‘Super Bowl 50’ commercial & movie trailer round-up inside

I’ll just come out and say it: this year’s Super Bowl, commercials and all, was a snoozer. The Big Game, which pitted the Carolina Panthers against the Denver Broncos, was not a very exciting matchup to begin with and unfortunately the players on the field couldn’t manage to muster any memorable moments. Peyton Manning, backed by an impressive defensive unit, ended up beating Cam Newton and the Panthers, 24-10.

The hype, however, remained omnipresent throughout the game. Lady Gaga started things off on the right note with a strikingly beautiful rendition of our National Anthem (watch it here). At halftime, Coldplay stormed the field to play some tunes (new and old), with much needed assistance by Beyoncè and Bruno Mars. Don’t get me wrong–I’m a massive Coldplay fan; they simply didn’t own the night as Queen Bey and her “Formation” ladies and Mars and his “Uptown Funk” gang stole the spotlight. I was looking for Left Shark to make a reprise; turns out he did. Wah wahh.

Despite the relatively boring game and equally lackadaisical commercials (more on those in a moment), a whopping 111.9 million people tuned into the Super Bowl last night. As big as that number is, it’s not a record-breaker. Last year’s SB, in which the New England Patriots triumphed over the Seattle Seahawks, attracted 114.4 million and that game remains the most watched telecast in U.S. history.

Super Bowl 50 also couldn’t live up to last year’s Super Bowl ads. Instead of being funny and relevant, they were trying too hard to “go viral.” A prime example is the bizarre “puppymonkeybaby” as featured in Mountain Dew’s commercial that aired early in the game. It went instantly viral (it remained a top trending topic on Twitter all night), but ultimately failed to capture my imagination–it was just plain stupid. Across the board, this year’s ads simply did not live up to last year’s actually funny, emotional, and sometimes poignant clips. Nevertheless, let’s take a look at my favorite spots all the while keeping in mind that these companies paid $5 million for 30 seconds of fame! READ MORE ‘Super Bowl 50’ commercial & movie trailer round-up inside

‘Serial’ revisits Adnan Syed’s case as new evidence gets presented, season 2 expands

Whether or not you believed Adnan Syed (above, then and now) killed his high school girlfriend Hae Min Lee in 1999, you’re going to want to tune into this. Syed has new representation now and there’s a court hearing happening this week and guess who’s showing up to the deliberations? Serial host Sarah Koenig, but of course. Even though she’s smack in the middle of producing and delivering the second season of the hugely popular and critically acclaimed investigative podcast, Koenig and her producing partner in crime Dana Chivvis are pulling double duty to reel listeners back into new developments in Syed’s ongoing case.

As new evidence is presented at the hearing in Baltimore, Koenig and Chivvis will produce new mini-episodes to deliver and discuss the updates with listeners still invested in Syed’s future. Remember the “Asia letters” from way back when? Well, it turns out Syed’s attorney was able to get Asia McClain to testify in Syed’s defense! This is a major coup for him because if you remember it was in those letters that McClain claimed she was with Adnan at the library at the time Hae was murdered. This and more is discussed in the first of three Serial Season 1: Update episodes available for your consumption right here, right now.

In other Serial news, in case you haven’t been made aware yet, the release schedule for season 2 has been tweaked significantly. Click after the break to learn more. READ MORE ‘Serial’ revisits Adnan Syed’s case as new evidence gets presented, season 2 expands

Microsoft uses HoloLens tech to turn your living room into the ultimate sports den

While companies like Oculus, Samsung, Sony and Valve are betting big on virtual reality, Microsoft is taking the road less traveled (I’m looking at you, Google) and putting its focus on augmented reality. It’s HoloLens helmet aims to merge the physical world with digital by overlaying holograms on top of the real world around you. From video games to the classroom, Microsoft HoloLens aims to be a dominating force across myriad industries. One that makes just as much sense as the others? Sports.

