Friday, January 30, 2009

Film Intuition News: Feeds, Widgets, Partnerships -- Don't Miss a Thing!

As Film Intuition continues to grow with great new content added and updated throughout the week, it can be hard to keep track of.

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Now Film Intuition is overflowing with information in both the site as well as 4 different databases from our increasingly popular Review Database (the birthplace of the 2 and 1/2 year old site), to our Trailer and Photo Gallery where new material is added either with brand new hot trailers or great new clips, pics, and featurettes are attached to old posts on a regular basis, our Video Screening Room that now offers a wide range of clips from Movies to TV shows to Music Videos, as well as a wide-variety of additions in Jen's P.O.V. Page which continues to update readers with reviews and news about Upcoming DVD Releases, CDs, MP3s, Soundtracks, TV Shows, Online Games and more.

While E-mail Subscribers using FeedBlitz for the various databases are aware of the convenience of receiving everything in their inbox, to make it easier and taking a cue from some larger sites, we've joined forces with FeedBurner so you can add Feeds from all 4 Databases to your reader of choice (My Yahoo, your home page, etc.).

Check out the Feeds below for subscription or addition and also, for your convenience, explore our new animated widgets in action which you can add to your own pages in support of the site.

Film Intuition Feeds

Jen's P.O.V.
(Music, TV, Game, Misc. Reviews)

Review Database

The Trailer and Photo Gallery

Video Screening Room

Film Intuition Widgets
(Add to Your Site, MySpace, Facebook Page, Etc.)

Film Intuition: Review Database

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Thank you again for your support-- your loyalty and readership is paramount in the success of Film Intuition as well as keeping it running. And additionally the industry is taking note as now I'm able to offer you guys exclusive photos, trailers, Blu-ray and DVD reviews, Contests, and unique coverage from a wide variety of sources as well as cool interactive video players to help you guys choose the type of content you'd like to see from news to trailers and more.

Please remember that there's a wide variety of ways to help show your support of the site from not only subscribing and/or adding feeds or widgets but using the "Share," "Bookmark," "E-mail to a Friend," "Digg" and other options to help spread the word, linking to the page (although please remember that it is copyrighted and reprinting an entire feed (no matter how noble your intentions) is in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, as well as thanking the advertisers who've been with the site from the beginning by purchasing directly through them, or donating anonymously through PayPal (see below).

Recently, we've also given you the option to avoid long-lines and ensure a seat for the hottest new releases by partnering with Fandago to order your tickets online.

Additionally, it just got much easier to help out, thanks to iGive.

In this rough economy, budgets have sent entertainment sales plummeting but you're able to still help keep this independent site operating by registering with simply your name and e-mail address (which you can keep anonymous) with iGive, selecting "Film Intuition" as your cause and-- even if you're not interested in shopping at their more than 700 stores-- you can download the iSearchiGive toolbar powered by Yahoo which donates two cents every single time you make a valid search on the web (i.e. no searching for "yahoo" or "MySpace" etc.).

In addition, in the near future I'm going to be turning to you with more polls and surveys to find out just what kind of coverage matters most to you as we begin making strides to continue improving the site with each successive month specifically with our readers in mind. Thanks for stopping by, I value your feedback and we hope you'll continue to look to Film Intuition for more in-depth cinematic and artistic coverage and with your help make 2009 even more successful than our landmark 2008 in terms of coverage, access, and stats.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Online Game News: Burn Notice -- Covert Ops 2.0

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Following up the successful Covert Ops 1.0, USA Network and Burn Notice are launching a second online game, once again developed as the press release reveals, "in conjunction with the show’s creator Matt Nix."

Reuniting the game with GM’s Saab USA-- with Burn Notice Covert Ops 2.0-- the number one scripted show on basic cable is pleased to kick off the "second installment of the most successful online game in the channel’s history."

