The Weeknd continues his takeover and drops moody new single ‘The Hills,’ music video inside

Posted in Music,News,Video by Scott Meisner on May 27th, 2015

Abel Tesfaye has come a long way since his free mixtape days. The underground artist, who first exploded onto the scene under stage name The Weeknd with freebies House of BalloonsThursday, and Echoes of Silence in 2011, is no longer a musical phantom. After repackaging the three tapes into the polished Trilogy release, Tesfaye dropped his debut studio album Kiss Land in 2013. “You will continue to get what you fell in love with, and I will continue to give you what you ask for,” he told his fans in a note that released alongside TrilogyKiss Land did not disappoint as it maintained the same stripped down, intimate essence that captivated fans in the beginning.

What came next for the now 25 year-old Canadian crooner? Standalone track “Often” came out of nowhere last summer tinged with Tesfaye’s signature sensuality. And then his sound went mainstream when pop star Ariana Grande invited him to guest on her hit track “Love Me Harder;” The Weeknd co-wrote the ubiquitous track. Now riding the mainstream waves, he appropriately stuck his stylistic R&B brand on the theatrical adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey by releasing the movie soundtrack’s single “Earned It.” That track helped said soundtrack reach the number three spot on the Billboard Hot 100.

Today, Tesfaye isn’t resting on his laurels. In fact, he’s currently in the studio readying his second studio album. The long-awaited followup to Kiss Land doesn’t have a name or release date confirmed yet, but if you’re one to trust Wikipedia, it’s titled Chapter III and it’s set for release later this year. What’s solid is the lead single off said record: The Weeknd dropped “The Hills” on Wednesday, a characteristically moody track that he debuted live this spring at Coachella and SXSW.

The track, which originally went by the name “Mood Music,” is now available to purchase on iTunes and comes accompanied by an enthralling music video. In it, Tesfaye emerges from a bad car wreck, bloodied and disoriented. “I only love it when you touch me, not feel me / When I’m f*cked up, that’s the real me.” Those lyrics continue to peel back layers in order to shed light on his inner demons. The visuals mesmerize, too; after the car explodes into a fireball, Tesfaye stumbles upon an eerie mansion where he ends up in a creepy cliffhanger leaving fans salivating for more. Watch it all go down after the break.

What do you think of The Weeknd’s latest effort? Though his lyrics on “The Hills” resonate with themes that have come before, do you find his ever-improving sound straying too far from his original works? Plug in your ‘phones, take a listen, and sound off in the comments below. (Click here for more…)

Steve Jobs returns to the big screen with award-winning team at the helm

Posted in Movies,Video by Scott Meisner on May 27th, 2015

This isn’t your Ashton Kutcher’s Steve Jobs. Danny Boyle (127 HoursSlumdog MillionaireTrainspotting) directs the third major biographical drama showcasing the life and times of the Apple co-founder (yes, I am absolutely counting 1999’s unforgettable Pirates of Silicon Valley). Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin (MoneyballThe Social Network) adapts Walter Isaacson’s authorized biography Steve Jobs. Michael Fassbender slips into the iconic innovator’s black turtleneck this time around. Also starring is Kate Winslet as Joanna Hoffman, former marketing chief of Macintosh; Seth Rogen as Apple co-founder Steve Wozniack; Jeff Daniels as John Sculley, former Apple CEO; Katherine Waterston as Jobs’ ex-girlfriend Chrisann Brennan, and Michael Stuhlbarg as Andy Hertzfeld, one of the original members of the Apple Macintosh development team. The logline reads as follows:

Set backstage at three iconic product launches and ending in 1998 with the unveiling of the iMac, Steve Jobs takes us behind the scenes of the digital revolution to paint an intimate portrait of the brilliant man at its epicenter.

The debut trailer, hanging above, showcases a decidedly more elegant take on Jobs’ rise to influential immortality. With award-winning talent working hard to bring Isaacson’s esteemed book to life, there’s much to anticipate when Steve Jobs hits theatres October 9.

‘Too Many Clones’ spoof is a hoot for ‘Orphan Black’ fans

Posted in Hilarity,Television,Video by Scott Meisner on May 14th, 2015

Merely typing these words brings it all back like tidal wave out of nowhere. Remember Too Many Cooks? You know, that annoyingly catchy and incredibly bizarre Adult Swim parody that took the Internet by storm? Well, if you’ve seen it and if you happen to be a fan of BBC America’s Orphan Black, boy do I have a treat for you. What happens when you mix the incessant Too Many Cooks with “The Tatiana Maslany Show?” This. Enjoy!

[Via EW]

Upfronts: NBC debuts new fall schedule dominated with dramas (Trailers & full descriptions inside)

Posted in Image cache,News,Television,Video by Scott Meisner on May 14th, 2015

For TV lovers, this is one of the most exciting times of the year. It’s mid-May and the Upfronts are currently taking place in New York City. In case you’re not aware, the Upfronts is an annual event where the major networks (namely NBC, FOX, ABC, CBS, and The CW) present their upcoming slates of fall and midseason programming to advertisers and the press. The Upfronts are held to get advertisers excited to spend their money on primetime commercials, and the press is there to spur buzz for the public at large. Every year the nets pump out some great content, so without further ado, let’s dive right in!