At a panel called “The Future of Football: How Technology Could Shape the Next 50 Years of the Game,” Microsoft showcased the power of HoloLens and the exciting potential augmented reality and holograms can bring to gameday. Imagine if you had the ability to extend the big game beyond the confines of your existing HDTV, and not just by literally making the screen bigger. I’m talking live, interactive player stats and real-time fantasy football updates. Peer at your coffee table and watch it come to life with 3D instant replays viewable from any angle. This is the future of watching sports, and with it, the so-called “second screen experience” folds back up into one.

Now, I hate to burst your bubble, but this seemingly pie-in-the-sky tech doesn’t exist yet as it’s shown in the visually impressive demonstration above. It’s merely a concept, but you can rest assured Microsoft is considering it very seriously. The HoloLens hardware and software (it runs on Windows 10, believe it or not) is still in the development stages; Microsoft is ramping up production for developers to test and improve the device later this year. Still, this glimpse into the future is nothing short of amazing and it expands the evolving potential for an augmented reality lifestyle.

[Via Microsoft] READ MORE Microsoft uses HoloLens tech to turn your living room into the ultimate sports den

Stream ‘Blue Mountain State: The Rise of Thadland’ today

Five years and nearly $2 million later, BMS: The Movie is here! Following a swift cancellation in 2011 after airing three seasons on Spike, Blue Mountain State and The Mountain Goats get to see another day thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign fueled by the series’ loyal fanbase and its passionate creators Eric Falconer and Chris Romano. In case you missed it (and odds are that you did), the crude comedy tells the stereotypical raunchy college experience through the eyes of football players and the team’s mascot. Sounds plain old stupid on the surface, but it throws out the rulebook and drags you in with absurd hilarity and unexpected charm. The movie, which settled for an R-rating after dialing things back when the MPAA slapped it with an NC-17 label, reunites the entire cast and focuses on arguably the show’s funniest character, Thad Castle. The synopsis follows.

With Blue Mountain State football star Thad Castle (Alan Ritchson) recently signing a multi-million dollar NFL contract, his teammates and college life seem like a distant memory. However, when a new school dean threatens to clean up the BMS image by auctioning off the infamous Goat House, Alex (Darin Brooks), Sammy (Chris Romano) and the boys must find a way to convince him to get involved. Despite his new fortune and fame, there is one small favor that Thad needs done before he saves the day: the biggest booze-and-sloot fest in BMS history. Welcome to Thadland!

Blue Mountain State: The Rise of Thadland is out today across digital platforms. I had previously assumed distributor Lionsgate was going to release it in theatres, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Nevertheless, no complaints here! You can own or rent The Rise of Thadland on iTunes and Amazon Video from the comfort of your couch; stock up on your favorite refreshments now. Need a fix right this second? Head after the break to watch the red-band trailer. Go Goats! READ MORE Stream ‘Blue Mountain State: The Rise of Thadland’ today

10 premieres to look out for this month: ‘Better Call Saul,’ ‘American Crime Story,’ ‘Fuller House’ & more

It may be a mild winter for east coasters, but that’s not stopping the incoming storm of highly anticipation programming from hitting the airwaves this month. There are a whopping five series premieres you cannot miss (including FX’s American Crime Story and Netflix’s Fuller House), plus the sophomore runs of AMC’s Better Call Saul and HBO’s Togetherness, among others. Jump after the break for the full rundown. READ MORE 10 premieres to look out for this month: ‘Better Call Saul,’ ‘American Crime Story,’ ‘Fuller House’ & more

What if Tim Burton directed Disney’s classic movies?

That’s the question Russian artist Andrew Tarusov asked himself before putting pen to paper to produce this portfolio of gothic takes on classic Disney films. It’s always interesting to see artist’s renditions of cartoon characters with a Tim Burton twist, and this attempt is no less inspiring.

“I love how Burton’s style looks vintage, chic, and cute all at the same time,” Tarusov told HelloGiggles. “His work is often marketed as ‘horror’ movies, but at the same time, it’s not a horror… It could be any genre.”

Dive into the gallery below to see ten Disney movies reimagined if the shadowy mind behind The Nightmare Before Christmas and Coraline had his way with them. You may never look at Pinocchio and Dumbo–my personal favorites here–the same way again!

