Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Vacation Update: Off to New Orleans!

I know what you're thinking -- that guy is taking ANOTHER vacation? Sure these last two trips were a bit too close together. But I could not miss the chance to see Pearl Jam in yet another state -- this time Louisiana! You know I'll have a full report.

So I'm taking a break from blogging and tweeting. But check back mid-week next week for the return of all the regular features -- and next month, a NEW contest!

Monday, April 26, 2010

MusicMonday: Jazz Fest, Contest Update, Free Downloads

New Orleans Jazz Fest and Contest Updates

Just a quick update to let you know that I'm heading to New Orleans on Wednesday to enjoy the second long weekend of Jazz Fest! It will be my first trip to the Big Easy -- a town I've been wanting to visit for quite some time. And I've been longing to attend the annual Jazz Fest for many years as well. So what finally got me to go? Well, Pearl Jam of course! They're this weekend's headliner -- yes, Jazz Fest actually includes many genres of music -- not just jazz.

Click the image above for a full list of this year's acts. And check back here soon for a recap of my trip. Want an added incentive to check back? Well, you've all been really patient -- so I guess it's time I tease you a bit on the next EntertainmentBlogger contest. It's music-related. And it will launch in a May MusicMonday column. So stay tuned!

Free Downloads

Here are this week's free offerings:
  • Back in their earliest days, Coldplay were given a big helping hand by UK indie label Fierce Panda. The label's latest release is Wolves And Thieves, the debut album by folk-rockers Goldheart Assembly. Click here for a free download of a track from the album.
  • Have you been keeping up with Smashing Pumpkins' free music? They are now up to their fourth free release in their huge rollout -- "Astral Planes;" click here to download it and the previously-released tracks.
  • The BoomBox offers an ongoing list of free mp3s -- check it out here.

And don't forget to continually check the following sources for more free downloads -- new songs covering all genres are added frequently. Just click on the links below and enjoy some new tunes.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Top 10 at the Weekend Box Office

  • Click on the chart to enlarge.
  • After two consecutive weekends of "too-close-to-call" results, we have a clear box office champ. In its fifth week, How to Train Your Dragon has reclaimed the #1 spot. The animated film continued to breathe fire at the cinemas, beating all newcomers -- including The Back-up Plan and Losers -- with a $15 million take.
  • It was a slow weekend at the box office -- which was down close to 20% compared to last year at this time, when the Beyonce Knowles-starrer Obsessed bowed to $28 million.
  • Reviews of Oceans and older movies not in the top ten can be found by clicking on the Film Reviews archive icon at left.
  • All figures are industry estimates. Actual figures are released on Monday.
  • Sources: Nielsen EDI,, AP

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Movie Reviews: Two Visually Impressive Documentaries

What better way to celebrate Earth Day than with a couple of stunning documentaries from different perspectives -- one from the greatest depths of our oceans -- and one from the far reaches of space.


Nearly three-quarters of the Earth is covered by water -- so it was no small task that this film features underwater scenes from all over the globe. The cast is an awesome mix of familiar sea life -- and wonderful beings that possibly have never been filmed before. The awe-inspiring imagery takes center stage -- with a surprisingly lighter than expected environmental message woven into tales of nature.

The new French-American documentary film by Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud is distributed in the United States by Disneynature – and narrated by Pierce Brosnan. In true Disney fashion, we can't escape the obligatory scenes of death -- but hey, that's nature for you. It just seemed like those killer scenes were a bit too heavily weighted. But overall, a spectacular visual experience. [Rated G; opens today]

Grade: B+

Hubble 3D

On my trip earlier this month to the Kennedy Space Center, I was lucky enough to see this fascinating 3D documentary – where you actually feel like you’re in the middle of the action. With our planet as a backdrop, you’re catapulted to faraway galaxies -- right beside our space shuttle astronauts.

The 3D is top-notch – at times the space-walking astronauts appear right in front of you as they take on the daunting task of repairing the ill-functioning Hubble telescope. Along the way, you’ll see mind-blowing images like you've never seen before -- and you’ll also learn the incredible true story of how early disappointments were turned into high-reaching triumphs thanks to the bravery of a special team of men and women.

My only complaint is that narrator Leonardo DiCaprio is a bit monotone -- so grab that giant caffeine drink at the concession stand before you take your seat -- and enjoy this journey produced and directed by Toni Myers. [Rated G; in select IMAX theaters now]

Grade: A-

  • An alphabetical archive of other film reviews can be found by clicking on the icon in the left menu.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Top 10 at the Weekend Box Office

  • Click on the chart to enlarge.
  • For the second weekend in a row, the race for the #1 slot was a close one. DreamWorks Animation's How to Train Your Dragon is claiming the top spot with an estimated $20 million, while Kick-Ass distributor Lionsgate reported its movie debuted at $19.75 million. With just $250,000 separating them, either movie could end up at #1 when studios release final weekend numbers tomorrow. 4/19 update: The top movies at the weekend box office have flip-flopped again, with the superhero comedy "Kick-Ass" edging out the animated adventure "How to Train Your Dragon." Final studio numbers Monday have Lionsgate's "Kick-Ass" at #1 with $19.8 million. DreamWorks Animation's "How to Train Your Dragon," distributed by Paramount, ran a close #2 with $19.6 million.
  • Meanwhile, thanks to big openings in Latin America and Italy, Clash of the Titans maintained its #1 box office position on the foreign theatrical circuit for a third straight weekend, grossing $53.6 million from some 10,400 screens in 57 markets.
  • Reviews of older movies not in the top ten can be found by clicking on the Film Reviews archive icon at left.
  • Sources: Nielsen EDI,, The Hollywood Reporter, AP

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Top 10 at the Weekend Box Office

  • Click on the chart to enlarge.
  • The race for the #1 slot this weekend was a close one, but Date Night is claiming victory with an estimated $27.1 million gross over Clash of the Titans' $26.9 million take -- although that could all change by tomorrow morning when the true numbers are reported (all figures are industry estimates; actual figures are released on Monday). 4/12 Box Office Update: In final weekend tally, "Clash of the Titans" ($26.6M) beats "Date Night" ($25.2M) - reversing order from early estimates
  • No matter what the final tally is, Date Night marks a new personal box office opening weekend record for Tina Fey.
  • Reviews of older movies not in the top ten can be found by clicking on the Film Reviews archive icon at left.
  • Sources: Nielsen EDI,, AP

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Vacation Time!

Taking a break from blogging and tweeting -- as I am finally getting some much-needed vacation time!

Check back on Sunday, April 11 for the return of all the regular features -- and later this month, a NEW contest!