NBC is first out of the gate this Upfront season, presenting four new dramas, one fresh comedy, and a special variety series hosted by Neil Patrick Harris for the fall. The Blindspot, from executive producer Greg Berlanti (The Mysteries of LauraThe FlashArrow), stars Jaimie Alexander (Thor) in the Peacock’s most anticipated new drama. The mystery thriller about an amnesiac covered in tattooed clues has landed the plum post-The Voice spot on NBC’s fall schedule: Mondays at 10. Following The Voice on Tuesdays at 9 is new medical drama Heatbreaker starring Melissa George (The SlapGrey’s Anatomy, In Treatment). At 10 is Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris, a new variety show promising “stunts, skits, pranks, audience interaction, musical numbers, giveaways and unlimited surprises.” Chicago Fire will return for its fourth season in that timeslot when NPH’s show ends in November. Wednesday’s crime procedurals The Mysteries of LauraLaw & Order: SVU, and Chicago P.D. remain in tact. The Blacklist is sticking to Thursday nights at 9, sandwiched between event series Heroes Reborn and new drama The Player. This Las Vegas thriller hails from John Davis and John Fox, the executive producers behind the popular James Spader-led series, and it stars Wesley Snipes and Philip Winchester (Strike Back) in a fun twist on the action-crime genre. Friday is the sole night dedicated to NBC comedy with the returning Undatable at 8 (its third season will be completely comprised of live episodes) and new multi-cam sitcom People are Talking starring Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Saved by the Bell). At 9 it’s the return of dark fairly-tale genre fare Grimm and newsmagazine Dateline.

New series being held for midseason or later include dramas Shades of Blue (starring Jennifer Lopez), another Dick Wolf spinoff Chicago MedGame of Silence (starring Revolution‘s David Lyons and Once Upon a Time‘s Michael Raymond-James), and the Wizard of Oz-inspired Emerald City. Comedies coming soon include You, Me, and the End of the World with Rob Lowe (Parks & Rec), Superstore with America Ferrera (Ugly Betty) and Ben Feldman (A to Z), Hot & Bothered with Eva Longeria (Desperate Housewives), the revival of Coach starring Craig T. Nelson, and Crowded with Patrick Warburton (Rules of Engagement) and Carrie Preston (True Blood). Reality series First Dates and Little Big Shots hosted by Steve Harvey, as well as TV specials The Wiz Live!The Reaper, and Dolly Parton in Coat of Many Colors, are also coming soon.

Jump after the break to preview NBC’s new fall and midseason series with video clips and descriptions. (Click here for more…)

Upfronts: FOX relies on fresh family sitcoms & recognizable dramas for upcoming TV season

Posted in Image cache,News,Television,Video by Scott Meisner on May 14th, 2015

FOX follows NBC as the second major network to announce its new programs for the upcoming 2015-16 season. A pair of dramas and comedies, as well as a comedy-horror anthology, are premiering on FOX this fall. Minority Report, inspired by Steven Spielberg’s 2002 film starring Tom Cruise, takes place 10 years after the demise of Precrime. Stark Sands stars as a former Precog, and with the help of a police detective played by Meagan Good (Deception), he attempts to solve crimes with the flickering visions he still receives. The sci-fi crime adventure is paired with Gotham on Monday nights at 9. (It has been announced that Morena Baccarin–who plays Ben McKenzie’s James Gordon’s love interest–has been upped to series regular for Gotham season 2.) FOX’s Tuesday lineup is all-new for the fall, featuring new single-camera sitcoms Grandfathered, starring John Stamos, and The Grinder, starring Rob Lowe. Rounding out the night at 10 is Ryan Murphy’s latest creation, one-hour comedy horror anthology Scream Queens with Emma Roberts, Lea Michele, and Jamie Lee Curtis. Empire sits tight at 9 on Wednesday, leading out of new crime procedural Rosewood starring Morris Chestnut (V) as a brilliant private pathologist in Miami. (Empire‘s episode count jumps to 18 episodes for season 2, musician Ne-Yo will write music alongside Timbaland’s production, and upcoming guest stars include Chris Rock, Alicia Keys, and Lenny Kravitz.) Veteran Bones and the returning Sleepy Hollow are paired on Thursday. Masterchef Junior movies to Fridays at 8, leading into World’s Funniest hosted by Terry Crews. Sunday’s lineup, including animated and live action fare, remains in tact: Bob’s BurgersThe SimpsonsBrooklyn Nine-NineFamily Guy, and The Last Man on Earth are all-new come September.

New series being held for midseason or later include dramas The Frankenstein Code (from Homeland 24 executive producer Howard Gordon, loosely based on Mary Shelley’s creation) and Lucifer (starring a charismatic Tom Ellis as the Lord of Hell in the City of Angels). Six-episode event series The X-Files is primed to premiere Sunday, Jan. 24 following the NFC Championship game. New Girl, entering its fifth season, is also being saved for a January launch for two reasons: star Zooey Deschanel is pregnant, and the network wants to run it without interruptions this time around. New Girl will join newbies Grandfathered and The Grinder on Tuesdays, as well as midseason sitcom The Guide to Surviving Life. (There will be room on the schedule since Scream Queens has a limited run.) Also on tap for midseason is a new animated comedy from the minds of Seth MacFarlane and Mark Hentemann (Family Guy), Bordertown. A three-hour production Grease: Live with Julianne Hough and Vanessa Hudgens will air live Sunday, Jan. 31. Lastly, American Idol will be back in January for its 15th and final season.

