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Archive for July, 2007

Burn Notice: Old Friends and Family Business

Posted by BenSpark on July 31, 2007

This weekend Allison and I caught up on some taped shows like Burn Notice and PSYCH. We were two weeks behind on Burn Notice and caught up with two episodes that introduced us to Michael’s broth Nathan. Nathan seems to have a gambling problem and Michael has to help bail him out. Nathan also tries to cheat people and Michael has to fix that too. Nathan isn’t much help, not sure what he is bringing to the show except another person to push Michael’s buttons, which is actually pretty funny because Michael is so calculated and precise that it makes for a humorous situation when he has to show any emotion.

Old Friends had a sub plot about an assassin coming to take out Michael. Michael ends up slipping away from the assassin and getting the drop n him later. He got some information but when the assassin was transferred into custody he was found hanging by his shoelaces. I don’t think it was suicide and neither did Michael.

The main plot or Michaels rescue of the week involved a young girl who thought she was going to be a model but was actually going to be sold as a sex slave in the Middle East. There should be more Michael Westen’s around because I am sure that there are plenty of scumbags like the Wilhelm brothers.

One of the things I love about the show is how Michael narrates things as he does them. Talking about the knife fight and starting a fight to avoid another fight. Really very entertaining.

The second episode was Family Business. A young airport supervisor who gets way in over his head with some gun runners. Nathan introduces Michael to Jake, the airport supervisor. Seems Jake has second thoughts and turned down the “exporters”. Well you can’t just do that because then Jake began to get threatened. Michael poses as a demolitions expert and worms his way into the operation. In the end Mciahel infiltrate the family, disrupts the business and spooks them so badly that they leave.

Meanwhile new agents are assigned to Michael’s case. The agents that were easily manipulated by Sam are leaving. Sam is going to have to buy his own drinks from now on.

I have to admit I wasn’t paying as close attention to this episode except when Michael blows up the truck and explains that fondant make a good fake C4.

Burn notice is becoming my second favorite show of the summer. Sorry but Psych wins that one for me. I just love the relationship of Sean and Gus and it entertains me so much.

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How Does Your Day Rate?

Posted by BenSpark on July 31, 2007

I have been signing up from a bunch of new blogging sites and tools lately. And today I came across one called I Rate MY Day. Here is how I would rate today.

Click here to read my rating!

I’ll be adding this widget to my sidebar as well. You can even add the I Rate My Day widget to FaceBook. I signed up for that too, but that is for another post. If you sign up make sure you also sign up for the Free Zune Giveaway. I hope I end up winning it, that would be very cool.

This was a sponsored post. I get paid to blog about the things I want to with PayPerPost. Read my disclosure policy. You can make money with your blog too, click on the referral button.

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Movie: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Posted by BenSpark on July 31, 2007

Last night Allison and I went to the movies to see the fifth Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I’ll first state that I finished the 7th book and much of what I read into the movie was influenced by the book. Allison has not finished the 7th book and many other people haven’t either so no spoilers in the comments please.

We went to the movie because I had won two tickets from Fandango. I also had $10.00 in concession cash. So it was a cheap night for us out of pocket, only $10.00 (concessions are ridiculously priced). There were still many kids in the theater, even on a random Monday night. But it the summer so that should have been expected.

There was one little kid who was much too young to be at this movie who sat directly behind us and asked a million and one questions. At first it was really annoying but after a while it grew on me. And sometimes it was pretty funny. I must be mellowing.

The movie itself was visually amazing as each of the HP movies have been. I found that this one was less CGI overkill. I didn’t really like the whole werewolf parts of HP3, thought they looked ridiculous. The only thing that was overly CGI for me was Grawp. But that scene where he meets the kids is nice. So funny seeing how jealous Ron kept getting when other boys were interested in Hermione.

The kids have grown up even more since the last movie and that is very evident int he series of flashbacks that Harry has while Voldermort enters his mind and when Snape does as well. There were quite a few good scene with Snape and he should get much more screentime int he next movie. Alan Rickman plays Snape so well.

The casting in the movie was once again fantastic, Luna Lovegood’s casting was terrific. The girl who played her was awesome and made me believe that she was in fact, Luna.

The movie is extremely fast paced and doesn’t do a good job of introducing us to the Order and all the new faces. Tonks pops up once in a while but mostly for comic relief. I would have liked to see the members of the order get more screen time as well.

