Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Song of the Week

Thanks to my almost sister-in-law Kristin, I know OWN a copy of Once More, With Feeling on CD. I have had it saved on my Tivo for a couple of years, so I could turn it on and dance/sing along. Often, I use it for entertainment while cleaning my living room and kitchen.

So, in honor of that, I am choosing this song for my Song of the Week. I picked Walk Through the Fire because it is a great piece for the full cast/company. But I have several I really like! See below.

Walk Through the Fire, Once More, With Feeling (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

American Idol - Top 5 Performances

Good news: Tonight starts the episodes where the contestants perform two songs per night. Bad news: It is Neil Diamond night. The fact that Neil's

Jason Castro sang Forever in Blue Jeans. I liked it. He has a shtick and it really works. Even when the judges haven't loved him, I have thought he was consistent. It seemed a tad more upbeat than some of the songs he has sung of late.

September Morn was Jason's second song. It was romantic, and I kind of dug it! He stays true to his own style and never compromises. As usual, the judges hate it.

David Cook sang I'm Alive. And it was fast and pretty rock-y. I liked it. I don't know the original so I couldn't tell you if he changed up the arrangement, or if it just sounded less Neil Diamond-y since he has a rugged rocker voice. Love him.

All I Really Need is You was David's second song. Loved loved loved it. I don't need to say anything else (except I love his falsetto!).

Brooke White sang I'm a Believer. And, yea, she is back behind her much-needed crutch of an instrument. It helps to detract from her awkwardness. And since she is playing with the band, she should be able to stay on a more steady beat (rather than letting her nerves speed it up). It was fun but nothing amazing. She is better on slower, more emotional songs.

I Am...I Said was Brooke's second song. I feel she is best behind the piano. I loved that performance. The judges liked it, too.

David Archuleta sang Sweet Carolina. What do you know? He is not singing an "inspirational" song this week. In fact, I think he is singing a LOVE song. It was OK. A little weak. But weak for David is still pretty darn good. At this point in the game, I think his song choice coach (aka probably his dad) should recommend a non-cheese song for strategy purposes, and I feel he did that tonight.

America was David's second song. I spoke too song. This is his cheese-tastic song of the week. I actually know this song, at least. He sang it fine, but I guess I am just over him a bit... Sorry, David fans.

Syesha Mercado sang Hello Again. Not a surprise she chose this one. But I am kind of liking it. Her emotional connection has improved. She is still my least favorite, though...

Thank the Lord for the Nighttime was Syesha's second song. It was fun. I feel pretty good about her making final 5 (contestants, not Cylons...), because even though I am not a huge fan, she is pretty good. I think it IS her time to go, though.

Second round was better than the first!

My fave:
David Cook

Bottom 2:
Brooke & Syesha

Going home:

Movie: Reservation Road

I knew this one would be sad. The premise is that Dwight (Mark Ruffalo) kills Ethan's (Joaquin Pheonix) son in a hit-and-run, and the viewer gets to watch the deterioration of both men, as they deal with internal consequences. On top of that, Ethan hires attorney Dwight to help him find the killer. What a mess.

I am a huge fan of both Joaquine Phoenix & Mark Ruffalo. This was some tough subject matter and the both attacked it with abandon. I can't imagine how difficult portraying someone in their emotional states would be. And I have a tough time seeing grown men cry. It really gets me. So, you can guess there was lots of crying.

In supporting roles are Jennifer Connelly (she is an outstanding actress), Mira Sorvino, and Elle Fanning. Those Fanning girls have acting in their blood. Elle was really good, and for such a young girl, really knows how to show emotion appropriate to the scene. She was really good.

So this movie was good, but MAJORLY depressing. I wouldn't really recommend it to someone who has a child. It would be too hard to watch.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Battlestar Galactica, Escape Velocity

I have struggled with what I wanted to write about this episode. It is hard for BSG to come on Friday after an episode like Lost's "The Shape of Things to Come", which was so full of story, you had to watch it a couple of times just to remember everything that happened. An episode like that makes it hard to have these filler/plot-advancing episodes that BSG is known for. They aren't poorly written or acted, it is just that we get spoiled on action-packed, question-answering episodes. So having said that, I didn't dislike this episode, I just never figured out what actually was really happening. Here are my thoughts:

Poor Tigh - In trying to come to grips for killing his wife for being a traitor (for Tigh's sake no less), he finds himself obsessing over the captive Six and trying to get into her brain. (How does she not figure out he is a Cylon?) She states that, yes, she does FEEL the pain of the countless deaths she has caused, and the pain is what gives her knowledge and understanding. Then she gives this "gift" to Tigh by beating the crap out of his face, but realizes his need is not pain, but what I am guessing is love, which leads her to kiss his bloody one-eyed face.

Poor Tyrol - He believes himself responsible for Callie's death because she thought they were having an affair. In a roundabout way, he is responsible, but only because she overheard their Cylon conversation (or else she wouldn't have been in that darn airlock in the first place...). But then he says those awful things to the Admiral about her and gets himself demoted. Did he mean them? Does she really smell like cabbage? Did he really settle for her and truly still love Boomer? Is he just talking crazy out of devastation and sadness?

Not so poor Tori- She just gets on my nerves. I don't like her!

Poor Roslin - She is dying of cancer and has officially lost enough hair to resort to a wig. Sean pointed out that she used a hair straightener, which I thought was funny. It was clear it was because she had to have different "hair" to show the progress of her cancer. I liked her conversation with Baltar and how she is seemingly more concerned for the fate of the fleet than for her own life/death.

Poor Gaius? - Baltar is really starting to deserve his cult following. He is starting to preach and get some real attention. From woman-beating, anti-Gaius soldiers of some sort. He even was willing (or forced by Six) to get his face beat in while preaching to the people. And while Lee will protect Baltar's freedoms, he still thinks he is a nut.

The best part of Friday's episode was the preview of next week and the appearance of Leoban on Starbuck's ship.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Holy Cannoli! aka LOST: The Shape of Things to Come

I can not even gather my thoughts enough to write a post about tonight's episode of LOST. But let it be said that tonight's episode was unbelievably fantastic. At this point, I feel pity for those that decided to "give up" on Lost last season. Fools! Sean fake-slapped me about 20 times after that episode (which only makes sense if you know him very well). Alright let me see if I can divide this up into sub-categories.

