18 Jan 2012
Trap of the Day: The Hunger Games
A photo still from the hotly anticipated film, The Hunger Games emerged over the weekend and buzz has been going through the roof!
Based on a New York Times best selling book series, the film features actors Elizabeth Banks (in all her Effie Trinket regalia), Woody Harrelson, and Jennifer Lawrence. Taylor Swift, Arcade Fire, and The Decemberists have all jumped on board for the soundtrack and the film has even been attracting a celebrity fan base.
The Hunger Games is a fictional, dystopian love story featuring a brave girl from a hardscrabble life, selected and forced into a vicious, nationally-sponsored fight to the death with a peer who just so happens to be the object of her affection. It’s been well received by critics and the public alike; many are praising the teenage female lead Katniss Everdeen’s character as a positive influence on young girls. Without giving any spoilers, suffice to say that Katniss is a refreshing break from the status quo of romanticized damsels in distress; she is a strong survivor who provides for her family.
Lionsgate, which announced on Friday that it is purchasing Summit Entertainment, hopes the film will be as successful as the Twilight series (although some argue that the two films should not be compared). Either way, excitement about the film’s release has definitely spread; tickets will go on sale a full month before the official release date.
With the overwhelming popularity of the book, plenty of readers are looking forward to seeing how the suspenseful story will translate to cinematic form. As a fan myself, I’d say from the trailerthat the odds appear to be in our favor.
The Hunger Games is the first novel in a trilogy and this film is the first of what is likely to become four films, with the final installment being shot in two parts. The academy award winning screenwriter of Slumdog Millionaire is already on the project for the second movie, Catching Fire, expected to be released in November 2013.
12 Jan 2012
Trap of the Day: Jersey Shore
The New Year is upon us, and with it returns longings for springtime, plans for self-betterment, and a new season of MTV’s infamous reality series, “Jersey Shore.” As each new episode of the Shore airs, the internet surges with yet another wave of hand-wringing articles claiming the ways in which the show dumbs down its viewers, causes much-deserved shame in its audience, and promotes undereducated role models for our children. Though it may not be a popular stance in this culture of irony and irate-ness, I choose to instead profess my earnest affection for both “Jersey Shore” and its cast of fist-pumping, Jersey-turnpiking, constantly tanning characters.
I recognize, of course, the gawking appeal of the Shore and its inhabitants, and I make no attempt to argue against its value as borderline-sideshow entertainment. After all, where else can you watch a grown woman elatedly drink pickle juice straight from the jar, witness someone literally dancing her own underwear off in public, and satisfy your longstanding curiosity as to what Jake Gyllenhaal would look like if he took up competitive bodybuilding (quick answer: Snooki’s on-again, off-again boyfriend, Jionni)?
Beyond this, though, my love for “Jersey Shore” and its often alien-seeming inhabitants comes from the quieter, gentler moments, when I find myself relating to the cast as actual people. It is in these scenes where I can see my own goofiness in the Jersey boys’ original song for alerting the house as to what time it is (a habit my roommate and I have since adopted), recognize my best friend and I’s die-hard, sometimes dorky, relationship in the faithful bond between Snooki and JWoww, and even identify my own confusion as to how to deal with feelings of rejection and vulnerability in Ronnie’s tear-filled freak-outs over Sammi. Because as humiliating, humbling and humanizing as it can be to see ourselves in these Others, there’s something equally heartening in the knowledge that even “gorilla juiceheads” have difficult feelings, that even self-proclaimed “guidettes” struggle with our society’s infuriating double-standards, and that even someone who gets as much love from the ladies as Vinny does sometimes feels so lonely for his mom that it sends him into a panic.
For me, it’s not so much about what makes makes me or my life better/worse/different from the action at the “Jersey Shore,” it’s the things that make it all—and us all—surprisingly the same.
11 Jan 2012
Trap of the Day: Indie Rock Music
While the music industry is struggling, one of the oldest indie rock labels in the game, Seattle’s Sub Pop, is doing well. The label of early grunge rock fame (Nirvana, Soundgarden…) has been putting out critically acclaimed (and decently selling) albums from the likes of The Fleet Foxes and the Shins. The LA Times has an article chronicling the phoenix like return of the label, which somewhat recently resigned Mudhoney. The band left for a time to major label Warner Brothers, ostensibly because they thought Sub Pop was going to go under (spoiler alert: they didn’t!).
I’m crossing my fingers that the future belongs to small labels like Portland’s own Tender Loving Empire, which is balking at old industry standards, trusting fans and music lovers, and introducing a pay what you will pricing scheme in a project they hope to get funded by the crowd sourcing platform IndieGoGo.
They might just pull it off, indie rock fans are a loyal and supportive bunch. As the outpouring of love after the passing of one of Austin’s biggest music fans, the amazing Esme Barrera, attests to. In the wake of her death, benefit concerts have been planned from El Paso to Brooklyn, with legend Ted Leo requesting to headline one in Austin.
22 Dec 2011
Trap of the Day: Howard Stern
Howard Stern used to be funny. NBC is banking on the fact that he still is, hiring Stern to be a new judge on reality talent show America’s Got Talent. In its 7th season, America’s Got Talent desperately needs fresh blood to bring a ratings boost to the fledgling network.
12 Dec 2011
Trap of the Day: Mission Impossible
The impossible mission, it seems, is slowing down Tom Cruise’s career. Recently out with a few friends, I asked the question, “What celebrity do you most closely follow?” to which one personinstantlyresponded, “Tom Cruise!” I expressed my surprise. With all the new leading men in Hollywood, what’s the lasting appeal ofthe 49-year-old actor?
It’s tough for me to separate the man from the scientology, couch jumping, and okay, mostlyscientology, but as my friend effectively convinced me, I like a lot of Tom Cruise movies.