Enabling players to get more involved with the world of Burn Notice by turning users into covert spies and challenging them to conduct surveillance-- players can pretend to be Michael Westen-- as they "clone a phone and plant evidence, all while behind the wheel of a Saab 9-3 Convertible." Additional elements of Covert Ops 2.0 will also consist of "video spy tips, full episodes, behind the scenes and more."

And while I can't promise you'll look as handsome in a suit as lead actor Jeffrey Donovan, have a funnier sidekick than Bruce Campbell or a beautifully seductive ally like Gabrielle Anwar, any chance in this economy to test out a free Saab (even a virtual one) sounds like a great deal to me.

As the press release continues, Covert Ops 2.0 will not only contain the adrenaline-fueled adventure of the original game but also includes seven new video-based missions featuring the recurring Burn Notice character Seymour (Silas Weir Mitchell). And in doing so, each week-- following an all-new episode of the series on the USA Network-- "users will be able to go online to take part in a new daring mission and help Seymour retrieve a valuable microchip."

Adding an incentive to the game which was also created in conjunction with the L.A. based Omelet firm specializing in advertising and entertainment, "the players who complete all seven missions are eligible to win a deluxe home entertainment system."

Get Caught Up

Relive the Pilot:
Amazon Video on Demand

Contests/Giveaway: Win The Lucky Ones on DVD from Lionsgate Home Entertainment!

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DVD Synopsis
(From MovieWeb)

"A timely drama about life in America today, Lionsgate's The Lucky Ones stars Rachel McAdams, Tim Robbins and Michael Pena as three soldiers on leave trying to make sense of their lives during an unexpected road trip across the United States.

A humorous, moving portrayal about the challenges of coming home,
The Lucky Ones is directed by Neil Burger (The Illusionist) from a script by Burger and Dirk Wittenborn.

After suffering an injury during a routine patrol, hardened sergeant TK Poole (Michael Pena) is granted a one-month leave to visit his fiancé. But when an unexpected blackout cancels all flights out of New York, TK agrees to share a ride to Pittsburgh with two similarly stranded servicemen: Cheever (Tim Robbins), an older family man who longs to return to his wife in St. Louis, and Colee (Rachel McAdams), a naive private who's pinned her hopes on connecting with a dead fellow soldier's family.

What begins as a short trip unexpectedly evolves into a longer journey. Forced to grapple with old relationships, broken hopes and a country divided over the war, TK, Cheever and Colee discover that home is not quite what they remembered, and that the unlikely companionship they've found might be what matters the most."

Contest Details:

Open to All Readers With Ability to Play Region 1 DVDs. Entries Must Be Received by Midnight EST on 2/13/09. Film Intuition Respects Your Privacy and Will Not Share Any Information With Third Parties. 2 Winners Will Be Notified Via E-mail on 2/14/09. Additionally, entry forms without a mailing address and/or with a blank or incorrect trivia answer will be disqualified.

Trivia Question:

Rachel McAdams received her big break with her turn as the wicked Queen Bee in the hilarious Mean Girls. Although the screenplay was written by 30 Rock's Tina Fey, it was originally based on a book. What was the name of the book and the author of the work upon which Fey drew her inspiration for Mean Girls?

And don't forget to check out and enter our other current giveaways and contests exclusively available on Film Intuition.

Want to see more contests? Help Support Film Intuition for free by registering for iGive and downloading Yahoo's fast, free, and easy to use iGiveiSearch Toolbar
that donates pennies to the site every time you search the web.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

TV News: Ovation TV Presents the World Premiere Original Special "Brilliant Green" on January 30 @ 8p.m. ET/PT

Rounding out their week-long programming event
"Everything is Art," which included both
Adventures in Architecture
and Designer People,
Ovation TV debuts the extraordinary
Brilliant Green.

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"Creativeness comes out of solving a problem in an intelligent way," architect Ray Kappe announces in Brilliant Green while responding not only to the demanding challenge to lessen our carbon footprint in our effort to become a more environmentally responsible and eco-friendly society but also in a way that seems to tie in directly with Ovation TV's ultimate goal to "Make Like Creative."