Coldplay films colorful music videos to match new album ‘A Head Full of Dreams’

Coldplay is back with its seventh and possibly final album for awhile, that is, according to frontman Chris Martin. If this is it for the foreseeable future, they sure are going out with a bang. The record, A Head Full of Dreams, is a solid effort from the alt-rock/pop British band. It has its quiet moments (“Everglow” and “Kaleidoscope”) as well as those anthemic tunes fans have become accustomed to over the years (“A Head Full of Dreams,” “Hymn for the Weekend” and “Adventure of a Lifetime”). All in all, it’s a decidedly uplifting and inspiring take, especially coming off last year’s mildly melancholic Ghost Stories.

Shortly after releasing the album into the wild just last month, Martin and co. started to drop eclectic music videos for the singles. They started with a mesmerizing music video for “Adventure of a Lifetime” which features CGI versions of the band members dancing around as apes. They teamed up with director Mat Whitecross and actor/motion capture expert Andy Serkis (Lord of the RingsPlanet of the Apes) to magically animate themselves using the latest tech in 3D motion capture. It took six months to make!

The second music video to release was the one for “Birds.” The band travelled to Salvation Mountain to record the trippy, kaleidoscopic clip directed by Marcus Haney.

Following lead single “Adventure of a Lifetime” is the official second single off the album, “Hymn for the Weekend.” Coldplay shot the video for it on location in Mumbai, India with director Ben Mor. Beyoncè, whose vocals are featured on the track, plays a beautiful movie star and Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor makes a cameo as the band runs around the streets of Mumbai exploding with color and radiance.

“Hymn for the Weekend” is embedded above. You’ll find music videos for “Birds” and “Adventure of a Lifetime” after the break. There’s also a fun behind-the-scenes look at Coldplay making the CGI video with Whitecross and Serkis.

One more thing. This summer Coldplay’s going on tour! Tickets go on sale Friday, Feb. 5 at 10am local time. Check out the full list of nation-wide stops below the fold. Oh, and don’t forget they’ll be jamming out during Super Bowl 50’s halftime show next Sunday! READ MORE Coldplay films colorful music videos to match new album ‘A Head Full of Dreams’

Kristen Bell & Dax Shepard are adorable in viral lip sync cover of “Africa”

Actors and real-life couple Kristen Bell (Frozen) and Dax Shepard (Parenthood) made it their goal to “rage hard and honor Toto properly” before having kids. So they travelled to Africa and filmed themselves singing along to Toto’s hit song “Africa” among the native animals. This is what true love looks like. That’s it. Enjoy. READ MORE Kristen Bell & Dax Shepard are adorable in viral lip sync cover of “Africa”

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson shuts down B.o.B’s flat-Earth notions with diss track & must-see mic drop

This month, rapper B.o.B (“Nothin’ on You“) made it apparent on Twitter that he truly believes our planet Earth is flat, not round. I’ll give you a second. Okay, moving on. In a series of tweets (you can scour his conspiracy-laden feed here), he could be seen waxing philosophical (I’m stretching the phrase there) on the “mounting evidence” proving we live on a flat planet. “A lot of people are turned off by the phrase “flat earth” … but there’s no way u can see all the evidence and not know… grow up,” he tweeted. Things began to escalate when renowned astrophysicist and Cosmos host Neil deGrasse Tyson caught wind of B.o.B’s utter nonsense and fired back with his own series of tweets. Of course, these are backed up by actual evidence and you’d think NDT’s involvement would put an end to this. But no, this Twitter beef was only getting started.

