows. With that said, I tend to give these kinds of shows a lot of leeway especially in the beginning, so I'll give it 2-3 more episodes to get into its groove. Lone Star met my high expectations as I was immediately riveted by the double lives of Bob Allen. The premise has so much promise and I'm loving the melodramatic soap tone of the show. This one is definitely a keeper, that is, if the network doesn't cancel it soon. Finally, there's Hawaii Five-0 which pleasantly surprised me. The best part about the show is not the gorgeous locales or the plot (what plot?), but the chemistry between the actors. Even though it took until the second half to get all four leads together, they gelled quite well that by the end I already saw them as a family. It also doesn't hurt to have such a hot cast. Lone Star - A-; Hawaii Five-0 - B; The Event - C+

Sunday, September 19, 2010

My 2010 Fall TV Schedule

While a few shows have already premiered, the bulk of the shows are debuting this coming week, starting tomorrow with a jam-packed Monday.

Below are the shows I will be checking out and yes, I know it's way too much. C'est la vie.

MONDAY

For each primetime hour, on this very busy day, I have two shows I'm planning to watch. For the 8PM hour, it's a battle of East vs. West between How I Met Your Mother (CBS) and Chuck (NBC). The 9PM hour is a coin-flip of two new shows Lone Star (FOX) and The Event (NBC). The night ends with Alex O'Louhglin trying to out-fox Nathan Fillion as new show Hawaii Five-0 (CBS) goes up against Castle (ABC). BTW, yes I'm one of the few people who doesn't watch House and I gave up on Gossip Girl last year. Moving on.

TUESDAY

I am so happy that Glee (FOX) has moved from Wednesdays since it was up against ABC's hit comedy shows last year. Of course now it's up against ABC's maybe-maybe not new hit superhero show No Ordinary Family (ABC). The hour after that is pretty bleak in terms of choices, but I have high hopes for new comedy Raising Hope (FOX) and if I feel like it, I might also pick up Stargate: Universe (SyFy) again. Finally, it's all about The Good Wife (CBS) at 10PM and possibly Caprica (SyFy).

WEDNESDAY

This day looks downright SAD compared to all the other days of the week, but I'll be happy with the mid-week break. Since I don't watch Survivor or America's Next Top Model, I'll use the 8PM hour to check out J.J. Abrams' latest Undercovers (NBC). In the 9PM hour, it's all about ABC comedies Modern Family and Cougar Town both of which I'm very excited about seeing again. ABC, CBS, and NBC all have new shows on tap for 10PM and I have no real desire to see any of them with the possible exception for The Whole Truth (ABC) depending on the reviews it will get.

THURSDAY

Today makes up for the previous day's lack of choices. All I have are choices this day. The 8PM hour is insane as two of my favorite comedy shows go head to head, Big Bang Theory (CBS) and Community (NBC). I'm actually pissed BBT moved from Mondays and thus will probably crush poor Community, the returning show I'm looking forward to most of all. There's also 30 Rock (NBC) right after both shows and possibly new show My Generation (ABC) though thankfully the latter is getting awful reviews. 9PM belongs to Fringe (FOX) with me also watching (but close to quitting) Grey's Anatomy (ABC). At 10PM, it's not difficult since I already stopped watching Private Practice last year, so all I have left is The Mentalist (CBS).

FRIDAY-SUNDAY

Supernatural (CW) is my only Friday night show I'm going to make an effort on catching. I'm sure to tune in to a few Saturday Night Live (NBC) episodes on Saturday and as for Sunday all I have on dock are The Amazing Race (CBS) and Brothers & Sisters (ABC) since I gave up on Desperate Housewives last season. Maybe if I have time I'll catch some Family Guy (FOX) as well.

Returning Shows I'm Most Excited About: Community, Modern Family, The Good Wife, and Cougar Town

Returning Shows in Danger of Getting Cut: Grey's Anatomy, The Mentalist, and Stargate: Universe

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Day at the Zoo


Spent the day at the zoo today, just because. It was the perfect day for it, partly cloudy and warm. Saw lots of animals, obviously, but secretly in my head I was wondering if I could spot all of the animals from Lion King, because I'm that much of a dork. It also helped that one of the first animals we saw was the lion. Sadly, I only got to see a hyena and a red-bill hornbill. No warthogs, meerkats, and mandrills. Did get to see tigers and bears, oh my.