Jump after the break to preview FOX’s new fall and midseason series with video clips and descriptions. (Click here for more…)

Upfronts: ABC sticks with what it knows works, adds ‘The Muppets’ & conspiracy thrillers for good measure

Posted in News,Television,Video by Scott Meisner on May 14th, 2015

Number three is ABC–the third network to present at the Upfronts this week, that is. One look at the Alphabet network’s fall schedule and you’ll notice not much has changed from its 2014-15 grid. In fact, Monday (with Dancing with the Stars and Castle), Wednesday (with comedy lineup The Middle, The GoldbergsModern Family, and black-ish, plus country music drama Nashville), and Thursdays dedicated to prolific showrunner Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s AnatomyScandal, and How to Get Away with Murder), all remain exactly the same. The changes? Sitcom Fresh off the Boat has been bumped to 8:30 to make room for new Tuesday at 8 anchor The Muppets. That’s right–Jim Henson’s famous puppets are coming back to primetime in a half-hour documentary-style show, promising a more adult version of the Muppets that’ll “explore the [their] personal lives and relationships.” Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. sits tight at 9, leading into new conspiracy thriller Quantico. On Friday, Last Man Standing is joined by new multi-cam family sitcom Dr. Ken starring Community‘s Ken Jeong and Trophy Wife scene stealer Albert Tsai; newsmagazine 20/20 follows at 10. With Revenge complete and Resurrection cancelled, ABC’s Sundays nights will now consist of Once Upon a Time leading into new soap Oil (starring Don Johnson as a ruthless oil tycoon) and biblical saga Of Kings and Prophets.

New series being held for midseason or later include dramas The Catch (which looks to be yet another instant-classic Shondaland show starring The Killing‘s Mireille Enos; it will join Shonda’s “TGIT” lineup once Murder‘s limited run ends), another intriguing conspiracy thriller The Family (starring Bourne Identity franchise actress Joan Allen; it will replace Of Kings and Prophets on Sunday nights when the biblical drama finishes its limited run), and LA-set Wicked City, a serial killer investigative drama starring Gossip Girl‘s Ed Westwick and Parenthood‘s Erika Christensen (this one’ll air between the fall and spring runs of Quantico on Tuesdays). There are two comedies on tap for midseason: Raising Hope‘s Martha Plimpton is back in a new messy family single-cam sitcom, The Real O’Neals, and Mike Epps stars in Uncle Buck, a single-cam half-hour inspired by John Hughes’ 1989 film that starred John Candy. The former will eventually take over the Tuesdays-at-8:30 timeslot when The Muppets‘ limited run ends and Fresh off the Boat returns to its 8pm anchor; the latter has not been scheduled yet. Elsewhere, returning series Galavant will again bridge the gap between Once Upon a Time‘s fall and spring runs, and Marvel’s Agent Carter will do the same when S.H.I.E.L.D. goes on winter break. (The action is moving from New York City to Los Angeles in Agent Carter season 2.) It’s been confirmed that Juliette Lewis will be the sole actor returning to Secrets & Lies in its sophomore season; she’ll reprise Detective Andrea Cornell when the series steps in to fill the void left by Nashville when the country music soap takes its hiatus. John Ridley’s American Crime will return at some point, taking a page out of Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story–it’s officially been labeled an anthology series and season 2 will feature “a completely different scenario and a completely different crime, placed in a different part of America.” Also like AHSAC will bring back some cast members from season 1 playing different characters.

Jump after the break to preview ABC’s new fall and midseason series with video clips and descriptions. (Click here for more…)

Upfronts: CBS benches multi-cam sitcoms to clear the way for single-cams & ‘Supergirl’

Posted in Uncategorized by Scott Meisner on May 14th, 2015

CBS is the last of the Big Four Networks to present its upcoming portfolio of new series. Three new dramas and two single-cam comedies are debuting in the fall. Perhaps the most high-profile show of the bunch is Supergirl from Greg Berlanti (the prolific producer behind The CW’s Arrow and The Flash) and starring Glee‘s Melissa Benoist. She stars as Kara Zor-El, Superman’s cousin, and the show plans to follow her journey of “embracing her superhuman abilities and be the hero she was always meant to be.” When the new TV season kicks off in September, The Eye’s Monday nights will consist of The Big Bang Theory, new feel-good single-cam sitcom with a large ensemble cast Life in Pieces, and returning procedurals Scorpion and NCIS: Los AngelesSupergirl will join the second half of that lineup in the plum Mondays-at-8 timeslot in November when TBBT and Life in Pieces move to Thursday. Tuesday is home to flagship NCIS, spinoff NCIS: New Orleans, and the Bradley Cooper-produced Limitless, which is a sequel series to his 2011 sci-fi film about expanding the limits of the mind with the fictional drug NZT. (Cooper features prominently in the pilot, and he will recur on the series.) Survivor kicks of Wednesday nights, followed by Criminal Minds and new medical drama Code Black toplined by Marcia Gay Harden and Luis Guzman–it’s being described as ER on steroids; looks intense. When Thursday Night Football concludes in November, the night’s lineup will look like this: The Big Bang TheoryLife in PiecesMom, new sitcom Angel in Hell starring Glee‘s Jane Lynch with Maggie Lawson (Psych), and Elementary. Fridays pack The Amazing RaceHawaii Five-0, and Blue Bloods. And lastly Sunday screens Madam SecretaryThe Good Wife, and CSI: Cyber.