B.o.B wasn’t going to go gentle into that good night (Interstellar space reference, boom!) and so he quickly pumped out a new rap called “Flatline” in which he spits, “Neil Tyson need to loosen up his vest, they’ll probably write that man one hell of a check.” Yeah, it’s that bad. Anyway, NDT would go on to slam dunk over the rapper again, but this time with a rap of his own! Turns out Neil’s nephew has the acumen to produce a record in-studio, and under the name TYSON he invented a “diss track” aptly called “Flat to Fact.” Against a backdrop featuring the same beat used on Drake’s Meek Mill diss track “Back to Back,” the younger Tyson fired back at B.o.B with amazing verses like, “I’m bringing facts to combat a silly theory because B.o.B’s gotta know the planet is a sphere, chief, woah!” He even had his uncle record some of his original tweets aimed at B.o.B to include in the track. NDT would go on to publicly back his nephew’s swing.

Now you’d think that would put a nail in this thing, but there’s more. With B.o.B pretty much and out at this point, Neil provided the knock out punch by appearing on Larry Wilmore’s Nightly Show on Comedy Central. He takes off his blazer, grabs a mic, and piles on the evidence like a boss. There’s really no other way to describe it. Check out a mic drop moment for the ages after the break! Best Twitter beef. Ever. READ MORE Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson shuts down B.o.B’s flat-Earth notions with diss track & must-see mic drop

Louis C.K. surprises fans with new web series ‘Horace and Pete’ [Update: Louie opens up]

Wondering how comedian and TV star Louis C.K.’s spends his “free” time when his FX sitcom Louie goes on its extended hiatuses? He’ll perform standup, of course, and make it available on his website for five bucks. And now, apparently, he shoots another show and debuts it online without anybody knowing about its existence during production. It’s called Horace and Pete and it takes place inside an Irish pub run by Horace (played by Louie). Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire) plays his parter Pete and the web show is rife with cameos including but not limited to Alan Alda (The Blacklist), Edie Falco (Nurse JAckie), Aidy Bryant (Saturday Night Live), Jessica Lange (American Horror Story), Rebecca Hall (The Town), and Steven Wright.

The black comedy skews dramatic and clocks in at just over an hour. It features an intermission where the characters discuss current events like the presidential race and the Super Bowl. Louie released Horace and Pete with little fanfare, simply posting a link to “a brand new thing from Louis C.K.” on his website and offering it up for $5. You can buy Episode 1 today, and it would appear that an additional three episodes are on the way. So…surprise!

Update (2/4): Louie has broken his radio silence regarding the release of his new show. Click after the break for more. READ MORE Louis C.K. surprises fans with new web series ‘Horace and Pete’ [Update: Louie opens up]

Protect the protocols! ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ gets the Honest Trailers treatment

In its latest installment of Honest Trailers, Screen Junkies takes on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and nothing is off limits. It’s true: Captain America: The Winter Solider “literally blew up” the show’s premise by wiping out S.H.I.E.L.D. entirely. [Side note: That being said, the show dramatically got better after it embraced the Marvel Cinematic Universe goings-on.] The “honest trailer” goes on to poke fun at the myriad Marvel superhero name drops, the frequent uses of the words protection and protocol, the wacky holograms, Grant Ward’s redemption indecision, and even the way Coulson walks!

If you’re a fan of the ABC sci-fi drama, it’s pretty much a must-see. You’ll laugh and realize just how silly the show can be when all of these elements are squeezed into one fast-paced clip. It can also be appreciated because at the end of the day, we know that MAoS rather quickly developed into an exhilarating series for its loyal core audience. So enjoy this fun jab, and get ready for its anticipated March 8 return. READ MORE Protect the protocols! ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ gets the Honest Trailers treatment

Apple squeaks out record 2016 Q1 results, braces for revenue decline

On January 26, Apple reported its 2016 first quarter financial results. Apple posted a record quarterly revenue of $75.9 billion and record quarterly net profit of $18.4 billion. Compare this to one year ago, that’s up from revenue of $74.6 billion and net profit of $18 billion. Says CEO Tim Cook in a press release: “Our team delivered Apple’s biggest quarter ever, thanks to the world’s most innovative products and all-time record sales of iPhone, Apple Watch and Apple TV. The growth of our Services business accelerated during the quarter to produce record results, and our installed base recently crossed a major milestone of one billion active devices.”