This was a Ben episode, and his have proved very entertaining/educating in the past. The very beginning of his flash forward is him waking up (or what I thought looked a lot like "landing") in the Sahara. Wearing a parka. Interesting that situated right in the Sahara Desert is Tunisia, where Charlotte discovered the polar bear. Also, Ben is dressed for cold weather, probably coming from a place where a polar bear might live. And, a place where a couple of guys that know Penny might have been hunting for a signal a couple of seasons ago. Interesting. Either way, we know Ben is "traveling" off the island, and now my guess is that he can do some sort of "jump" between Dharma locations. In addition, what is the cut on his arm? The writers wanted us to see that, so why?

The least important issue that happened in this episode was that the boat's doctor's dead body washed ashore, sporting a freshly slit throat. But in communication with the boat, they say the doctor is fine. Hmmm... I don't even know what that means. Not to say this is unimportant, but for all the information we got in this episode, this seemed the least critical.

Seriously, how can Jack continue this fake affair with Juliet when Kate is there, flirting with him and staring at him longingly. I guess we'll see a little more of what happens next week when Jack apparently deals with a burst appendix. Sean totally guessed it just from the hand on the side (since he had his appendix out a few years back).

I didn't even have time to be happy about Sayid having found Nadia and marrying her, because we found out she was dead at that same moment. And, boy, Ben sure did manipulate him into working for him. He is good! But now we know how that came about.

For once, I didn't know before I saw this episode that there would be a death. I have to say, being spoiler-free was great! But it made Alex's death that much more awful. For a split second, I thought she might die, but then I told myself, "No, that would just be wrong." But the writers weren't afraid to go there and certainly adds a new dimension to Ben's storyline and personality. It also adds to the "This is war!" mentality he already displayed. So much so, that Ben makes a call to Mr. Smokey to come save the day. I guess he is a good ally.

What is the game that Widmore and Ben have agreed to? Literally, it looks as though they are bent on winning, and have a set of (possibly unspoken) rules. And the prize? The island, it seems. But Widmore has broken the rules. Come on, I didn't believe for a second that he only considered Alex to be a pawn in the grand plans. If he was so capable of using people and unable/willing to have a relationship, he wouldn't have his Juliet obsession. He wants love like the rest of us. He just wants some other crazy things that I don't get.

I find myself rooting for Ben at times and then shaming myself for it. First off, Michael Emerson is so amazing in this role, that I want to like him. But also, it is like on Survivor, when a contestant you hate pulls off a big swing in the votes and someone you didn't expect goes home. You are so impressed at the tactics that you just have to give him credit!

Song of the Week

This week I am picking a song I downloaded a few years ago onto Sean's computer and haven't seen it for a long while. I added it back to my ipod a few weeks back and have had it in my "Good songs right now" playlist. I am a big fan of the band Keane from their first album out a few years ago. I saw them in concert (thanks to Julie who bought us the tickets as a gift)during their Hopes and Fears tour, and I just have to say, you can not fully apprecaite this band if you havent seen them live.

Keane is a band made up solely of a singer (Tom), pianist (Tim), and Richard (drummer). The band doesn't use a guitar and the sound is mellow but not boring.

With their second album, Under the Iron Sea, they tried to capture some of the feel of their live show and put it into their studio recordings. It was okay. It couldn't compare with Hopes and Fears, and after all, I found I only really loved a few songs on it.

But after I was hooked, I found this song online and it was SO good, I couldn't pass it up. Give it a listen!

With or Without You, by Keane

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Fare Thee Well, Carly

I am sad to see Carly say goodbye tonight. I feel like she should have made the top 4. However, I am sure she will find success on her own.

This week, there was a bottom 2 instead of bottom 3. So my guess was moot anyway, but I hadn't thought Carly would even be in the bottom 3, let alone bottom 2 or going home. So along with Carly, Syesha was in the bottom 2. And everyone was shocked that the second spot wasn't Jason or Brooke.

Ah well, I keep saying that at this point, anyone could be voted off without it being too much of shock. But I love Carly. I am sure we'll see her again!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Dancing with the Stars - Results Show

I didn't blog about last night's episode. I am not staying too into it. Maybe I need a couple more weeks to keep me interested. I'm not giving up the show yet, just the blogging about it.

The group dance. It was a mess!! Funny, but awful...

Riverdance. I love it! It is so fun to watch. It reminded me of Legally Blonde the Musical. That is one of my favorite parts!

The Lost preview. I can't wait for the show to start back on Thursday. No, that isn't related, but I just saw the preview for it.

The kid dancers. I have really enjoyed it. I mean these people seem very strange, but I enjoy seeing them dance.

The bottom two couples:
Marlee & Fabian
Mario & Karina

Tonight we say goodbye to Marlee & Fabian. Goodbye and good luck!

American Idol - Top 6

Tonight, Emily and I watched the Top 6 performances of Andrew Lloyd Webber music. Here are my thoughts:


David Cook - I was nervous that he decided to sing Music of the Night and to sing it straight the way it was written. But I decided that it was a smart move. He showed he can sing anything. And he was STILL my favorite of the night. But if I have to hear Randy say, "I've said it before; I'll say it again. If you can sing, you can sing anything" I am going to lose it!

Carly Smithson - This was really good. I was glad ALW convinced her to sing Jesus Christ Superstar instead of All I Ask of You. It was a much better use of her voice. I thought it was her best performance in weeks.


Jason Castro - I was seriously hoping no one would choose to sing Memories. It is just to cheesy. But I didn't hate this performance like the judges did. I kind of enjoyed it actually.

Brooke White - Contrary to what Paula said, I felt like it was over-acted. But then again, that might just be how Brooke is (awkward...). I really like You Must Love Me from Evita and was glad to hear someone was singing it. It was pretty good.