New series being held for midseason or later include spinoff Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders with Gary Sinise and a TV adaptation of buddy-cop franchise Rush Hour starring Jon Foo as Detective Lee and Justin Hires as Det. Carter. To make room for Supergirl on Mondays and Limitless on Tuesdays, CBS is benching sitcoms 2 Broke GirlsMike & Molly, and The Odd Couple, as well as drama Person of Interest for midseason. It’s been confirmed that POI‘s next season is shortened to 13 episodes; all signs (shorter episode count, dwindling ratings, and the fact that CBS shortened and saved for midseason The Mentalist before ending it) point to this being the fifth and final season for the epic procedural/serial hybrid. CBS also made it official that flagship CSI: Crime Scene Investigation will not be returning for a 16th season; instead, it will wrap up storylines with a two-hour finale airing Sunday, Sept. 27 that will bring back original stars William Petersen and Marg Helgenberger. CSI star Ted Danson is relocating to spinoff CSI: Cyber to play opposite Patricia Arquette, kicking out Cyber‘s Peter MacNicol in the process.

Jump after the break to preview CBS’s new fall and midseason series with video clips and descriptions. (Click here for more…)

Upfronts: The CW keeps its successful status-quo alive, introducing just one new series this fall

Posted in News,Television,Video by Scott Meisner on May 14th, 2015

The CW, CBS’s sister network, unveiled its 2015-16 fall schedule at the Upfronts, too, and you’ll see that very little has changed. The network was quick to mention that The CW is coming off its most-watched season in years, and the crowd applauded its success during awards seasons with Jane the Virgin star Gina Rodriguez winning the Golden Globe for Best Actress. And as the old saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Only one new show will debut in October when The CW kicks off its fall programming slate, a one-hour romantic comedy with musical elements called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. It gets the Mondays-at-8 slot leading into Jane the Virgin. On Tuesdays there’s The Flash with iZombie, Wednesday airs Arrow with CW veteran Supernatural entering its 11th season, executive producer Julie Plec gets her own night a la Shonda Rhimes with The Vampire Diaries and its spinoff The Originals paired on Thursday nights, and period soap Reign moves to Fridays tagged with America’s Next Top Model.

Saved for midseason is another Greg Berlanti superhero series, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (an Arrow/Flash spinoff) and another Julie Plec drama, the apocalyptic Containment. Returning series Beauty and the Beast and The 100 sit on the bench for a future debut.

Jump after the break to preview The CW’s new fall and midseason series with video clips and descriptions. (Click here for more…)

Big Four Networks decide fate of your favorite series in latest renewal/cancellation news (Updates inside)

Posted in News,Television by Scott Meisner on May 11th, 2015

Article originally published on 5/7/15. Continually updated after the break.

It is May, and the Upfronts are right around the corner. Before the networks make official their upcoming slate of fall shows, they must decide the fate of current series.

ABC made waves Thursday evening, announcing a whopping 16 renewals and 3 cancellations. Without further ado, the following series will be making their way back to the Alphabet network next season.

Shonda Rhimes’ “TGIT” lineup remains in tact, as Grey’s Anatomy (season 12), Scandal (s5), and How to Get Away with Murder (s2) will all return for more intense drama. Veteran Castle (s8) and ABC staples Once Upon A Time (s5) and Nashville (s4) are also coming back–no surprise there. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (s3) is here to stay as the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to unfold on TV; also, the TV gods thankfully heard our collective cries to keep Marvel’s Agent Carter on the air which will return for a second season! The low-rated, critically acclaimed American Crime is also getting a sophomore run, as is the surprisingly fun murder mystery series Secrets and Lies.

Over on the comedy side, veteran Modern Family (s7) remains the network’s crown jewel, and other Wednesday night sitcoms The Middle (s7) and The Goldbergs (s3), and black-ish (s2) will follow suit with new seasons next fall. Freshman series Fresh off the Boat and musical Galavant have also been greenlit to return. Though it hasn’t been made official quite yet, Tim Allen sitcom Last Man Standing is expected to make a fifth season. Update (5/10)LMS will return.

Last, the net’s alternative programs that have been renewed include American’s Funniest Home Videos (s26), The Bachelor (s20), Dancing with the Stars (s21), Shark Tank (s7), Beyond the Tank (s2), and newsmagazine 20/20.

Those series not returning include dramas Resurrection and Forever and Friday night sitcom Cristela. While the latter two failed to find broad audiences, the former simply couldn’t manage to sustain its dragged out premise involving dead people coming back to life (good luck, The Returned!). Fans will surely hold onto Resurrection‘s quietly superb 8-episode first season, and thankfully, the season 2 finale happened to bring much closure to the story.

As I teased before, this is just the beginning, people. Hold onto your hats because the Upfronts are coming next week!

Jump after the break for other renewal/cancellation news from the big networks. (Click here for more…)

Jimmy Fallon takes U2 undercover for surprise subway concert

Posted in Music,Television,Video by Scott Meisner on May 10th, 2015

Jimmy Fallon knows how to have fun with New Yorkers. After going undercover in silly disguises, The Tonight Show host and musical guest U2 busked in the 42nd St. subway station. “Guys, give monies to your local artists,” Fallon shouted in the subway. Watch as a small crowd starts to gather as U2 frontman Bono belts out a stripped-down version of the band’s gem “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” When Jimmy and the band ditch their disguises just in time for a performance of “Desire,” New York’s finest make cameos as the growing crowd erupts in total excitement. In case you missed the impromptu concert, see highlights in the video hanging above!