The movie left out that Ron and Ginny were now prefects. Allison alerted me to that one. They could have at least given them prefect badges or something.

I felt a cheer go up everything Neville was on screen. I can’t say much more than that without giving up much from the 7th book. Either way I think Neville is great.

There was no explanation of where the Weasley twins got all the jokes and firecrackers and things. The Weasley Wizard Wheezes was never explained. Just little thing that could have been thrown in to explain that they had a dream of opening a joke shop.

The casting for Umbridge and the way that role was played was excellent. I know that in the book they called her toad face and she was supposed to be fat and ugly. But she was much more sinister as a very well put together and ‘proper’ lady. It made the evil and sadistic things she did all the more twisted. The room full of kitty cat pictures on plates was very funny.

I loved the room of requirement. I loved the piece with Harry and Neville in front of the mirror. That was some good character insight into Neville. I can’t wait to see who they cast for Neville’s grandmother.

I did enjoy the return of the Dursleys. It looked like Uncle Vernon was going to explode. Dudley and The Dementor was cool. Of course it wasn’t quite explained what was going to happen to him now.

While everyone was casting Patronuses it was cool to see what forms each one took.

And I think the end would have been fantastic in 3D. Oh well, maybe that will be an option on the DVD.

All in all it was a decent movie and told the story, albeit cut down to bare bones.

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TV Show: Standoff 07/20/07

Posted by BenSpark on July 28, 2007

So was last Friday night’s episode of Standoff the end? I only now got a chance to watch it because we taped it. I only see movies on fox for the next few Fridays. Well I guess it is over. FOX I hate you. I’ve said it before and I will say it again. FOX is horrible. Forget the fact that they have been airing commercials non stop for their new show called New Amsterdam that I really want to watch but out of respect for the show I will not watch it until it survives a whole year, because I know if I do watch it the suits at FOX will cancel it. The reason I am interested int his show is that it approaches the theme of a vampire from a different direction. Are vampires inherently evil and soulless in this series? The guy who is the main character doesn’t look tortured and he is a cop. What makes a vampire become a cop. It probably won’t be for redemption because we have seen that already with Angel. Who knows, I won’t untill the year is over.

As for Standoff I will miss this show. I liked the characters and the humor as well as the action scenes, I never took the show too seriously and you really can’t with a show like this, all glitzy and glam for the life of the negotiators. I was hooked from the first episode with Tom Wopat as a guest star. The chemistry of the characters was good and I liked seeing Gina Torres back on the air.

Of course my favorite part of last night’s episode was when Reggie comes out of the house with his machine gun and Frank takes him out at the knees. Reggie is incredulous and pleadingly asks Frank, “You shot me?” and Frank says, “Yes I did.” Frank as a character came across as a jerk at first and I am glad to see him used more in the series. Too bad the show has been canceled. FOX you suck.

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Fox is gonna kick in my teeth, again.

Posted by BenSpark on July 24, 2007

Let me first state that I hate FOX. They have crushed every TV show that I have loved in the past few years. Either by giving it a crappy time slot, under advertising or over advertising a show. No matter what they do I end up sucked into a show and then being infuriated because the show gets canceled after 3-6 episodes.

Well FOX is at it again, they are putting out The Sarah Connor Chronicles or it may be titled Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Either way the show is going to have Summer Glau as the Terminator sent to protect John and Sarah Connor. Glau was last seen on TV as River Tam in Firefly. I think you can see where this is going.

Should I watch the show only to be disappointed when FOX crushes the soul from it and replaces it with some stupid reality show? Time will tell.

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Nintendo Wii : E3 what is ahead..

Posted by BenSpark on July 18, 2007

A friend of mine who has access to some sweet information passed it along to me. I don’t know how I missed it but at E3 Nintendo unveiled even more innovations on the Wii.

The first is called Wii Fit. With Wii Fit you use it like a core board but much more. This is for exercise for your upper and lower body. Right now boxing is about the best workout you can get with the Wii. The Wii Fit is going to kick the Wii Fitness movement into overdrive.

I’m not a fan of first person shooter games but Nintendo will be releasing new product to help the first person shooter crowd out. It is a housing for the wiimote and the nunchuck. It may be called the Wii Zapper and the housing looks really cool.