David Archuleta - At first I was nervous to hear he was singing Think of Me. This started out well. I thought the guitar and singing started out very nicely. I thought it sounded like More Than Words. But then it just got cheesed up. It wasn't bad, but I was disappointed that for once he didn't sound as cheesy as usual, only to be turned into "the usual."

Syesha Mercado - She sang One Rock and Roll Too Many from Starlight Express. I actually really liked this performance. But she is still just my least favorite.

Bottom Three:
Syesha Mercardo
Brooke White
Hmmm... I can't decided if I would put Carly here or Jason. I am going to guess Carly.

Going home:
Syesha? I hope so.

Let's face it. There aren't any lousy singers left that we are all dying to see gone. This show is getting good!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Movie: There Will Be Blood

Watching There Will Be Blood tonight completes my attempt to watch all five movies nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award this year. I don't remember a year when I actually did that.

Anyway, let's get to the movie. I am having a hard time figuring out how I felt about it. I'll start with what I liked.

1) Daniel Day Lewis as Daniel Plainview. The man can do no wrong, and in every movie, I forget he is the actor. How is this the same man who played in Last of the Mohicans? And more recently I watched him in A Room with A View, where, again, you can't even imagine it is the same actor. I can see a little of Bill the Butcher in him, since they are both greasy, hairy, slightly crazy, greedy, and power-hungry.

2) The setting. I enjoyed the small country town setting, where the church is central, but the town is so poor they don't have bread to eat (due to the dry climate, they can't grow anything to make bread). They are desperate, so they let this oil-man invade their town (and by the end, we see how it affects some of the citizens).

3) H.W. Plainview, Daniel's son. His was really the sad story in all this, and you find your self rooting for him (mainly by default, since there aren't many likable characters in the story).

4) Paul Dano as Eli Sunday. Alright, I have to admit that I kept thinking of The Girl Next Door because I watched it a couple of weeks ago. He was good in Little Miss Sunshine, but he was still a kid. I was impressed at his taking on this seemingly very difficult and very adult role, and pulling it off quite well. His performance as the preacher really creeped me out.

Now, I am not sure what I think of these things:

1) The ending. I won't say anything about it. I had heard some complaints about the ending before I watched it. Here is the deal: I don't know if I got it. Or maybe there isn't anything to get? I prefer stories with more redemptive endings, I guess.

2) The adaptation. I didn't realize this was so loosely adapted from the book (Oil! by Upton Sinclair). I almost don't feel like it should have been considered for Best Adapted Screenplay. I haven't read the book Oil! but I wanted to read it after viewing the movie, only to discover (by others' comments and synopses) that it isn't really the same story. Not to say that I have a problem with the VERY loose adaptation, it just means that I can't read the book for clarification on the story.

All that being said, I enjoyed watching it, but don't know if I love the story. The directing, acting, cinematography, etc. were spectacular. If not for the story, check it out for these many other reasons.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

BSG - "The Ties that Bind"

Thoughts on this week's Battlestar Galactica:

Lee - He didn't waste any time getting down and dirty now that he is a politician. Interesting how Zarek is going to use him against Roslin (or is he?).

Cavil - Oh he is sneaky. How did old Six fall for that? I knew something fishy was up. He was way to agreeable to their plan. I have to say, it was a pretty smart move, but I was rooting for the "good" Cylons to figure a way out...

Callie - Well, Callie, wife of Cylon Tyrol, mother of hybrid Nicky, has lost it. Completely lost it. Not that I blame her, but to be prepared to kill herself and Nicky? I guess Ducky didn't get his wish... Of the Final Four revealed, I have been most offended at Tyrol being a Cylon, because of his relationship with Callie and the fact that he has a son. He better be pretty upset with the way this is turning out.

Tory - What is with her now? Is she embracing her Cylon-hood, or trying to escape it? Why has she decided to use her sexuality to manipulate everyone, human (Baltar) and Cylon (Tyrol) alike? Either way, she is really starting to act like a Cylon, and I mean the Cavil kind, not the Sixes!

The ending - I knew it was coming but I still didn't think she would really die! I thought it was very sad, and really sets some things in motion.

Sorry this is so poorly written. I was in a hurry. But I think I got all my thoughts across.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Book: A Room with a View

PBS's Masterpiece Theater has inspired my reading of a couple of books in the last few months. The first was Persuasion, which I read before I watched the recorded version on my Tivo. The second was A Room with a View, which I watched before reading.

A note on the 2007 film: The screenplay was adapted by Andrew Davies, famous for adapting such movies as the 1995 Pride & Prejudice miniseries and Bridget Jones Diary. I wasn't familiar at all with the book, written by E.M. Forster, or the 1985 film starring Helena Bonham Carter and Maggie Smith. So to discover that there were great liberties taken in adapting the book for this recent movie was rather surprising. After completing the movie, I read the book, and am now working on the 1985 film version. This recent version was given an entire additional storyline that created a completely different feel than that which was intended by the author. That being said, I enjoyed the PBS version. It wasn't amazing, but being unfamiliar with the story, it was entertaining.

I greatly enjoyed the book and read it in two days. I had never read anything by Forster, but now imagine that I will read other books he has written. This was an excellent love story, as well as an interesting commentary on society at the turn of the 20th century. It is an easy and quick read. However, few of the characters are truly likable, but probably only because Forster writes them so realistically, that the have real character flaws.

As far as the 1985 film version goes, I have to say I didn't find that Julian Sands fit the description of George Emerson in the book. He seemed to feminine and all I could think of was George McFly (I preferred the bumbling youth of Rafe Spall in the 2007 film version), and he seems very old to be acting the way he does. Daniel Day Lewis was hysterical as Cecil Vyse. I don't know why I am surprised. He consistently acts his roles so intensely that I forget who the actor is. He plays such a snotty city boy, looking down his nose at the "country folk."

All in all, I recommend the book, then the older movie, then the newer one. All have their good points.

A Few Shows I'll Be Seeing

I posted last night about seeing The Wedding Singer. I have several other theatre performances I will be attending in the coming weeks and months. Among those are the following. Watch for my posts after each show!