It was another “record quarter” for Apple, but there were some startling yet inevitable declines across its product sales. Let’s break it down by product category and then discuss. Apple sold 74.8 million iPhones in the quarter (compared to 74.5 million in the year-ago quarter); 16.1 million iPads (compared to 21.4 million); and 5.3 million Macs (compared to 5.5 million). As for iPod, Apple TV, and Apple Watch, the company stuffs these products into a single category called Other Products and does not disclose how many units of each were sold. However, what we do know is that this division accounted for $4.4 billion of Apple’s revenue this quarter (compared to 2.7 million in the year-ago quarter).

A quick look at those numbers and you’ll come to realize that Apple’s finally hitting a plateau with its innovative product lineup. The iPhone is the company’s most profitable product today, and yet its sales were up just 0.4 percent compared to last year’s first quarter results. The iPad and Macs didn’t fare so well either. Tablet sales dropped 25 percent compared to last year, and computer sales went south by 4 percent. Apple CFO Luca Maestri addresses these significant slumps when predicting 2016’s second fiscal quarter revenue to fall between $50-$53 billion; if that happens, it would mark a year-over-year decline in revenue for the company for the first time in 13 years.

It isn’t all bad news for (still) one of the most profitable companies in the world. Apple’s touting a 63 percent jump in sales in its Other Products category that now includes hot holiday gifts like the new-and-improved Apple TV and Apple Watch. In addition, its Internet-connected Services jumped 27 percent year-over-year; iTunes, the App Stores, and Apple Music helped rake in $6.1 billion in revenue this quarter.

Despite the declines due to “the overall [economic] malaise in virtually every country in the world” and in particular the economic “softness” in China, Tim Cook is bullish on Apple’s future. With an active install base of 1 billion devices (that is iPhone, iPad, Mac, iPod touch, Apple TV and Apple Watch devices that have been engaged in Apple’s services within the past 90 days) and strong customer service and retention rates that are “second to none” in the industry, Cook is unwavering in his belief that Apple will continue to grow as new hardware, software, and services will push his company into the future. It’s just a sad thought knowing that the next quarter will likely be the first one in awhile we won’t be calling a new record.

[Via Apple; Engadget 1, 2; Deadline]

Letter from the editor: The future is brighter

Dear readers, this April marks the blog’s seventh anniversary. Can you believe it? I hardly can; time flies when you’re doing what you love, I guess. Way back in 2009, I started experience it all as a hobby of sorts. At the time I was interning at G4’s Attack of the Show (RIP), and I found its premise completely fascinating; it was a program that smashed together technology and pop culture. I grew up taking apart and building computers with my Dad. In high school, my utter obsession with TV began thanks to 24Lost, and Prison Break. When I was young I was always dumbfounded by my parents when they could list off every actor on screen at the movies, and now my brain somehow manages to process, store, and regurgitate everything pop culture. In sum, my creative outlet was an inevitability.

A spark was ignited the summer of ’09. From AOTS I ventured to 30 Rock working at TodaySNL and Late Night when Jimmy was there. And then I moved my life to Los Angeles to work in TV production and development at Nickelodeon and 20th Century Fox. Throughout it all, across all seven years, experience it all never wavered. A single day hasn’t gone by since its inception that I haven’t thought about making it better. It has been rewarding to see it transform from a hobby into a professional destination for the latest industry coverage. My blog stands for everything I am so passionate about: entertainment, technology, and pop culture collide here, under my terms and in my own words. From CES in Vegas to E3 in LA and San Diego Comic Con, it’s been a wild, exhilarating ride covering these ever-evolving industries for you. And I’m happy to report that there’s no end in sight. To celebrate seven years, I’ve updated the site with a brighter theme featuring colors that pop and text that’s easier on the eyes. It plays nicely on mobile devices now, too. I’ve maintained the minimalism, because at the end of the day it’s always about the content, front and center. I’m always open to feedback, of course.

The future is brighter at experience it all, and you can expect even more fun and unexpected content to make its way here (hint: it’s about time I fired up YouTube again). From me to you, thanks for going on this journey with me. I can’t wait to see what’s around the corner. -sm