Favorite exhibit was probably the Birds of Prey. Seeing the condors, vultures, and owls were fantastic and terrifying at the same time.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Looking Forward To... FALL/WINTER

While I found it a bit difficult to get amped up for what the summer had to offer, I never seem to have that problem when it comes to the fall/holiday movie season and this year isn't any different. Without further a due, here are most of the films coming out between today and the end of the year that I'm most interested in...

September is a bit lean, yet still there are many films I want to see. Today is actually the release of one of the films I've been intrigued about since I heard about it. Never Let Me Go stars Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield, and Keira Knightley and it's adapted from a book that has gotten rave reviews. Also coming out this week is The Town which is also getting rood reviews and it is starring Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, and Ben Affleck. Two comedies that caught my eye this month are Easy A and You Again. The latter stars Betty White, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kristin Chenoweth, and Sigourney Weaver... so clearly that's a must-see film. Easy A has been on my list since I saw the Mean Girls-Saved!-esque trailer a few weeks ago. Finally, Woody Allen offers up his latest with You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger while James Franco partners up with Aaron Tveit in Howl.

October offers a mix of potential Oscar contenders and horror films. In the Oscar contender side there's the much-buzzed about movie The Social Network aka The Facebook Movie which a lot of critics are dubbing as the quintessential film of our times. There is also the Seabiscuit-like film Secretariat starring John Malkovich and Diane Lane, Focus Features' quirky It's Kind of a Funny Story, and The Weinstein's ode to the Beatles with Nowhere Boy starring newcomer Aaron Johnson playing John Lennon. Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell team up for the dramatic film Conviction while Clint Eastwood tries a little something different with Hereafter starring Matt Damon. Just saw a trailer of the latter and it's definitely... different. Also in the mix, though probably not for Oscars, is Tamara Drew directed by Stephen Frears starring Dominic Cooper and Red, an action comedic film starring Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, and Helen Mirren based on a graphic novel. For the horror aficionados, there's Let Me In, a remake of the wonderful 2008 film Let the Right One In, and Monsters, which to me looks a little bit like District 9 meets Cloverfield. If both films live up to those films that they remind me of, they should be worth watching.

November is when things start getting serious. Two films getting absolutely stunning reviews and warm receptions are Danny Boyle's harrowing film 127 Hours with James Franco and The King's Speech with Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, and Geoffrey Rush. Both, at the moment, seem to be the two Best Picture front-runners. Then again at this time last year, that spot was held by Up in the Air. Two films which will probably have debatable Oscar traction, yet are near the top of my must-see list, are Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part I) and Love and Other Drugs starring Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal. And while I'm not the biggest Tyler Perry fan, I just saw a trailer for his most recent film For Colored Girls and the cast looks top-notch and I admit, I'm intrigued. A few of the other movies I want to see, but would probably wait until they were out on DVD include Burlesque, Made in Dagenham, Skyline, and Welcome to the Riley's.

Finally, December is do-or-die with every studio seemingly going for broke. There are lots of must-see films this month including Darren Aronofsky's much-awaited Black Swan, Sofia Coppola's recent Golden Lion winner Somewhere, Julie Taymor's The Tempest, and Mike Leigh's Another Year. There's also Miral starring Slumdog Millionaire actress Freida Pinto and my most anticipated film of the year, Blue Valentine, starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. Seriously, I've been waiting for the movie to come up since I heard about the project last year. And yet there are many, many more such as The Fighter with Mark Wahlberg, The Tourist with Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, Tron: Legacy with Jeff Bridges, Biutiful with Javier Bardem, and The Debt with Sam Worthington and Helen Mirren. I'll probably wait to see the third Chronicles of Narnia film on Netflix as well as the beleaguered and oft-delayed I Love You, Phillip Morris with Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor playing lovers.

Whew. That's... a lot. Suffice it to say, I most likely will not end up watching all of these, but I'll do my best, just because I am that insane. That's how many bold-faced movies up there? 38? Taking out my "Netflix movies" and I'm left with around 25-28. So with the average ticket price at around $12.50, if I do end up seeing the movies I truly want to see it would cost me around $312.50-$350. Thud. Well, maybe I'm not looking that much forward to the upcoming weeks after all...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

True Lies on TV?