Curtains (Broadway) - Starring David Hyde Pierce, the show takes place in a theatre, in which a death occurs and a murder investigation ensues. Pierce won a Tony for his performance as Lieutenant Frank Coiffi (mercilessly beating out the very deserving Raul Esparza). This show will end in June, so I'll be glad to see it before its final performance.

November (Broadway) - Nathan Lane stars in this political satire by David Mamet. Political satire is not really my cup of tea, but I have heard this is really funny and I am sure I'll enjoy it. It also stars Laurie Metcalf.

Young Frankenstein (Broadway) - Starring Sutton Foster, Roger Bart, and Megan Mullaly. I have heard mixed reviews on this show, but look forward to seeing it and judging for myself. At least it has some actors I would like to say I have seen perform live.

The Drowsy Chaperone (National Touring Production)
Hairspray (National Touring Production)

Jersey Boys (National Touring Production)

Not to be mean, but... FINALLY!

I have been ready for Kristy Lee Cook to pack her bags and leave Idol for weeks. But imagine my surprise when she was finally eliminated last night! I thought she had some underground fans that wouldn't let her go. I just didn't think she was at the same level as the other remaining contestants. This is getting to be a pretty pure competition, and I am excited about it.

Goodbye, Kristy. You will probably have a new country CD in no time. Good luck with that.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Theatre: The Wedding Singer

Tonight, I saw the national touring production of The Wedding Singer. It was opening night in Dallas, and I didn't have great seats, but the place was only sold to about 2/3 capacity, so just before the show started, we stole some seats on the front of the first balcony.

I loved the Adam Sandler movie that this show was based on, but didn't have high expectations. They don't sing any of the great 80's songs that made the original so great. They don't have Adam Sandler or Drew Barrymore, who are clearly integral to the success of that movie.

Having said that, here are my quick thoughts. I didn't feel like the stage show was able to have the character development or the emotional attachments it needed. Robbie (Merritt David Janes) was good, but didn't have the likability I wanted for the character. Also, I felt the like the songs he was given to sing really couldn't showcase his vocal abilities. There were a couple of times his voice sounded great, but most of it was rock-y and hard to hear his talent. The women were the shining stars of the show. Julia (Erin Elizabeth Coors) was great, and her voice was pure and innocent, just like her character. Linda (Andrea Andert) was hilarious and trashy with a sexy sultry voice.

As far as the actual songs, I enjoyed the ensemble songs the best, with loud singing and 80's dancing. There were a couple of slower solos and duets I liked (Someday, Coming Out of the Dumpster, If I Told You), but this was more just a silly show to laugh out loud (some) and I didn't find myself looking at my watch. During the song All About the Green, all I could think of was Neil and Sabra's courtroom brawl last summer during SYTYCD!

An odd tidbit was that I noticed one member of the ensemble (Ashley Anderson) was a contestant on Grease, You're the One That I Want last year (as Emotional Sandy), which, sadly, I watched in its entirety. However, she must have gotten eliminated early on because I don't really remember her. She might have been the one that was not asked to be on the show originally, but that was a big hit with the viewers and was brought on anyway (only to be eliminated quickly). In that case, good for her for being in this show.

I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it. Maybe it will pick up some steam here in Dallas over the next couple of weeks. We'll see.

Song of the Week

I downloaded Carrie Underwood's version of Praying for Time and have been obsessed with it all week. I love the George Michael song, but seeing Carrie perform it last week was amazing. She brought a high level of emotion, intensity, and sincerity to the performance, and to hear her voice crack on the line "when there is no hope to speak of" shows the investment she has made in the lyrics of the song. Therefore, this is my song of the week. If you missed it somehow (don't know how you could have!), check it out here:

Carrie Underwood, Praying for Time

UPDATED: Dancing with the Stars - Week 5

It is Latin night tonight on Dancing with the Stars, which means we are in for a steamy saucy set of performances. Let's see who's got the Latin dances down.

Mario & Karina - He really did look like he got his swagger back, as though he was so much more confident. It really came across in his dance. I thought they looked great, and enjoyed watching their dance. Judges' score: 27/30

Priscilla & Louis - I can tell they really worked hard and the sexiness is there, which is key, but I also didn't feel that she was technically on. He is so obviously technically spot on, that it makes it more obvious when she is not. Judges' score: 21/30

Marissa & Tony - I have liked this pairing from the start. Marissa's charisma and enthusiasm for the dancing has spilled over every time she has appeared on screen. I thought the performance was really fun! Judges' score: 24/30

Cristian & Cheryl - I love this Daniel Bedingfield song (well, when Daniel sings it, anyway). The dance was very sexy, but was it technically good? I felt like Cheryl did most of the dancing on this one, while Cristian kind of stood around (kind of like Lacey and Kameron on last season's SYTYCD). Judges' score: 23/30

Marlee & Fabian - I was a little distracted during this performance but I found it to be a little scattered and awkward to watch. Judges' score: 22/30

Kristy & Mark - How cute is Kristy's family? I love that she created those characters for them so she wouldn't feel as uncomfortable. They are both so professional, and while I don't think they have tons of chemistry (best so far for them, though), I always feel like they are technically really good. Judges scores: 29/30

Shannon & Derek - Wow, Derek is having some medical bad luck lately, huh? Also, I don't remember Derek's shirt being open like that in th past. Anyway, to the dancing: It was ok. I felt like she just didn't look that great. Judges' score: 23/30

Jason & Edyta - She makes him look better, so together they seem smooth, but I was just watching him, and it was rather awkward. I think this dance was just hard for him. And why did they cut to Len in the middle of the dance? Judges' score: 27/30

UPDATE: It is not too big of a surprise that Priscilla & Louis were eliminated last night based on the last couple of performances. It is unfortunate whe could not continue at the level where she started off this season.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

American Idol - Top 7

I am excited about Mariah Carey on the show tonight. I really love (most of) her music. Some of the newer stuff, not so much. But I think it is going to be tough because the contestants are constantly getting reamed out for singing Mariah songs. Perhaps, because it is a requirement, the judges won't be so harsh with the comparisons.