Sponsored by Subaru, the hour long special introduces viewers to innovative technology, new approaches, and imaginative thinking employed by professionals and designers at Patagonia, Subaru, LivingHomes, along with focusing on the individual efforts of designers and artists like Chris Jordan, Joel Tauber, and Amanda Shi (Avita).

By featuring surprising and staggering statistics that reveal our extraordinary global waste, we discover the horrific impact of consumerism that goes into excess of everything including the 30,000 breast augmentations completed per month, 2,000,000 plastic bottles that are used every five minutes, 11,000 flights which take off every eight hours, and 1,140,000 paper bags used every single hour. And while these revelations are terrifying to say the least, we learn inspiring ways in which the individuals and corporations highlighted are trying to help.

From fashion label Patagonia's decision to take full responsibility for their products that they want back in order to recycle when the consumer is finished to Subaru's goal to create O% landfill waste via several proactive solutions, overall all included repeatedly inspire and state that it's their ethical responsibility as artists to work together whether in the fashion industry or architectural design to help get the message out about this eco-movement and make big changes to reverse the astounding damage that's already been done.

The special will premiere on January 30 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT and below, you can see three segments from Brilliant Green.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

DVD Release Announcement: The Invaders -- The Second Season (1968)

On DVD for the Very First Time:

CBS DVD and Paramount Home Entertainment Proudly
Unearth the Second and Final Season of ABC's 1967-68 Series,
The Invaders

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Containing All 26 Final Episodes Gorgeously Packaged in a Box Set filled with 7 DVDs-- we catch up with architect David Vincent (Roy Thinnes) who, after witnessing the landing of an alien spaceship, travels across the United States to warns a disbelieving public to leave their skepticism at the door as The Invaders have arrived.

Approximately 1,336 minutes and also available as a complete set with the first season, this January 27, 2009 release contains brand-new episodic introductions by Roy Thinnes, Alan Armer's episode commentary on "The Peacemaker," and an interview with Thinnes on creator Larry Cohen's popular science fiction series.

Fan-Made DVD Promotional Trailer

Vintage ABC Promos for Season 1

Much like the recent exceptional release of Star Trek Season 3 in an exquisite remastered collector's set (along with the previous releases) and the huge complete series collection of The 4400, once again CBS DVD and Paramount Home Entertainment help science fiction and TV junkies get their fix of excellent television in a world where it's in too short of supply.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Music Review: Canadian Invasion -- Three Cheers for the Invisible Hand

Spinning into CD Players & Shuffling Digitally on

The CD

The MP3

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Angering parents everywhere and getting his apparel and related merchandise banned from school, in the early ‘90s Bart Simpson proudly proclaimed that he was “an underachiever and proud of it.” When it comes to the band Canadian Invasion, musically the group overachieves with gorgeous Britpop-inspired melodies from The Doves and Oasis, old-fashioned Velvet Underground-like harmonies, the alt-country sound of Wilco, along with hooks that recall The Shins and Snow Patrol.

However, lyrically and in contradiction to the deceptively beautiful vocalization of lead singer Andy Canadian, the band seems to aim directly for the underachieving suburban Bart Simpsons in all of us. As though leveling a tuneful joust, the very American band — right out of Philadelphia (yes, Fresh Prince of Bel Air’s hometown, not Quebec or Montreal as one would assume) — does grant that the name is a bit silly. Andy Canadian proudly insists it was theirs “even before the South Park movie," and nonetheless it’s since “really encapsulated what the band is about” as he explained in the press release.

Dishing up eleven tracks intended as “a satirical assault on American ‘values’,” Canadian continues by explaining that the group refers to themselves as “America’s last line of defense against the evil Canadian socialist empire’s pernicious ideology of cheap health care and gun control.” This concept seems to be the focal point of their upcoming February 17 release from the Transit of Venus label, Three Cheers For the Invisible Hand, as Canadian, along with bassist Jim Foley, drummer George Groves, lead guitarist Eric Miller, and guitarist and backing vocalist Chris Morita relish in the delightful absurdity of American suburbia and hum-drum lives.