Summer comes to a close when ‘Phineas and Ferb’ airs its finale in June

Posted in News,Television by Scott Meisner on May 10th, 2015

As a grown-up well into his 20s, it is without reservation that I say I’m going to miss the hell out of Disney’s animated musical comedy Phineas and Ferb. The Mickey Mouse company made it official that a mid-June installment of P&F–titled “Last Day of Summer”–will serve as the series finale. After 126 episodes, five one-hour specials, and the fantastic Disney Channel Original Movie Across the 2nd Dimension, the end of an era is upon us.

To celebrate our time spent with the inventive step brothers, Disney XD will air a massive 73-hour marathon showcasing every Phineas and Ferb episode to date, leading up to the super-sized one hour series finale. Mark your calendars: the binge begins Tuesday, June 9 at 8pm, and “Last Day of Summer” airs Friday, June 12 at 9pm on Disney Channel and Disney XD.

There’s 104 days of summer vacation then school comes along just to end it Is it the education system that will help Candace finally catch her siblings in the act and expose their oftentimes dangerous creations to their mom? That’s my theory, anyway. The official logline goes like this:

In the one-hour Phineas and Ferb episode titled “Last Day of Summer,” the summer season is coming to a close and it’s Candace’s last chance to bust her brothers. She is quickly foiled, but is presented with an opportunity to redo the day when she sets off Dr. Doofenshmirtz’s Do-Over-Inator, which results in other consequences like rips in the space-time continuum, the shortening of days and the disappearance of her brothers.

Now that sounds like a good time! No doubt P&F creators Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh are going to bow out on a creatively high note. So what’s next for the talented force behind the ‘toon? In tandem with marking the end for P&F, Disney formally announced Povenmire and Swampy’s next creation, Mikey Murphy’s Law. The new series will follow the fictional great-great-great-great-grandson of the Murphy’s Law namesake. The duo is taking a bunch of P&F contributors with them to their new show including Robert F. Hughes, story editor Scott Peterson, and staff writers Joshua Pruett, Dani Vetere, and Martin Olson. Mikey Murphy’s Law is set to debut on Disney XD in 2017.

“Dan and Swampy are two of the most respected and proven show creators in the animation series business,” said Disney XD exec Marc Buhaj in a statement. “They are incredibly gifted storytellers who have a track record of creating smart, original and relatable characters that are universally appealing to both kids and families.  It’s a coup for Disney XD to continue working with this talented duo on their latest creation ‘Mikey Murphy’s Law.’ We’re looking forward to another great creative partnership.”

It’s true: with Phineas and Ferb they, in fact, imagined Danville’s greatest invention of all–a universal comedy jam-packed with humor for children and grown-ups alike. The slick animation style, the vibrant color palate, the fun voices, the catchy tunes, the diabolical scheming (going to miss you, Doof!) weaved into playfully engaging stories. P&F took the simple idea of two tinkering brothers in their backyard and transformed it into one of the wittiest, smartest, hilarious, and heartfelt comedies of our generation. This all might sound a bit grandiose–it’s a Disney Channel animation sitcom, after all–but if you haven’t watched it before, I dare you to queue it up on Netflix and not get sucked in immediately.

Following the P&F series finale is a stand-alone one-hour special called The O.W.C.A. Files which follows Agent P and his angency animal pals. After that, the future is free of new brotherly adventures unless, of course, that long gestating movie comes to fruition! Fingers crossed.

Ed Helms leads a new generation of Griswalds in ‘Vacation’

Posted in Movies,Video by Scott Meisner on May 10th, 2015

National Lampoon’s classic 1983 comedy Vacation is making a comeback. Instead of a reboot, the new Vacation stars Ed Helms as the now grown up Russell “Rusty” Griswold. In the original, Rusty was played by a young Anthony Michael Hall. Co-starring with Helms is Christina Applegate, who plays his wife, and Leslie Mann has a supporting role. Reprising their roles from the origial Vacation are Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo. The film, written by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein (Horrible Bosses), sees a new generation of Griswolds take a bumpy trip to the Walley World theme park before it closes for good. This red-band trailer is a ton of fun packs some solid laughs. Are you excited for a Vacation set in 2015?

Vacation opens July 29.

Fox reportedly cancels ‘The Mindy Project’–will Hulu be its savior? [Update: Saved!]

Posted in News,Television by Scott Meisner on May 7th, 2015

UPDATE (5/15): Confirmed! Hulu has saved The Mindy Project with a season 4 order consisting of 26 episodes! That’s a lot of episodes–the series debuted with 24 episodes, followed by seasons with 22 and then 21 episodes aired. The streaming service has been the exclusive home to all previously aired Mindy Project episodes, so making this pickup with the show’s producer Universal TV wasn’t that much of a stretch.

“Mindy has been a beloved member of the Hulu family, so this deal is a natural extension of our relationship,” said Craig Erwich, Hulu’s SVP and Head of Content.

The real Mindy Kaling–who plays Dr. Mindy Lahiri in her show–also commented on the exciting news to break today. “I am thrilled The Mindy Project has found a new home on Hulu, where so many of our fans are already watching the show,” she said.