David Cook - I love You'll Always Be My Baby. Like Mariah, it makes me a little nervous. But this is his thing. He does different versions of well-known songs and really makes them new. Love the orchestra, too. Love him! He is not as creepy to look at anymore, either... And, OK, he cried. If he was terrible tonight, he still would stick around for crying. But either way, maybe that will quash those "cocky" rumors. Here's the video:

Carly Smithson - I love Without You and I think Carly has the chops to really sing this song. She has a really rich voice and I enjoyed the "bigger" parts of the song. Here's the video:

David Archuleta - I kind of guessed someone would sing this one (When You Beleive). I have been singing it for a couple of weeks for no reason. I thought it was good. Kind of awkward, so not amazing in my opinion. But his voice sounded beautiful, as usual.
Syesha Mercado - For once, Syesha chose a song that wouldn't give her as much of a direct comparison to the original artist. I don't know Vanishing so I can't compare it to Mariah. Still, it was same old Syesha to me, and therefore it was JUST alright.
Brooke White - Hero is always such a cheesy song. But Brooke doesn't really need to worry about being compared to Mariah. She has a great deal of originality. But was she nervous or rushed tonight? I felt there were several times she didn't hit the note directly. She either missed it altogether, or had to come around to it. But I liked it. I am interested to hear her itunes recorded version.
Jason Castro - He sang I Don't Want to Cry. Love this song, and his version sounded nothing like the original. I really liked it, but didn't love it. He is consistent, though.

Kristy Lee Cook - I don't know Forever. Again, poor Kristy. I just don't like her very much (musically). Who keeps voting for her? I don't know anyone that likes her. Having said that, she actually didn't have a bad performance. But I always feel she is better at the big loud notes than the smaller, lower, quieter ones.

I liked Mariah on the mentor parts and thought she acted genuinely interested and helpful.

Bottom Three (?):

Going Home:

Saturday, April 12, 2008

BSG - "Six of One"

My thoughts on last night's episode of Battlestar Galactica:

Roslin, Starbuck & Admiral Adama - Obviously, Kara was not going to shoot the President. Roslin, however did not feel the same about Kara. But is Adama right? Is it a miracle that she is there? Is he becoming a believer? All I know is Starbuck means business! And Adama figures a way to send her on the search for earth without risking the entire fleet. Give her a stinky sewage ship and a crew and send her off on her own.

Gaius Baltar
- I have already said he is my favorite character. He is appalling and hilarious. His discussion with "himself" was so funny. And he is such a slutty man. But he does have something special. He seems to be leading the "One True God" parade on Galactica. And he also could see something in Tory that others don't see. "You slay me, you really do, Gaius."

The Cylons - It is a revolt! It seems the human-friendly (well, not exactly human-friendly, but smart!) Cylons have decided to stage a coups. Is this the first step toward human/Cylon peace? The three Cylons that are rebelling and taking hold of "free will" are also the three Cylons that have experienced love with a human (Six with Baltar, Sharon with Helo and Chief, Leoban with Starbuck on Caprica). So does their experience give them the leg up, or maybe even some special ability the others don't have. Would be interesting to see that it does.

The Four Revealed - Love that Tigh is taking charge and the answer is to infiltrate Baltar's harem of women. Tory actually falls for his shtick. Will the Cylons and Baltar unite due to the belief in a single God?

Goodbye, Apollo - If I didn't know better, I would say that this was the last episode Jamie Bamber would be in. Could it have been more of a goodbye episode? It was sweet, though. I liked the emotions of the goodbye with Kara, where he uttered those most important words: "I believe you." And I guess the divorce from D is final. However, what was with the very large neck-hole on his womanly v-neck shirt?

Friday, April 11, 2008

Quick Thoughts: Idol & Office

My electricity has now been out for going on 30 hours. So I was terrified my Tivo wouldn't get to record my Thursday night shows. I was right. But I had plans to hang out at my friend Emily's and we watched the American Idol results show, as well as the new (finally!) episode of The Office. Here are a couple of quick thoughts:

American Idol - Who else was completely shocked last night? I wasn't totally surprised that Kristy Lee Cook wasn't in the bottom three. While I don't love her, she seems to be picking up some steam. I also wasn't surprised Michael Johns was in the bottom 3 with Syesha and Carly. I was completely surprised, however, that Michael was the one going home. It reminded me of Chris Daughtry last year when it was Just. Too. Soon. Farewell, Michael. i am sure you will find success anyway. And good luck!

The Office - Remember Phyllis' wedding last year when it was SO uncomfortable that it stopped being funny. I felt like that about this episode. The amount of hype this show was given based on how hilarious the table read was only left me wanting more. I love The Office. There were really funny parts, but overall I was just uncomfortable (and feeling REALLY sorry for Michael).

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Movie: A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints

Last night, my good friend Misty and sat down to watch this memoir of Dito Montiel (who also adapted his memoir to screenplay and directed). It stars Robert Downey, Jr., Shia LaBeouf, Channing Tatum (who is really growing on me - I plan to watch Step Up at some point soon), Chazz Palminteri, and Dianne Wiest.

This movie covers a period of Dito's life when he was probably about 17. He lives in a rough neighborhood in Queens, with friends that are abused, doing drugs, dying in all sorts of violent and upsetting ways. He so badly wants to get out of town that he meets a new friend that inspires him to walk dogs for money, save it up, and head to California to start a band. It doesn't all go as planned.

We were distracted by pizza, internet, chatting and things, so we weren't paying attention for about the first 10 minutes. We found we didn't know what the heck was going on for like 3/4 of the movie! It was violent with rather crude language for almost the entire movie. We decided if they cut out all the F's, it would cut the movie time in half.

I thought the acting was really good, the story really sad and disturbing, but only partially redeeming (redemption stories are my favorites). The way the movie was shot and edited was very interesting. While I didn't really GET the way it was edited, I liked it. It made for some very dramatic scenes.

Overall, I thought it was alright. It didn't change my life or anything, but I wasn't feeling like I wasted my time.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Idol Gives Back (Updated with More Videos)

I gotta say. It was a really good show. It had some great performances. The highlights for me (with videos as I find them):

1) The So You Think You Can Dance dancers in the opening act (and they appeared later in the show, but this was their big performance). They danced while the Idols sang to Please Don't Stop the Music by Rihanna. It was awesome. Man I've missed them... I can't wait for May 22.