Yesterday, news broke out that James Cameron, probably tired of counting all of the money he has earned at the box office, is looking to bring one of his earlier films to the small screens, namely his 1994 spy-caper True Lies which starred Jamie Lee Curtis and Arnold Schwarzenegger. This would be his second foray to TV land as he co-created Dark Angel which aired for two seasons on FOX before getting canceled.

I had always wanted them to do a sequel to the film with the focus on their now grown-up daughter who was played by Eliza Dushku in one of her earliest roles. We know she can kick plenty of ass as evidenced by her roles in Joss Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dollhouse. More likely though this new TV version will reboot the series setting up a new family with the father working secretly as a spy with his family unaware.

I'm sure there will be twists galore, but with J.J. Abrams' Alias and his new show Undercovers, not to mention cult-favorite Chuck and new summer show Covert Affairs, the genre seems a bit overplayed right now.

And again, I still say bring on Eliza Dushku to tie in movie-TV continuity with Tom Arnold as a mentor and cameo appearances by Jamie Lee Curtis (and possibly Arnold). Maybe she's married now and her family thinks she's just a boring [insert normal job here]. Again, not super original now, but hey it's Dushku kicking ass. I don't see a downside here.

Monday, September 13, 2010

US Open Report: Day 15


Rafael Nadal wins the 2010 US Open title, his 9th major overall, becoming only the seventh man to win the Career Grand Slam. With his Olympic gold medal, he only becomes the third tennis player (man or woman) to win all four slams as well as the Olympic gold. Married couple Andre Agassi and Steffi Graff are the other two players to achieve this feat. Nadal also becomes the first player to win three straight Grand Slam tournaments since Rod Laver did it more than four decades ago.

Big props to his opponent, newly #2 player in the world Novak Djokovic who is the only player to win a set off Nadal this entire tournament. After winning the grueling four-hour epic match against Roger Federer on Saturday, many people didn't give the Serbian a chance. Fate stepped in on Sunday as rain postponed play enabling both Djokovic and Nadal to rest one extra day. Djokovic fought hard and pounded the ball as hard as he could to Nadal. It's a testament to his great fighting spirit that he saved a ton of break points against him. Winning that second set was also a great achievement especially right after a 2-hour rain delay postponed the match today. In the end, however, he was just beaten through and through by one of the greats of our time.

Speaking of "greats of all time" the inevitable debates and conversations about who is the GOAT will continue to rage on especially with this result. If Nadal can win 3-5 more Grand Slams, it's definitely worth talking about. For now though, I'm just going to leave it to other people to exhaust themselves silly arguing for one or another (or another). With Nadal winning his third major title of the year, he more or less locks up the #1 ranking for the year.

And before another Grand Slam season to a close, a hearty congratulations should also go out to Women's Doubles title champions 6th seed Vania King-Yaroslava Shvedova who won against 2nd seed Liezel Huber-Nadia Petrova. Until next year, New York!

US Open Report: Day 14


And the winner of the Men's Final contested between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic is... postponed until tomorrow! For the third straight year (seriously?) the Men's Final will be held on Monday due to rain. This is great news for Djokovic who would appreciate as much time off the court to recover from his epic semifinal match with Roger Federer. He'll need to be fully recovered, and then some, to upset Nadal's bid to get a career Grand Slam.

The Women's Doubles title will also have to be given away tomorrow instead as the match was suspended due to rain. Before the suspension, doubles team Liezel Huber-Nadia Petrova was a game away in the third set for the win.

Despite the rain, there were some winners today. Top seed Daria Gavrilova of Russia won the Junior Girls' title while unseeded American Jack Sock won the Boys' title. Wheelchair athlete Esther Vergeer won her 6th US Open wheelchair title and extended her winning streak to an unreal 396 matches!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Summer 2010 Movies


Summer ended last week so might as well put up a few quick thoughts on the films I found time to see this summer. In the order of their release dates...