While season 4’s premiere date is still up in the air, you can now rest assured knowing that you’ll get to see Mindy have her baby with Danny by her side; how comforting is that?! Plus, according to Deadline, Hulu has the option to renew The Mindy Project for additional seasons after its original pack of installments debuts. Today is a good day.

PREVIOUS (5/7): Scrolling through my Twitter feed…checking out the Trending Topics… The Mindy Project is cancelled?!

Though Fox has yet to confirm it, reports are swirling that the network has axed the low-rated but universally lauded Mindy Kaling sitcom after three seasons. Though the show certainly went through some growing pains, The Mindy Project rather quickly found its creative groove delivering funny–and sometimes even downright touching–material on a consistent basis. Since the series had trouble holding its ground in the ratings, news of cancellation isn’t that shocking for the perpetually on-the-bubble romp. Still, for loyal fans it’s a really hard pill to swallow. Allow me to quell your ferociously building furor.

Industry sources, such as Deadline, say that the romantically-tinged trials and tribulations of Mindy Lahiri and Danny Castellano will continue even if/when Fox formally pulls the plug. Universal Television, the studio that produces The Mindy Project, is apparently negotiating with Internet streamer Hulu to keep the series alive for at least an additional two more seasons. Hulu already works with Uni TV to stream previous seasons of Kaling’s comedy, so a deal to help manufacture new episodes with the studio isn’t completely farfetched. Fingers crossed; more to come soon, I’m sure.

Click here for other renewal/cancellation news from the big networks.

[Via Deadline]

Vanity Fair scoops inside look at ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ with photos galore

Posted in Image cache,Movies,Print Media by Scott Meisner on May 4th, 2015

Stars Wars has been taking over the Internet lately; from the spectacular teaser trailer for The Force Awakens, to concrete details about the war-themed Rogue One standalone film as well as a fresh look at EA’s Battlefront video game, the hype train for Disney’s lucrative acquisition isn’t slowing down anytime soon.

Just in time to celebrate Star Wars Day–May the Fourth be with you all–Vanity Fair has pushed out its cover for their upcoming June issue and look above to see who’s adorning it: from L-R there’s John Boyega as Stormtrooper Finn, the completely real and not-CGI new droid BB-8, Daisy Ridley as scavenger Rey, Peter Mayhew’s Chewie, and Harrison Ford back as Han Solo. Famed celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz was invited to the Force Awakens‘ set to snap the pic.

For more, head over to Vanity Fair. At the bottom of the page you’ll discover a photo gallery packed with never-before-seen looks at Oscar Isaac’s X-Wing pilot Poe Dameron, Game of Thrones‘ Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma, 12 Years A Slave‘s Lupita Nyong’o as CGI’d character Maz Kanata, Girls‘ Adam Driver as baddie Kylo Ren, and more. The preceding article is also worth a read; in it, director J.J. Abrams teases an Easter Egg death for Jar Jar Binks, and he also reiterates his reliance on practical effects. Also, there’s video following Leibovitz on set!

Want a copy of the Star Wars-themed Vanity Fair to display on your coffee table? The June issue hits newsstands nationwide on Tuesday, May 12. Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theatres December 18.

Microsoft demonstrates powerful educational capabilities with Windows Holographic

Posted in News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on April 30th, 2015

“Imagine a computer that allows you to put your images anywhere and you can interact with things as a combination of the real world and holograms.”

Microsoft’s been hard at work on its physical world meets digital world hologram technology ever since the company unveiled it to much fanfare in January. Windows Holographic, as well as Microsoft’s augmented reality headset that enables it–HoloLens–were on display this week at the company’s developer conference Build 2015. The video embedded above reintroduces the breakthrough technology, and it also peels back the many layers and sensors packed inside.

“We envisioned an all-in-one device this is untethered with built-in batteries, hands-free and floating audio,” says a HoloLens engineer. The hardware is powered by a dedicated Holographic Processing Unit (or HPU) and Windows 10.

Microsoft is collaborating with Case Western Reserve University to advance medical education in incredible ways with Windows Holographic. A professor and student were invited to the stage to demonstrate HoloLens’ real-life capabilities. Harness the headset to visualize three-dimensional representations of the human body. Unlike a solitary cadaver, HoloLens pushes the learning experience further with the ability to instantly separate and focus on separate systems (muscular, skeletal, etc.), as well as parts of the body such as an animated yet lifelike beating heart. Click here to watch the demo.

Using Windows Holographic with Hololens for medical studies is just the beginning. The school is also experimenting with uses across many fields including chemistry and genetics, art, engineering, and paleontology. Additionally, the demo made it clear that HoloLens promotes remote learning, too; if you can’t make it to class, your teacher can see what you see and even view and respond to questions and comments.

Having the ability to plaster Netflix virtually anywhere around you sounds like a neat idea, but the way in which Microsoft’s futuristic foray into holograms will push the medicine, science, and engineering is what should be exciting you most. The possibilities here are truly endless and so exciting.

Elsewhere at Build, Microsoft branded its new web browser for Windows 10. Jump after the break to learn its new name. (Click here for more…)

Apple reports ’15 Q2 results: $58 billion revenue & $13.6 billion net profit

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on April 30th, 2015

On April 27, Apple reported its 2015 second quarter financial results. Apple posted a record quarterly revenue of $58 billion and net profit of $13.6 billion. Compare this to one year ago, that’s up from revenue of $45.6 billion and net profit of $10.2 billion. Says CEO Tim Cook: “We are thrilled by the continued strength of iPhone, Mac and the App Store, which drove our best March quarter results ever. We’re seeing a higher rate of people switching to iPhone than we’ve experienced in previous cycles, and we’re off to an exciting start to the June quarter with the launch of Apple Watch.”