2) Carrie Underwood singing George Michael's Pray for Time. My sister Julie and I have been obsessing over George Michael for 3 days straight for some reason so I have listened to this song (among others) several times. Carrie killed it. It was great. I need to find it to download it.

3) The Idols gave a Shout out to Jesus! Yes, they sang the good old P&W song Shout to the Lord. Yes, they left out "Jesus" in the first verse, but come on. It was still very much about Jesus. I was surprised and impressed.

4) 525,600 Minutes. Seasons of Love!! The Idols sang some Rent.

5) Daughtry's song, What About Now?, was really good near the end.

6) The Annie Lenox footage with the boys in Africa especially broke my heart. I sat and cried on the couch. So sad.

Song of the Week

Last summer, my friend Emily made me a CD made up of her favorite Ben Folds songs. Remember about 9 or 10 years ago when that Ben Folds Five song Brick was really popular? Yeah, that was the extent of my experience with Ben Folds.

Now, I will be the first to say that, while he is original, he doesn't have the greatest singing voice. But he really knows how to write some great songs, and is amazing on the piano.

My favorite song on the CD she gave me was Still Fighting It. This song was clearly written for his son (thus the opening line, "Good morning son"). It discusses the difficulties of growing up and it is sad and sweet at the same time. Check it out:

Ben Folds, Still Fighting It
(Note: the link shows Ben Folds Five but it is just Ben Folds)

On a similar note (no pun intended - oh I crack myself up...), here is the song Boys from the show Glory Days (beginning this month on Broadway!). It is also about how hard it is to grow up. How you grow apart. How we are not boys anymore. Granted, I never was a boy (no matter what several people thought when I was in kindergarten - it isn't my fault my mom gave me a boy haircut), but I get the idea. In addition, these guys bring a good deal of emotion to this song.

Check it out at this link: Boys, Glory Days

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Updated: DWTS Week 4

Well, we are four weeks into Dancing with the Stars. I guess I am not totally loving it (yet) because I am already thinking that there are still a LOT of weeks left in the competition. Therefore, I am not going to be as detailed with my discussion this week. I just want to say who I am loving, who I am not, and who I think will be going home.

Side note: Does anyone else find Samantha's arm tone disturbing? It is like Sarah Connor in Terminator 2!

Kristy & Mark - They were great. I love the passion of the Paso Doble. I think Mark deserved the credit he was given for his choreography.
Mario & Karina - It was good. It wasn't as good as Kristy and Mark's but I'll take it.
Jason & Edyta - To start, he is looking very fine tonight. And of course Edyta is always a good accessory (and wasn't dressed quite so skimpily as usual). I enjoyed it. It was very good but he is still SLIGHTLY two big and stompy for me. Just needs a little bit more grace.
Shannon & Derek - This was a really pretty dance to watch. I always like Derek's choreography, and I am glad to see he is not seriously injured.
Marissa & Tony - I think you can see the increase in the level of difficulty in Tony's choreography, as well as the intensity level. I thought it was great.

Priscilla & Louis - I found it slight awkward but it was pretty. I think the judges saw more errors than I would have, since I don't know what I am looking at.
Marlee & Fabian - She had what seemed like good extension. They only sort of pulled off the "sexy" factor. I was just a tad bored. Just a note that I find the Viennese Waltz to be pretty boring. It would have to be extra special to get into my "Loved" category.
Cristian & Cheryl - Ignoring the dominatrix outfit Cheryl was wearing, I thought it was intense and sexy. However. I didn't find it technically impressive.

Adam & Julianne - Remember a second ago when I said I love the Paso Doble? I don't love it when it is not very good. Julianne, was, as usual spectacular. Adam... so-so.

I am going to guess Adam will go home this week.

On a related note, just a reminder of a couple of really great Paso Doble performances:

Heidi & Travis, Season Two of So You Think You Can Dance?

Apolo & Juliane, Dancing with Stars (his jumps!)

OK, so I said a little more than I had planned to.

UPDATE: Goodbye to Adam & Julianne. He was good for an awkward laugh, but it is as it should be.

American Idol - Top 8 Performances

We kicked off the "Idol Gives Back" week with an evening of "inspirational" songs.

Michael - I thought it was awesome. I don't get what Randy said. I was worried about the high part at the end but he was great.
David Archuleta - There were a couple of parts he didn't sound great, but I thought he was really good. And I love when he plays the piano when he sings.

Jason - I must give him credit for playing the ukulele (I am so thankful for spell check right now). It was a good choice for his voice and he sounded good. He isn't really bringing anything new compared to his previous weeks, but I think he is consistent. He's so pretty.
David Cook - I love David so it pains me to put him here. I just wasn't crazy about this song choice. He sang it fine. It is strange to see him singing with a choir, too. I think he knew it wasn't very good.
Carly - Love the orchestra. Carly's make up looks good this week, but I don't like her outfit (but Simon did?). It is not good. The singing was just ok. I really like her, too, and I wanted her to do great.
Brooke - This competition is really getting tough. She is one of my faves, but this group is REALLY talented. I feel like she is more comfortable (and, therefore, more comfortable to watch) when she is playing an instrument.

Syesha - She sang it fine, but I am tired of her choosing these kinds of songs. Fantasia was amazing on this song and she can't really compete. She has a good voice and sang great, but this has all been done before.
Kristy - Poor Kristy. I am putting her in the "Um...No" section before she even sings. I just don't like her style. She seems nice... (that is me making myself feel better). Always (almost - see David Cook) love a choir, though.

My faves (still):
David Cook
Brooke White

Who I hope is Bottom 3:
Syesha Mercado
Kristy Lee Cook
Jason Castro (that one is tough, but I just don't see him winning)

Who probably is Bottom 3:
Carly Smithson
Kristy Lee Cook
Syesha Mercado

Monday, April 07, 2008

Movie: The Kite Runner

Some books are made well into movies. If you see the movie before reading the book, you aren't disappointed. Having already read the book, I can't give my opinion on this movie as well. However, I would say the subject matter is probably more suitable for the page than the screen.