Iron Man 2 (May 7) - Not as fun or as fresh as the first film. RDJ kind of sleep-walking through the role. B/B-

MacGruber (May 21) - As stupid as you expected it to be. Wish I could forget it. C-

The A-Team (June 11) - Fun, mindless action film. Sharlto Copley is best in show. B

Toy Story 3 (June 18) - Pixar's latest turned me into a blubbering mess. Wonderful, depressing, awesome. A

The Kids Are All Right (July 9) - Good family dramedy with some solid acting, but I had higher expectations. B/B+

Inception (July 16) - Totally mindblowing theatrical experience. Had me discussing it weeks after I saw the film. Great ensemble too. A

Salt (July 23) - Angelina Jolie makes it work. Great pacing, but predictable story. B

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (August 13) - Pretty much an epic of epic epicness. Loved, loved, loved it. A

Eat Pray Love (August 13) - More like Huh Boring Oh God. Pretty locales, but indulgent. B-

Reflecting on last summer, I saw two more films, which doesn't really mean anything. There's plenty of films I didn't get to see, but most of those I'll catch up on when their DVDs are released. Any particular summer movie I missed that should make sure to watch? Don't say Twilight! That's so already on the top of my queue!

US Open Report: Day 13


It was Super Saturday at the US Open and it certainly lived up to its name. Let's start at the end where 2nd seed Kim Clijsters successfully defended her US Open title for her third major victory. She becomes the first woman to defend her US Open title since Venus Williams did it in 2001. She did it by overpowering and controlling the court better than first time US Open finalist Vera Zvonareva who only managed to win three games against the Belgian. It was a clinical rout as Clijsters played the perfect game, using angles and a strong ground game to unnerve the Russian. Clijsters' streak of 21 consecutive matches at US Open lives on.


The men's final will take place tomorrow and it will be a first-time US Open champion. Top seed Rafael Nadal dismissed Mikhail Youzhny in the first semifinal match of the day breaking the Russian early in all three sets played and other than the one time he was broken (only the second time in the tournament) Nadal was solid with his serves. With this win, Nadal reaches his first US Open final and is now one match away from being the 7th man to win a career Grand Slam (winning all four majors).


The last man to get the career Grand Slam was 2nd seed Roger Federer and he was looking to reach his 7th straight US Open final as well as meet Nadal in the final at Flushing for the first time ever. 3rd seed Novak Djokovic, however, rained on that parade. Losing to Federer four times prior in the late rounds of the US Open, the fifth time was the charm as Djokovic outlasted the 5-time champion, saving two match points in the process, to win in five grueling sets. Last time Djokovic beat Federer at a slam, it was a career-defining win as he went on to win his first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open. This win, no matter the result on Sunday, should still be seen as career-defining as well. Federer for his part definitely had chances, but squandered momentum after winning the 1st and 3rd sets by going away in the 2nd and 4th sets. Federer will fall back to #3 in the world as Djokovic takes over the #2 ranking after the tournament.

Men's Final Preview: No matter who won the Federer-Djokovic match, Nadal would have still had a 14-7 H2H advantage over either player. Djokovic, however, edges Nadal 7-3 on hard courts and has won their last three meetings in relatively routine straight sets (all on hard courts). Nadal is 4-0 in slam matches they've played, but 3 of those were held in Roland Garros and they've never played at the US Open. The most important factor, however, may not be their past history, but what happened today. Nadal played first and won in quick and relatively drama-free fashion while Djokovic played the later match and had to spend so much energy to outlast Federer in five sets especially in that final set, down match points. Plus Nadal has never been hungrier for this title, the one title he is missing from his already storied career. Djokovic played the match of his life today, but he won't get past destiny tomorrow which has Rafael Nadal's name written all over it.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

US Open Report: Day 12


7th seed Vera Zvonareva made top seed Caroline Wozniacki look like an amateur defeating her in straight sets 6-4 6-3 to reach her second consecutive major final. Zvonareva dictated the match running Wozniacki all over the place and being more steady in the yet again difficult conditions. Wozniacki looked lost out there unable to cope with both the conditions and Zvonareva's strong game play. Wozniacki had a chance to grab the #1 ranking from Serena Williams if she won the tournament, but she has to now make due with the $250,000 bonus cash for winning the US Open series and reaching the semifinals.

No matter what happened in the other match Zvonareva's opponent would be a former no. 1 and 2-time US Open champion. In the blockbuster match between Kim Clijsters and Venus Williams, both ladies went back and forth controlling the game. Clijsters had early breaks in the first two sets only to lose it later. It cost her the first set, but she fought back in the second winning that one in the tie-break where Venus was unable to win a single game on her serve. Clijsters yet again won a early break in the third set, but was broken by Venus soon after. Fortunately, she broke Venus' serve again with an amazing lob enabling her to serve out the match and for her second straight US Open final.