And then there are so many great Wii games coming out including the game called Super Smash Bros Brawl. This is coming on December 3rd and I would love to have it for Christmas.

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Prime Time

Posted by BenSpark on July 17, 2007

This was posted with my mobile phone for my latest Tech Tuesday with BenSpark. The post is about mobile blogging.

And keeping with the theme of this blog I saw yesterday that classic Transformers and G.I. Joe cartoons are now on Joost.

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TV Shows: Eureka, Standoff, Psych

Posted by BenSpark on July 14, 2007

This weekend Allison and I got caught up on some TV shows that we tapes last week plus a few that were on at their regular time.

First off is Eureka – This past Tuesday the season premiere of Eureka was on. We went to Florida and missed it, but luckily we taped it. When we last left Sheriff Carter he had stopped Henry from messing with the timestream. The whole episode both Carter and Henry had memories from the four years in the alternate timeline. People in the town begin to spontaneously combust. They just happened to be the people who were close to the lab where the artifact accident happened.

The show has taken quite a turn since last season. For one thing Allison is not head of Global Dynamics as Nathan was fired, or demoted, not quite sure. Also Allison’s son is going to feature prominently in this season. Jo and Taggart had hooked up during the last episode of last season and it looks like that love affair may not continue.

Part of the humor of this episode was Carter always slipping up with the memories he had of the alternate timeline. And by the end of the show we learn that Henry has built a device to wipe out the memories that both Carter and Henry have of the alternate timeline. And what I saw coming a mile away was Henry zapping Carter with the device and then destroying it, thus maintaining those memories.

I didn’t like this turn of events because Henry is such a good character and I don’t want to see him go bad. But I think that this is the way things may go this season.

We also caught up on Standoff – Unfortunately we missed the season starting back up for Standoff and we jumped in during last night’s episode. However this show makes it pretty easy to miss and episode and get caught back up. However we can get caught back up by watching the episodes online.

We watched the latest episode last night and then the episode from last Friday sometime this morning.

The episode from last night was about a youth detention center being overtaken by the juvenile inmates. They did so to prevent the building from being torn down and having a supermax prison put up in its place. I have noticed a trend with Matt even after these two episodes. Matt goes against the authority in almost every episode and things have worked out for the positive, I don’t think that will last. There is going to be an episode when this is going to bite him.

The episode from last week dealt with a kidnapping of a key witness to put away a money launderer. I couldn’t help but smile a bit because that is what Ron Livingston needed in Office Space. Well that kidnapping ended up being carried out by a professional and he was in cahoots with an old flame of Cheryl’s. This was a decent episode and at the end Cheryl and Matt and Emily are talking and Cheryl tells them to cherish their relationship. And by the next episode they have broken up, at the end. Or they have agreed to take a break. Nothing really special about either of these episodes though. I wish that I had known about the date when this came back on TV.

Then there was the Season Premiere of PSYCH – Sean and Gus are back and this episode was really poking fun at reality tv shows like American Idol and Celebrity Duets. They certainly nailed the Simon and the Paula Abdul characters which were played by Tim Curry and Gina Gershon with hilarious accuracy. Some people are not fans of PSYCH but I totally love the little pop culture references that Gus and Sean drop all the time. This was very funny when Det. Lassiter tells them that he has found Prints, to which Sean says, “Was he in a little read corvette” and not missing a beat Gus says, “Under the Cherry moon?”. I just love it when they do things like that.

But the absolute best part was the end when Sean and Gus performed on American Duets (The rip off of that show that was a ripoff of that other show that was ripped off). The performed Shout and Sean was the lead singer of Tears for Fears while Gus comes out as Michael Jackson circa the Thriller era. It was pretty funny watching them and their take on the song. That is what makes this show so entertaining.

Also if you missed the premiere you can watch it online. I really like that many shows are doing that, makes it easier for the fan to catch back up if they missed an episode or two.

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TV Show: Burn Notice: Old Friends

Posted by BenSpark on July 13, 2007

The one thing that struck me about Burn Notice last evening is, “How does Michael Westen afford those suits?” I mean, he was burned, left with nothing and was dropped in Miami. He has nothing, so how does he get his wardrobe? This puzzles me even now.