This movie did not do well in the theaters, so I assumed it was not going to be all that good. I was pleasantly surprised. I thought the movie was well-done and kept true to the book (except for side stories that were omitted for time purposes). It was well-cast and well-acted.

That being said, you MUST do yourself a favor and read this book before watching the movie. It is touching, educating, heartbreaking. There is a great deal of insight to be had from the book that you can not get from the movie. And after you have read it, then sit down to watch this movie.

This is a song that caught my attention as it played near the end of the film.

Supplication by Sami Yusuf

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Feeling Good...

I think I have posted something about this song before, but I just found this video.

Love the song.
Love the band.
Love the performance.
Great quality video.
Check it out.

Feeling Good by Muse

Muse is unbelievable in concert. They didn't perform Feeling Good when I saw them but it was still amazing.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Holy FRAK-tastic!

I just finished up the season premiere of Battlestar Galactica. I can't believe it has been more than a year since the last new episode aired. I kept pausing it and asking questions to remind myself what was going on at the end of last season. This post will be pretty spoilery for this episode. Don't read it if you didn't watch. Here are a few points I wanted to make.

- Kara. I just don't know what to think. I would say it is too obvious that she is a Cylon. Maybe she is a prophet or a god? But a Cylon? At this point, I say no. I get why everyone is leary of her, but I loved Lee's point when he said (not verbatim because I don't remember), "What if it had been my brother climbing out of a cockpit? What if he had been a Cylon all along? Does that change anything about how I feel about him?"

- The four "new" Cylons are clearly freaking out. Will they really kill themselves before they allow them selves to hurt any of the humans (or the whole fleet)? If they cared enough, they would kill themselves. But let's not forget that there is always the possibility of resurrection elsewhere. Killing themselves wouldn't accomplish as much as allowing themselves to be locked up. I have felt so upset about these four. Except for what's-her-name that worked for Roslin, I really love these guys and am disappointed at the prospect that they could become bad guys. Oh, and Anders better watch out. Starbuck is about to put a bullet through his skull...

- Is Baltar supposed to be Jesus now? Praying, sacrificing himself for someone else, the hair and beard, the outcast with the few devoted followers. Granted, Jesus wasn't a crazy loser like Baltar. I was really glad to see he cut his hair. I am both sickened by Baltar and completely intrigued. He is my favorite character. It would be interesting to see if he could redeem himself before the series ends.

This was an excellent episode to kick-start the season. TPTB of BSG never let me down. Of course, we didn't get any answers, but I watch Lost, so I am used to getting no answers. As long as the story is good along the way, I can handle that.

UPDATE: I just found this fun Top 43 Moments of BSG list. Check it out. There are some doozies!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Movie: Away From Her

Alzheimer's is such a tragic and devastating disease. Any disease is tragic, isn't it? Alzheimer's seems so sad because your body is physically healthy and your brain gives out too early. Also, personal experience probably adds to how much this movie hits home with me.

Alright, back to the movie. Away From Her stars Julie Christie as Fiona. She is great in this movie. The Oscar nomination was well-deserved. And she is gorgeous. But I felt that Gordon Pinsent (who plays Fiona's husband Grant) didn't get enough credit for portraying the husband of an Alzheimer's patient, who not only forgets him, but finds someone else. He is heartbroken by the loss of his wife, even though she is physically present, but also desperately seeks human connection with anyone who will give it to him.

I knew this movie wasn't going to portray Alzheimer's in the same light as The Notebook. Not that it wasn't sad in The Notebook, but things all still seemed to work out so "perfect" for Noah & Allie. I didn't expect this movie to wrap up so nicely. I won't say whether it did so I don't ruin it for you.

"There's a man with a broken heart. Broken in a thousand pieces." So sad.

Friday Night Lights Saved! And other NBC News

I have now removed the "Save Friday Night Lights" widget on the left of my blog because I don't need it anymore. NBC announced it will return next season for 13 episodes (most likely its final season, but at least they could wrap up the bigger story lines).

Other NBC tidbits:

- Merlin is a new series about Merlin & Arthur, but will star Anthony Stewart Head (Giles of Buffy) as Uther, Arthur's father.

- An Office spin-off has been given the go-ahead. I don't know how I feel about this. But I would give it a try before I say anything one way or the other.

- Kings will be a modern day David & Goliath story, starring Ian McShane (Deadwood).

- The Last Templar will be a miniseries on NBC this fall. I had planned to read this book by Raymond Khoury, so now I will need to get on top of it to read it before the mini-series is on.

- XIII sounds VERY familiar. Thank the Borne movies. But I love Stephen Dorff, so I will also give this one a try.

In other non-NBC news:

- It isn't really news anymore, but Tahmoh Penikett (Helo of Battlestar Galactica) has been cast in Joss Whedon's new project Dollhouse.

- Dexter Season 2 is now available for pre-order on, but a specific release date has not been announced. I am hoping this means that it will not be August before it is out. I would like to be able to watch it over the summer.

- My tivo has been recording episodes of Battlestar Galactica like crazy. I had to delete a bunch because there was no room left on my tivo (at the time I was up to 45 episodes). They are practically replaying the entire series up to now. I can't wait for tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

American Idol - Down to 8

I don't want to say finally, but... Finally. Ramiele is headed home tonight. Ramiele is a good singer, but just not good enough to stay in this competition. She is so cute and I hope she finds her niche. Best of luck to you Ramiele.

I was shocked to see Brooke in the bottom 3, but it is really anybody's game at this point. We have an excellent top 8 (give or take a couple). I agreed that Ramiele & Kristy should be in the bottom.

Did anyone catch the theme for next week?

Song of the Week

I am not writing enough about music considering it is probably my favorite form of entertainment (Yes! Over TV, books, movies AND musicals (but musicals ARE music, right?)). I listen to my ipod, or, or XM radio, or a CD, or SOME form of music at work all day long. It helps me to drown out distractions. In addition, the way my cubicle is situated, I can dance a good deal without being seen.