Bob Bryan, who already won the Mixed Doubles title with Liezel Huber yesterday, won another title today this time getting the Men's Doubles title with his twin brother Mike Bryan for their 9th major title, only two away from the great Woodies. They defeated doubles team Rohan Bopanna of India and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan.


Women's Final Preview:
One would think this would be a slam dunk for defending champion Clijsters who has won 20+ straight matches at the US Open especially with her 5-2 edge H2H over her opponent. However, since Clijsters' comeback last year, they met twice and Zvonareva has won both of those meetings, one in Wimbledon and the other in Montreal. Both matches went to three sets with Clijsters getting only two games in the third set of each. With that said, the pressure to perform well again in a Slam final just might get to Zvonareva similar to what happened to her in Wimbledon against Serena this year. So I'll pick mommy Clijsters to lift the trophy and her duaghter Jada once again tomorrow night!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Valentine Pair Graces W Magazine


One of my most anticipated films this year is Blue Valentine starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. Of course the movie is set to be released at the very last day of the year, December 31, which is just torture. But maybe if more magazines would put these two criminally gorgeous actors on their cover just as W Magazine did above, the wait might be a bit more tolerable.

ONTD has more pictures of the pretty pair. Might want to not look directly at them though lest you get blinded by their beauty.

US Open Report: Day 11


Only two men's singles matches needed to be played today to complete the roster of semifinalists for the men and women. And like the past few days, the four men playing today had to deal with the gutsy wind and the cold conditions.

First match was between Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland and Mikhail Youzhny of Russia. This was a real opportunity for both players with Wawrinka never making it this far into a major and Youzhny trying to reach only his second major semifinals. Wawrinka took a stanglehold early in the match capturing the first set easily, but the Russian fought back in the second to win a tiebreak putting them even once again. Wawrinka took the third set, but then the Russian wore down his Swiss opponent in the last two sets to win. Youzhny faces the winner of the first all-Spanish quarterfinal match at the US Open.

That match was between the top two Spaniards in the world, top seed Rafael Nadal and 8th seed Fernando Verdasco. Verdasco started out strong breaking Nadal in the latter's first service game to take the early lead. Nadal hung in there and slowly, but surely found his range finally able to break Verdasco in the eight game tying the score at 4-4. Nadal went on to break Verdasco's serve once more to win the first set 7-5. After that, there was little Verdasco could do as Nadal won the next two sets in a routine fashion.

Before those single matches were played, the first trophies of the US Open were handed out today as America's Liezel Huber and Bob Bryan won the Mixed Doubles title over Kveta Peschke of Czech Republic and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan 6-4 6-4. After the singles matches, 5-time Grand slam champion Martina Hingis teamed up with her old partner Anna Kournikova in an exhibition doubles match against Pat Cash and Mats Wilander. The guys won 7-5, but just so it's out there in the universe for anyone listening: "Hingis PLEASE COME BACK!!!"

Men's Second Semifinals Preview: Nadal should be heavily favored against Youzhny especially considering Nadal's form (hasn't lost a set yet) and Youzhny's condition (played a grueling five-set match). Last time they both played one another was two years ago at Wimbledon which Nadal won in straight sets. Historically, their H2H is 7-4 in Nadal's favor, but all of Youzhny's four wins came on hard courts which he has a 4-3 advantage over Nadal. They played once at the US Open back in 2006 which Youzhny won in four sets. Still, it's hard to see Nadal NOT win this to get to his first US Open final and a chance at a career Grand Slam.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

US Open Report: Day 10


The wind yet again troubled the players today especially since all of the single matches were held in Arthur Ashe stadium where the wind seems to have a mind of its own. While all of the players found the wind annoying, the top players persevered.

Wimbledon finalist and 7th seed Vera Zvonareva reached her first US Open semifinals beating 32nd seed Kaia Kanepi in straight sets. Zvonareva easily won the first set, but both players could not take a foothold in the second set, both committing errors after errors. In the end it was Kanepi's 60th error that gave the only Russian in the top ten the match. The match between 17th seed Gael Monfils and 3rd seed Novak Djokovic looked to be a blockbuster match, but the more experienced Djokovic tamed the Frenchman in straight sets, giving up only 3 games in the last two sets. After Monfils lost the first-set tiebreaker, he got more desperate hitting a ton of unpractical shots that put him out of position while Djokovic just handled the crazy conditions much better.