At first Iconcededto Cruise’s breakthrough role in 1983’s Risky Business. He picks up where Dustin Hoffman leaves off in The Graduate, nailing the role of a young man coming into his own and shedding thenaiveteof childhood. Speaking ofHoffman, who can deny Cruise’s transformative role in Rain Man?And there’sMagnolia, for which Cruise deservedly received a Golden Globe and nomination for an Academy Award.
Cruise’s wildly successful Mission Impossible franchise releases its fourth film in the series,Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol,in IMAX December 16 and widely on December 21. While Sherlock Holmes 2 promises to be big, I predict this will be the holiday blockbuster. Check out thevideo clips and film stills.
During his press tour forMission Impossible,Cruise announced what die-hard fans have been waiting for since 1986—a sequel toTop Gun.I’m not yet convinced Cruise will be heralded as one of the great actors of our time, but the man certainly knows what people want andconsistentlygives it to them.
14 Nov 2011
Trap of the Day: The Muppets
Looking for your Muppets fix between now and when the movie opens on Nov. 23? Trapit has it all.
Slumfrog Millionaire is the latest of six hilarious trailors that have hit the Internet in advance of the film. Watch them all here.
Check out clips from the actual film—filled with singing, dancing and even new muppet “Walter“—here.
Still not satisfied? Bake yourself some Kermit cupcakes or cakepops, and revist a Muppets classic such as The Great Muppet Caper (1981).
10 Nov 2011
Trap of the Day: Red Carpet
With or without a host, the show must go on. As celeb stylists are already catfighting to deliver the perfect Acedemy Awards’ red carpet look, Trapit has captured all the previews to the main event in our new Red Carpet trap.
Decide for yourself who is a fashionista and which looks fall flat:
Everyone is buzzing about Angelina Jolie in a simple, red Atelier Versace dress at her hubby’s movie premiere in Tokyo. Sloppy Brad, on the other hand, landed on everyone’s worst dressed list.
The recent MTV Europe Music Awards, hosted by Selena Gomez, generated both delightful and disasterous looks. This blogger loved Katy Perry’s all-pink outfit with hair to match. If she were looking to achieve the “cotton candy exploded on me at a carnival in the 1950s” look, then I say brava! Also, I implore a league of grandmothers to throw slankets on these girls. It’s November in Europe—where are your clothes?
Glamour’s Women of the Year Awards’ red carpet brought out gorgeous gowns from Emma Stone, Lea Michele and Jennifer Lopez.
Usually the queen of class and elegance, Nicole Kidman’s Stella McCartney dress at the 59th Annual BMI Country Music Awards looks like rejected upholstery from the set of Mad Men.
But in the disaster department, nothing can top Katie Holmes & Uma Thurman’s angry skirt incidents.
31 Oct 2011
Trap of the Day: The Walking Dead
When The Walking Dead debuted last Halloween, the pilot became the most-watched series premiere episode of any AMC show. Back with season 2 and three episodes in, the momentum continues as fans watch small town Sheriff Rick Grimes and his family battle zombies in a post-apocalyptic society.
Fans can expect more flesh-eating drama in its third season, just announced by AMC after the season 2 premiere garnered a record 7.3 million viewers.
I love seeing a great graphic novel being made into high quality series that exposes the books to an entirely new audience. Now if only those annoying, inescapable vampire romance films would disappear and stop promoting a series of crappy books…
Watch a clip from The Walking Dead’s third episode of the second season, “Save the Last One,” and whatever you do, don’t call them “zombies” around the show’s ravenous fans. It’s “walkers,” which comic creator and show producer Robert Kirkman chose because in the world of The Walking Dead, “the concept of zombies doesn’t exist.” Extra spooky-scary!
28 Sep 2011
Trap of the Day: Nirvana
It’s hard to believe it was twenty years ago that Nirvana’s Nevermind hit the scene. It’s an album from another era, when buying an album meant driving your pickup truck out of the way to the one small record store in the next town over to buy a cassette.
This is how my father picked up Nevermind before we embarked on a family car trip down the Columbia Gorge. As the gentle guitar strumming of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” crecendoed into that unmistakable crashing drum beat my brother and I bobbed excitedly under our seatbelts. At our urging my dad cranked the tape deck and we rocked all the way to grandma’s house (and for the record, this experience effectively killed my little kid prediliction for sugary pop acts like Ace of Base).
It’s hard to imagine an album coming out these days that could garner the kind of popular cultural reflection two decades later that Nevermind has. But as Glen Gamboa points out, Nevermind was released during a banking crisus induced recession with high unemployment rates and so while the music market may be a drastically different landscape, the kind of hopeless screaming ballads that found resonence with a generation of dissillusioned (and unemployed) youth, are sure to find purchase again with many in their re-release.
In any case, even if you don’t like Nevermind, I’m sure you’re still curious what that naked baby chasing a dollar is up to now.
21 Sep 2011
Trap of the Day: Beauty Pageants
It’s an old story told in a new way—pushy moms, dolled up little girls, spectators questioning the wisdom, ethics, implications of it all yet unable to turn away (I mean come on, this wouldn’t be a show if it wasn’t being watched). Nothing stirs the inner conflict like reality television, especially when the subject is child beauty queens.
I can snobbishly say that I have never seen an episode of “Toddlers in Tiaras” but truth be told I’ve chosen this trap because of some scandalous headlines that drew me in when perusing our Entertainment category (and the inevitable click through it garnered speaks to some sort of allure, however conflicting or perverse).
This isn’t the first form of what some consider to be child abuse to double as entertainment (dance, gymnastics, castrato all fit the bill) but little kid reality TV stars will have to live with a much more visible digital history than any ballet dancer ever had to.