Now let’s break it down by product category. Apple sold a record 61 million iPhones in the quarter (compared to 43.7 million in the year-ago quarter); 12.6 million iPads (compared to 16.4 million); and 4.6 million Macs (compared to 4.1 million). Apple does not specifically disclose sales figures for the iPod and Apple TV. As for the recently released Apple Watch, it’s too early to tell, but you can expect Cook and co. to share numbers in the upcoming third quarter.

Looking ahead to the third fiscal quarter of 2015, Apple CFO Luca Maestri expects revenue between $46 billion and $48 billion.

In related Apple news, Cook confirmed during the earnings conference call that Best Buy stores will (finally) support Apple Pay later this year. Also, if you’re a Discover cardmember, you will be able to get in on the Apple Pay fun this fall.

[Via Apple; Engadget; BusinessWire]

Hideo Kojima/Guillermo del Toro/Norman Reedus ‘Silent Hills’ game is dead

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on April 30th, 2015

It’s with a heavy heart that I must report that Silent Hills, the highly anticipated next chapter in the classic horror video game franchise, is dead.

Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima, filmmaker Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth), and actor Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead) were all set to collaborate on the game that was first announced last summer at Gamescon. The title’s unveiling was a memorable one: Sony announced a mysterious new horror game from unknown developer 7780s Studio called P.T. Gamers would go on to download the “playable teaser” on PS4 and upon completing the haunting demo they’d discover it was actually a conceptual first-look at Silent Hills, a new installment in the long-running franchise from Kojima Productions, with del Toro producing and Reedus starring.

del Toro first broke the unfortunate news at the San Francisco International Film Festival. “It’s not gonna happen and that breaks my greasy heart,” he told a crowd. Reedus would soon comment on it as well. “Super bummed about this was really looking forward to it. Hopefully it’ll come back around. Sorry everyone,” he tweeted.

Kojima, on the other hand, has not shared public remarks on the matter. That’s likely because he and Silent Hill publisher Konami are no longer on good terms following a certain falling out. It’s been reported that Kojima is parting ways with Konami following the release of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. The publisher has stated that it will continue to make MGS titles without the franchise’s coveted creator; this fact, mind you, does not sit well with me. Though there is no direct evidence connecting the demise of Silent Hills with Kojima’s exit from Konami, it’s easy to lay blame here.

Konami confirmed the sour news with this: “Konami is committed to new Silent Hill titles, however the embryonic ‘Silent Hills’ project developed with Guillermo del Toro and featuring the likeness of Norman Reedus will not be continued. In terms of Kojima and Del Toro being involved, discussions on future Silent Hill projects are currently underway, and please stay tuned for further announcements.”

As of April 29, the Silent Hills demo P.T. is no longer available for download on the PlayStation Network. Konami was forced to pull it since its contract period with actor Reedus had expired. Hope you had the right mind to scoop it up while you had the chance. Though it was billed as a demo, it will go down in history as one of my favorite games. Stunning graphics, intense puzzles, and effective scare tactics make it one to remember. A damn shame that’s all we’re going to get.

[Via BloodyDisgusting; Eurogamer]

Look out for mysterious ‘Wayward Pines’ and the return of ‘Halt And Catch Fire’ in May

Posted in Image cache,News,Television by Scott Meisner on April 30th, 2015

Welcome to May, the month typically associated with punchy TV season and series finales. While you’re dealing with anticipatory cliffhangers and dramatic conclusions, there are two shows coming on the air this month you shouldn’t let go under your radar.

Wayward Pines is a fresh Fox series created by Chad Hodge (The Playboy Club) and executive produced by filmmaker M. Knight Shyamalan (The Sixth SenseUnbreakableSigns), based on the novel Pines by Blake Crouch. It’s a gripping, suspenseful mystery with a promised twist coming before the end of the 10-episode run, straight out of Shyamalan’s toolbox.

[The series] follows Secret Service agent Ethan Burke who, while investigating the disappearance of two fellow agents, finds himself trapped in the titular town, a Stepford village of the damned in which no one is allowed to leave. The citizens live in abject terror of the mysterious people in charge who run things via random phone calls, which seem to usually involve orders to commit terrible acts upon pain of death.

Matt Dillon (Crash) stars as Burke and Empire‘s Terrence Howard–who is pulling double duty for Fox here–plays the town sheriff. Check out the rest of this all-star cast: Melissa Leo (The Fighter), Toby Jones (Infamous), Carla Gugino (Entourage), Shannyn Sossamon (How To Make It In America), , Reed Diamond (24), Tim Griffin (Prime Suspect), Charlie Tahan (Charlie St. Cloud) and and Juliette Lewis (who currently stars in ABC’s Secrets & Lies).

The mystery begins to unravel when Wayward Pines premieres Thursday, May 14 at 9pm on Fox. Preview the series at YouTube.