The wind got even gustier at the start of the Caroline Wozniacki-Dominika Cibulkova match. Both players lost their serves early trying to adjust to the windy conditions. Wozniacki was able to adjust more quickly and won the first set in no time. It was a closer affair in the second set getting to 5-5. Unfortunately for Cibulkova, she lost her serve in the 11th game and Wozniacki had a chance to serve it out. Cibulkova fought back and had break point, but Wozniacki saved that and won the next two point to win the match and reach her second consecutive US Open semifinals.

Last time they played, 5th seed Robin Soderling defeated 5-time US Open champion Roger Federer in the French Open quarterfinals to end Federer's semifinals streak in majors. So for Federer, this was a revenge match and he more than anyone today really used the wind to his advantage. Though he was broken twice, Federer was relatively superb during his service games garnering 18 aces to Soderling's measly 2. It was the Swede who was clearly agitated with the wind unable to hit his usual array of winners. With Federer already up 2 sets, Soderling had a chance to serve out the third set at 5-3 only for Federer to break him and win the next three games for a straight-set win. Federer is the only other player in the tournament other than Rafael Nadal to not have lost a set.

Men's First and Women's Second Semifinal Preview: Djokovic is a dangerous opponent for Federer, but the numbers speak for themselves. Federer leads their H2H 10-5 and has won all four of their matches at the US Open with Djokovic managing to only win ONE set. With that said, Djokovic has improved as the tournament progressed, but it's probably NOT enough to take out the 5-time US Open winner. As for Wozniacki-Zvonareva, it's actually more of a toss-up than one would think. Their H2H is 2-2 overall and 1-1 this year. Wozniacki is the better player at the moment, so the edge goes to the top seed.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Looking Forward To...

Fall TV Edition

Believe it or not, the Fall TV Season begins tonight with The CW debuting its new cheerleading-focused show Hellcats. Next week a few more shows will premiere, but the bulk of shows (old and new) will return the week of September 20th.

Here are some of the NEW shows that I will definitely make a point in checking out for one reason or another (great pre-release buzz and/or very appealing cast):

No Ordinary Family (ABC)
Premieres: Tuesday, Sept. 28 @8PM
Creators: Greg Berlanti and Jon Harmon Feldman
Starring: Romany Malco. Autumn Reeser, Kay Panabaker, Jimmy Bennett, Julie Benz, Michael Chiklis, and Stephen Collins
Time Period Conflict: Glee

Lone Star (FOX)
Premieres: Monday, Sept. 20 @ 9PM
Starring: Bryce Johnson, Jon Voight, Mark Deklin, Adrianne Palicki, James Wolk, Eloise Mumford and David Keith
Time Period Conflict: The Event

Raising Hope (FOX)
Premieres: Tuesday, Sept. 21 @ 9PM
Creator: Gregory Thomas Garcia
Starring: Cloris Leachman, Garret Dillahunt, Lucas Neff, Shannon Woodward, and Martha Plimpton
Time Period Conflict: N/A

The Event (NBC)
Premieres: Monday, Sept. 20 @ 9PM
Creator: Nick Wauters
Starring: Laura Innes, Ian Anthony Dale, Jason Ritter, Bill Smitrovich, Blair Underwood, Lisa Vidal, and Zeljko Ivanek
Time Period Conflict: Lone Star

Hawaii Five-0 (CBS)
Premieres: Monday, Sept. 20 @ 10PM
Starring: Grace Park, Scott Caan, Alex O'Loughlin, and Daniel Dae Kim
Time Period Conflict: Castle

Other NEW shows on my radar: Undercovers (NBC), Outsourced (NBC), Nikita (CW), and My Generation (ABC)

US Open Report: Day 9

It was a long, long day of tennis today. It began with 12th seed Mikhail Youzhny taking out Tommy Robredo in four tight sets. Youzhny will meet the second best Swiss player, Stanislas Wawrinka who went the distance with his match with last American man standing Sam Querrey. The match lasted more than four hours and both men were clearly relieved when it was over.

A couple of Grand Slam champions then took to Arthur Ashe Stadium as Venus Williams and Francesca Schiavone battled it out for the first spot in the semifinals. It was an energetic match mostly due to the Italian's manic play of style. Unfortunately for her, Venus came out on top in two very, very close sets. While this was happening, the first of today's all-Spanish match-up with 8th seed Fernando Verdasco and 10th seed David Ferrer was being played in Louis Armstrong. Ferrer was up 2 sets to love until Verdasco bravely took it to a fifth set where he won in the tie-break with a most dramatic point.