I have decided to add a "Song of the Week" section to my blog so I can address the songs that I can listen to repeatedly without getting bored. Usually there are a few I just WAIT for when I have my songs set to shuffle.

This week's song is Accidental Babies by Damien Rice. I discovered Damien last year with 9 Crimes and bought the entire 9 album. Accidental Babies has become my favorite. It is just so sad. He emotes so well through his music. Here, give it a try.

Accidental Babies by Damien Rice

Sorry for the fan video in French. There wasn't much on that wasn't live. It was between this and a BSG Kara/Lee fan vid. I was THIS close to putting that one on here.

Good lyrics:

I know I make you cry
I know sometimes you want to die
But do you really feel alive without me
If so be free
If not leave him for me
Before one of us has accidental babies

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

DWTS Updates

I was watching Idol when I saw a headline on that said Derek was taken to the hospital from the set today for a neck injury! I wonder what they do if the professional is injured and can't dance. I imagine they sub another pro. If Derek is out for a week (God forbid!), bring on Maks!! No, I am kidding. He seems to have already been released from the hospital, not seriously injured.

Who knew Johnathan was so funny? I loved the Man-go. Also loved the neon dance Julianne and Mark did. They are two of my fave pros!

Kristy & Mark
Adam & Julianne
Priscilla & Louis
Marissa & Tony (my friend Colleen's 20 calls made the difference!)
Jason & Edyta
Marlee & Fabian
Christian & Cheryl
Shannon & Derek
Mario & Karina

Going home:
Steve & Anna - Goodbye Steve! It has been a pleasure and you have such a nice attitude and seem fun!

American Idol - Top 9

First off, I love Dolly Parton! Her bust makes no sense to me, but her music is amazing! She still has it after all these years. Love her. Now my opinions on the performances.

Brooke White - Jolene - I love this song. I wish it felt so rushed, but I like Brooke's voice on it. However, Mindy Smith did this with Dolly on background vocals, and it would take the cake over Brooke any day. She responds too much to the judges during their comments. I think it is because she is uncomfortable, but I find it distracting.

David Cook
- Little Sparrow - He did something different with his hair. I like it. And he gave credit to Doxology for their Elinor Rigby arrangement that he didn't credit them with before. He has not disappointed me in 4 weeks of performances. I liked hearing a little bit of his falsetto (and now Randy says the same thing!). Love him.

Ramiele Malubay - Do I Cross Your Mind - She seemed unsure but sang it alright. Still pretty blah for me.

Jason Castro - Traveling Through - This seemed a little different for Jason and I liked seeing something that isn't quite so mellow. I liked the performance.

Carly Smithson - Here You Come Again - This is what I was waiting for from Carly after the last couple of weeks. Loved it. I really loved the slower arrangement.

David Archuleta - Smoky Mountain Memories - I don't know this song, but this is the type of song he should sing. I prefer it to be a song I know so I can get into it more, and I don't really feel this one. But, his performances so far have shown me he shouldn't sing anything upbeat. You just can't deny he has an unbelievable voice.

Kristy Lee Cook - Coat of Many Colors - Well she better do a good job at this since she is actually a country singer. I have a hard time seeing how she got a record deal. I just don't see her as THAT good of a singer. I don't dislike her though or wish her ill. I am just ready to see her go.

Syesha Mercado - I Will Always Love You - She is going to have to nail this. She is an amazing singer, but most importantly, she HAS to connect with the viewers. She has been in the bottom 3 the past couple of weeks, even with her great performance last week. She sounds great, but again, it was just OK for me.

Michael Johns - It was just ok for me. I like his voice but for some reason this one didn't suck me in. Maybe I was just distracted by a game of online Scrabble. It was pretty blues-y soul, which I liked for him, though.

Loved: David Cook, Brooke White, Carly Smithson, David Archuleta
OK: Jason Castro, Michael Johns, Syesha Mercado
Um...No: Ramiele Malubay, Kristy Lee Cook

Who I would like to see in the bottom 3 (again):

I doubt that will be the bottom 3. Here is who I think will actually BE in the bottom:

Barney Howser, M.D.

This isn't quite up there with the slap bet, but pretty close. Barney channels Doogie in last night's episode. Classic (Have I mentioned I LOVE NPH?)

Dancing with the Stars - Week 3

I'm a day late in watching this week's episode. I'll update this post after I watch the elimination show. First, American Idol, though. Here are my thoughts on this week's performances.

Marlee & Fabian - Marlee is so fun and seems to be really enjoying the competition. And I have to give it to her. She has good rhythm and is an enjoyable dancer. Judges' score: 21/30

Steve & Anna - Steve wants so badly to be good And he has the "acting" part of the dances down. But I just don't think he is in this competition yet, as far as the dancing skills. Judges' score: 21/30

Christian & Cheryl - I like watching this pairing. Christian seems comfortable on the dance floor and I liked his jive. Judges' score: 25/30

Mario & Karina
- He wears very interesting outfits every week. He seems like a natural performer and dancer. I would love to see him do the Paso Doble. Judges' scores: 21/30

Shannon & Derek - She is a little gangly. I don't like this one as much as their last dance. But overall not bad. Judges' score: 24/30

Adam & Julianne - I love her wig! Adam seems to have taken this week more seriously and improved a bit. Perhaps, he doesn't want to embarrass himself or Julianne. Or maybe his competitive spirit has kicked in. Judges' score: 21/30

Marissa & Tony - Before she even dances, I have to say I love her. I want her to do well. And I enjoyed the performance. But I don't know that it was too good. Let's see what the judges say. Judges' score: 19/30

Priscilla & Louis - Can I remind you that she is 62?? Good grief. I mean, I know she has had major (and not all good) plastic surgery, but I give her lots of credit for doing the show. They are a good match and I thought it was sexy and nice to watch. Seemed like their moves were precise. Judges' score: 26/30

Jason & Edyta - I think Jason is likable and seems very personable. It was ok for me. Seemed like he was thinking too hard during the performance. Judges' score: 23/30

Kristy & Mark - The pressure is on to maintain their high standings. Looks good right off. They are just a good pairing and you know she knows how to compete. Judges' score: 27/30