Jump after the break to learn when AMC’s technologically infused drama Halt And Catch Fire returns for its second season. (Click here for more…)

Bidding ‘Revenge’ farewell as showrunner confirms fourth season is ABC drama’s last

Posted in News,Television by Scott Meisner on April 30th, 2015

Emily Thorne’s “Revengenda” is coming to an end. On Wednesday, showrunner and executive producer Sunil Nayar confirmed to Entertainment Weekly that the upcoming fourth season finale of ABC’s Revenge will effectively serve as the series finale.

“We can officially tell our fans that this will be the end of the story,” Nayar told EW. “We’ve been talking to the network and we all just wanted to make sure that we felt very confident. Now that everybody has seen the finale—which is fabulous—everybody understands that as much as we all adore the show, it has hit exactly the mark it needed to to end. This is the series finale of Revenge that will be airing in a couple weeks.”

Though technically speaking this is a series cancellation on the network’s part (Nayer has previously publicly stated that he had ideas to keep the show going for additional seasons), it surely doesn’t feel like one. In fact, this axing (or dare I say, red sharpie takedown) is very much in the same vein as what Fox did with Prison Break in 2009. Revenge has simply reached its conclusion, properly exhausting itself creatively over a solid amount of time. Though four seasons doesn’t sound very long (Lost, for example, bowed out after six seasons), Revenge set out to tell a tale that naturally could only sustain itself for a limited run.

–Spoilers start here–

From the start, it was protagonist Emily Thorne’s hell-bent mission to make the Grayson family pay for wrongfully accusing her father of being a terrorist. Today, three of the four Graysons are dead (most recently co-star Madeline Stowe–Victoria, Queen of the Hamptons–offed herself) and Emily’s father David Clarke (surprise!) is alive and his name has been cleared. Though the showrunner had plans to keep things chugging along, it’s simply hard to imagine Emily’s scheming to continue without Victoria, the proverbial thorn in her side. And on top of all this, Emily is no longer Emily; this season she formally came out as Amanda Clarke.

So what’s on the water-logged horizon for our favorite Hamptonites? The series is coming full circle now that Emily has been framed for a murder she did not commit (carried out from the grave by Victoria, no less!). Other dangling threads: David Clarke is undergoing cancer treatment, and then, of course, there’s Jack. Will the two lovebirds finally connect romantically and make it last? This is something I’ve been waiting for ever since that incredibly emotional and memorable scene between Emily and Jack on the pier in season one, where Jack proclaimed his feelings for her: “I feel like this feeling comes along once or twice in a lifetime, if we’re very lucky…” That one. If you take the final episode’s title into consideration, your inner-shipper might start to falter.

–Spoilers end here–

The series finale is titled “Two Graves” (airing May 10), and if can harken back to the pilot for a minute, you’ll remember that it opened with this Confucius quote: “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.” After everything that she’s accomplished, will Emily meet her maker in the end?

“There are epic emotional moments in the finale,” says Nayar. “There are really shocking things that happen in the finale. It’s a tricky thing because the fans are such passionate lovers of the show and we really want to give them what they want, but the hard part about a finale in a show like this is you want to give them some of what they want, some of what they don’t know they want yet and some of what they never expected, and it needs to be a perfect mix of all those things. I truly believe our finale is the perfect mix of all those three things. I think they’re going to be extremely satisfied.”

Fans should know that Nayer and his creative team put the season four closer together not being fully aware that it would eventually serve as the series ender. And so a cliffhanger remains, despite promised closure. Nayer elaborates: “There’s a tiny little cliffhanger in the series finale. We don’t want people to get weary of the stories we’re telling, so we felt like they deserve an ending to this novel that Mike Kelley started four years ago. I really feel like the last couple chapters are worthy of the first many.”

So we bid farewell to the conniving Graysons, the two-faced Emily Thorne, her soul mate Jack Porter, and let’s not forget the one and only Nolan Ross. Over the course of four seasons, Revenge took its loyal fanbase on a thrilling, emotionally charged ride. After an audacious start, the show rode creative highs (red sharpie take down episodes!) and lows (read: The Convoluted Initiative). In the end, though, there’s no denying all of that addicting dialogue and its soapy, twisty, sexy, flair for the dramatic.

M. Night Shyamalan goes “found-footage” for latest supernatural horror pic ‘The Visit’

Posted in Movies,Video by Scott Meisner on April 30th, 2015

What happens when director M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth SenseUnbreakableSignsThe VillageLady in the Water) teams up with producer Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity, Insidious, SinisterThe Purge)?

The Visit, that’s what. Shyamalan’s next original supernatural film goes a little something like this:

Shyamalan returns to his roots with the terrifying story of a brother and sister who are sent to their grandparents’ remote Pennsylvania farm for a weeklong trip. Once the children discover that the elderly couple is involved in something deeply disturbing, they see their chances of getting back home are growing smaller every day.

Let’s just say these aren’t your typical grandparents–unless your Grandma and Grandpa are seemingly possessed by otherworldly, decidedly demonic creatures.

With The Visit, Shyamalan is embracing Blum’s tried-and-true “found footage” shooting technique; Paranormal Activity and its many sequels have proven that even dirt-cheap horror flicks can be thrilling and quite lucrative. Though the acclaimed director has shot some duds as of late (read: The HappeningAfter Earth), this inevitable collaboration between Shyamalan and Blum is just tantalizing enough to warrant a look-see. Shyamalan is known for his twist endings that turn all of the events proceeding it on its head, and I can only imagine what he’s cooked up in Blumhouse Productions’ latest.

The Visit opens September 11.