The night session at that point had started over at Ashe Stadium with defending champion Kim Clijsters playing this year's French Open finalist Sam Stosur. Neither player was able to play consistently throughout the match and in fact traded six consecutive breaks of serve in the third set before Clijsters recovered and held serve twice to win her 19th consecutive match at the US Open. The one player who made quick work today was top seed Rafael Nadal who dismissed fellow countryman Feliciano Lopez in straight sets. Nadal looks focused for the one title that eludes him, serving impressively. He is the only player, man or woman, to not have his serve broken.

Men's Quarterfinal Preview: So with those results, we have the eight men to make up the quarterfinalists. It's an impressive list containing the top two Swiss and Spanish players as well as the top Serbian and the top Swede. The second best Russian and French players also make the stacked list of players. The toughest match will be Federer-Soderling with Nadal and Djokovic highly favored in their respective duels with Verdasco and Monfils. A bit of a toss-up is Wawrinka-Youzhny but the Russian should like his chances to reach his second major semifinal appearance with a tired and slightly injured Wawrinka on the other side.

Women's First Semifinal Preview: 2-time US Open champions Venus Williams and Kim Clijsters need to get through each other to have a chance at getting their third US Open title. They met last year in the fourth round, but it was such an odd match (Clijsters won 6-0 0-6 6-4) that it's hard to get anything from that. Clijsters did win Miami this year beating Venus in the finals and it wasn't close at all. Clijsters SHOULD win this, but the streakiness she's shown the past few days are a bit worrisome.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

US Open Report: Day 8


As the commentators kept telling us, after today there will only be 8 women and 12 men left in the draw. It's definitely the business end of the tournament and people are stepping up.

2007 US Open finalists Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic continued their strong showings moving on in straight sets. Federer went 13-0 in night matches defeating Jurgen Melzer while Djokovic ended Mardy Fish's incredible run this summer. In the all-French match, Gael Monfils outplayed Richard Gasquet. Finally, 5th seed Robin Soderling recovered from losing the first set to Albert Montanes and winning the next three sets handily. Soderling will next face Federer and I'm sure both would love to avenge their recent losses to the other--Federer took out Soderling at last year's US Open while Soderling took out Federer at this year's French Open; both were quarterfinal matches.

For the ladies, it was bad if you were a former US Open champion. 2002 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova was taken out by Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia while 2006 champion Maria Sharapova was beaten by top seed Caroline Wozniacki. Through the first four rounds, Wozniacki has really carried the #1 seed well, giving up only 10 games in eight sets. Meanwhile, 7th seed Vera Zvonareva dismissed Andrea Petkovic while Kaia Kanepi of Estonia survived getting bageled in the first set by winning the second set tiebreak and dishing out a breadstick of her own in the third set against 15th seed Yanina Wickmayer.

Women's Quarterfinal Preview: Eight different countries are represented this year with Denmark, Slovakia, Estonia, Russia, Italy, United States, Australia, and Belgium have a player in the final eight. The hardest matches to predict is probably the ones in the bottom half of the draw aka Williams-Schiavone and Clijsters-Stosur since depending on the day, they all can be unbeatable or completely vulnerable. Still, I think experience will pull through with both Williams and Clijsters moving on. In the top half, top ten players Wozniacki and Zvonareva should be favored in their respective battle with Cibulkova and Kanepi, but weirder things have happened...

Monday, September 6, 2010

One Reason to Watch Breaking Bad


His name is Aaron Paul and he recently won an Emmy award for his role of meth-head Jesse Pinkman in the critically acclaimed AMC series Breaking Bad. The show just concluded its third season this past June, but I just saw the first season this holiday weekend and in a word, it is wonderful.

Now even though I'm highlighting the prettiness of Aaron Paul in this post, kudos should really go to his 3-time Emmy winner Bryan Cranston who plays the lead character Walter White, a chemistry teacher turning to life as a crystal meth dealer/maker to deal with his recent diagnosis of stage 3 lung cancer. The first season is easy enough to catch up on with only 7 episodes, but I'm looking forward to seeing the rest as soon as possible.