Wednesday, March 25, 2009

TV Converter Box Coupon Program

I figure if you are savvy enough to have internet access, you are probably already set for the digital tv conversion now rescheduled for June 12. But it would be irresponsible of me not to bring to your attention that the government's converter box coupon offer is back. Take this opportunity to check in with an elderly family member or friend to see if they are prepared. For more details, click the link below. And no more procrastinating!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Free Movie Passes

If you're like me and live in a major U.S. metropolitan area, you have plenty of opportunity to see advance screenings of movies. Here is a list of several key sources to obtain passes:

Film Metro

Before a movie is released to the general public, many times the movie studio will offer advance screenings for research and promotional purposes. Film Metro is dedicated to providing information and free movie tickets to these advance screenings. The site currently offers tickets to sneak previews in 36 U.S. markets.


Gofobo is a new and exciting online experience designed to help you see movies first. To get started, enter your zip code at the site to check if there are any screenings in your area. You will usually need an RSVP code to obtain a pass -- these codes are distributed by your local radio stations, newspapers or other participating establisments.

Entertainment Weekly

Although the publication does not offer as many screening passes as it did in the past, there is currently an offer on its website.
[4/22 update: offer ended; look out for new offers]


EDGE is the largest network of local Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) news and entertainment portals in the world, serving a quarter of a million dedicated readers from a variety of U.S. metropolitan areas. Edge offers sweepstakes not only for movie passes, but a lot of other entertainment items including DVDs, CDs and books. Below are the links for current markets -- just scroll down to the bottom of the particular home page to the 'Hot Giveaways' section.
*** Warning: Edge portals contain adult content. ***

Movie Studios

If you're really interested in a particular movie and have not found any passes for it, do an online search for the movie's website and/or the studio's website. Some studios offer passes directly via their sites. For example, passes for upcoming Miramax movies can be found here:

[4/22 update: link now disabled; look out for new link]

Final Notes

No matter where you live in the U.S., check for print ads about upcoming local screenings in your daily and weekly newspapers.

Websites for your local radio and television stations may also be a source for movie passes.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Are Your Favorite TV Shows on the Renewal Bubble?

Spring is in the air -- well by tomorrow anyway -- and television's annual rite of passage has the networks planning their fall schedules. To make room for new shows, some of your favorites may not live to see another season. With ad revenue down due to the shaky economy, some of the more expensive shows may be axed in cost-saving measures. Look for most of the cuts to occur at NBC, where room has to be made for Jay Leno's move into prime time.

In its March 23-29 issue, TV Guide reports the following shows are most in jeopardy:

  • Samantha Who? - update: officially cancelled
  • Cold Case - update: renewed for 7th season; moved to 10pm E/P
  • Eleventh Hour - update: cancelled
  • Gary Unmarried - update: renewed
  • Rules of Engagement - update: renewed
  • The Unit - update: cancelled
  • Without a Trace - update: cancelled
  • Worst Week - update: cancelled

The CW

  • Everybody Hates Chris -update: cancelled
  • The Game - update: cancelled
  • Privileged - update: cancelled
  • Reaper -update: cancelled


  • Dollhouse - update: renewed for 13-episode second season
  • Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles - update: cancelled
  • Chuck - update: renewed for 13-episode third season
  • Friday Night Lights - update: renewed for two seasons; 13 eps each
  • Kath & Kim - update: cancelled
  • Knight Rider - update: cancelled
  • Law & Order - update: renewed for 16-episode 20th season
  • Life - update: cancelled
  • Medium - update: cancelled, but picked up by CBS and moved to Friday
  • My Name is Earl - update: cancelled, but may be picked up by ABC or FOX

Stay tuned! The fall schedules are announced by the networks in May. Update: Here is a link of a great cheat sheet from Entertainment Weekly for all renewals/cancellations: click here

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

March Movie Reviews

Here are some mini reviews of advance screenings I've seen this month. They will be released nation-wide over the next week or two.

I Love You, Man

Not your regular raunchy adult comedy -- this one is less raunchy -- and a lot smarter and funnier thanks to the comedic talents and great chemistry of its two stars, Paul Rudd and Jason Segel. Call it a bromance, call it a buddy pic -- either way it's fun.

Grade: B+


Nicolas Cage stars a professor who works to find the meaning of a 50-year-old mystery surrounding a long list of numbers. But what happens when the numbers run out? Don't waste your time waiting for that answer. The movie doesn't know if it wants to be a serious drama, an action adventure, a horror flick or a sci-fi pic -- and ends up failing at all. Only two intense, FX-laden accident scenes may buffer your price of admission.

Grade: C

Monsters vs. Aliens

The latest in 3D animation is brought to life with the voices of Reese Witherspoon and Hugh Laurie as two of a handful of monsters assigned by our government to fight against evil aliens. But it's Seth Rogen as the friendly, clueless monster B.O.B. who steals the show. The story is not as compelling as some recent animated gems -- but the 3D is top-notch.

Grade: B

Sunshine Cleaning

More sunshine from the producers of Little Miss Sunshine -- with the return of Academy Award winning actor Alan Arkin as another family patriarch. This time he has two down-on-their-luck daughters (Amy Adams and Emily Blunt) who launch a special cleaning service -- one that tidies things up after not too pretty incidents. Part comedy/part drama -- the expert cast pulls off all the nuances quite well.

Grade: B+