However it did not prevent me from enjoying the episode last night. I am truly beginning to enjoy this show for the humor and the action. I thought of another show that this feels like at times and that was the TV show Pretender. Each week on that show Jared would become someone else and right a wrong by giving the bad guy a taste of his own medicine. However that person usually did not end up dead. Michael uses technology to really screw with the bad guy in each episode.

I know what happened to Alex Tully’s car from Drive, it ended up in Michael Westen’s mother’s garage. Westen ends up with some wheels by the end of the show in that of an old Charger that was his father’s. We learn more about the relationship between Michael and his father. Each episode learning more about what makes Michael tick is what makes this show work for me. We see him as a calm cool spy who can handle himself in any situation and then we see his relationships and how human he really is.

On this episode we see Michael working on two things. First he is trying to find out who burned him and he attempts to locate an Egyptian spy whose life he saved in the past. Of course this is a theme that will be central to the entire season’s story. Westen is out and he wants to be back in.

The second issue that Michael deals with this week is for his landlord Oleg. Oleg’s top waitress hasn’t come to work because she is being harassed. Of course this being a show about a super spy the guy harassing the woman isn’t just some Joe schmo. Nope, he is a drug lord with the Columbian cartel. And because that is the case this is not going to be a walk in the park.

The way that Michael rigs up a security system as well as a surveillance system is perfect. I loved the part where Sam and Fi were getting the Drug Lord to say certain things over the phone. Then the fake tape was a work of genius. But again, if Michael has no money how is he getting all of his equipment? I know he steals cars, and his explanation for that was priceless. But basic necessities and the gear that he comes by, how does he do it?

I also enjoy the interaction between Michael and Fi and Michael and Sam and Michael and his mother. The supporting characters in this show are great and certainly get a chance to steal scenes. Fi was great with the Moltov Cocktails, her aim was a bit off but she certainly had enthusiasm. Sam’s meeting with the Feds was good too where he tries to get some beer from them. And when Michael’s mother is making a salad and smoking directly over the salad that was a good part as well. And Michael’s little quips as well has his voiceovers are really what shines. As Michael is running away from the security people in the hotel and he keeps getting locked doors be says, “This is a fire hazard” as he tries multiple doors. It is the way he delivers lines is very good. If you haven’t started watching Burn Notice on USA it is time you tried the show. I’m sure you can catch up as repeats are played.

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TV Show: Burn Notice: Pilot & Identity

Posted by BenSpark on July 7, 2007

First let me state that I appreciate that USA networks plays the heck out of their shows. And for this reason I was able to see the Pilot and first Episode: Identity of Burn Notice. You may recall that I wrote about Burn Notice as a PPP campaign. I was paid to write about that and I was sincere in my excitement of seeing this show. However the Pilot episode came on last Thursday when I was seeing the Transformers Movie Twice. I forgot to set the VCR. (I refuse to get TiVO, I can program a VCR dang it, I just don’t always remember). So I missed it.

But today while on vacation I saw that the episode Identity and the Pilot episode was also on. And let me tell you the show is a pretty fun ride. I love the character of Michael Westen as well as Sam and Fiona. Michael’s mother is pretty fun too.

For anyone who doesn’t know, Burn Notice is about a CIA agent who receives a ‘Burn Notice’ and what that means in the spy business is that you are completely cut off. Your assets are frozen, your credit is ruined and you are basically stuck where you are dumped. Michael was dumped in Miami. And Miami is where a friend named Sam ended up, Sam is an ex military guy and he is also observing and reporting on Michael. And Michael knows it. Sam also helps Michael out with the ‘jobs’ that Michael does.

How else can I describe this show. Well, you take one part McGuyver, one part The Equalizer, an equal part A-Team and blend it with some Moonlighting and you have yourself Burn Notice.

The Pilot episode introduces us to Michael, his mother, Sam, Fiona and the government agents watching Michael. We also meet a drug dealer named Sugar who attempts to intimidate Michael. Michael is not easily intimidated. I think the part of the episode that I liked the most was the final meeting between Michael and Sugar. The show goes along and is narrated once in a while by Michael. I like this kind of storytelling. It is very funny.

The second episode Michael and crew help some Miami retiree’s with a con artist. I liked how Michael not only got all the money back but he put a big hurt on the con man. Allison also liked the show as did her father. I will be making sure that this show is taped all summer long.

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