Songs about time-suckage and endless drinking kick off the album in the spirited tongue-in-cheek opener ”Pop Magic Fantastical Masterpiece,” as they open with a sound that recalls The Lemonheads’ “Into Your Arms,” before the lyrics move away from that radio favorite to Invasion’s choice of “I raise my empty glass and waste a bit more time.”

Pouring out intricately laced character studies of people who fall asleep in tanning beds and a best friend who “lost her heart to a dinosaur who wakes up every morning on the kitchen floor,” the group elates in lulling us into submission with sweet sounding melodies that only upon a second or third close listen do we realize seem far more sinister than we'd assumed.

After only a few tracks passively digested in the car, the mischievous group seemed like the type of band you’d hire for a rich kid’s birthday party… until you get wind of what they’re actually saying, that is, as their primary goal is articulating the emptiness of suburban life as Canadian feels that they’re essentially “a non-place, negatively defined as not-the-city and not-the country.”

With “characters… [that] float listlessly through a world they don’t feel part of, grasping at anything around them that might give them an identity,” Canadian Invasion draws heavily from Sartre and Camus styled existentialist absurdity and also reminds me of the same dissociative depersonalization disorder used in the recent comedic indie film, Numb.

Aspiring more to become the musical version of filmmaker David Lynch (Blue Velvet, Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive) or dark short story author Raymond Carver (whose work was used as the basis of Robert Altman’s Short Cuts), Canadian’s press notes continue that the group’s songs — especially the album’s title track — work as “a commentary” on the “’invisible hand’ of progress and equilibrium,” that has resulted in individuals’ “desperate, ghost-like existences, [and] ones they feel incapable of changing.”

Having earned quite a following around the East Coast, which they tour incessantly, Canadian Invasion has found like-minded colleagues, playing alongside such musical icons as David Bowie and Lou Reed. And once one hears the album’s third track complete with the security-alert title “Standing On the Shoulders of the Carcass of John Mayer” as they update the central premise of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” of shooting a man in Reno "just to watch him die,” by singing about murdering “John” who cut in line at the grocery store yet in doing so he still “doesn’t feel like an asshole” thanks to his interest in Hegel and Nietzsche, you realize they’re right at home in the world of Bowie and Reed.

Slightly pretentious and hard to fall for lyrically, it’s nonetheless comprised of some truly awe-inspiringly rich arrangements, instantly catchy ditties, and unexpectedly filled with beauty such as the incredible Beatles-esque “But You’re God (And I’m Me,”) and Doves-like “My Swashbuckling Days Are Over.”

And while it’s extremely clever to try and counter that with ugly lyrics so that it’s a bit dissonant, maybe the remedy would’ve been a bit less Hegel and Nietzsche and a bit more Lynch to surprise us with humor and intrigue since just pairing up the lyrics with the great hooks and catchy tracks isn’t enough after you start really paying attention to the words.

The negativity and downright gloominess of the lyrics about underachievers who mostly kill time, trying to find alcohol or — going for the twang in a Wilco-styled alt-country track “Neighbors” — as they lament an “empty whiskey bottle” or in the equally bleak yet contradictorily beautiful sounding “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow” “crashing your party/refusing to leave” is sure to earn them fans among the college set. But by not offering humor or going for the fully absurd (a la Ben Folds, Ben Kweller, or Beck), mostly it’s a downer dressed up as a pop record.

Despite this, the sheer musicality of the tracks are gorgeously addictive with Britpop anthem-like builds as in the first two tracks, excellent employment of the guitar (on “…John Mayer”) and interesting usages of a Rhodes piano (“How to Build a Jetpack”), an appropriate organ for “The Last Time I Went to Church,” and a wonderful alt-slow dance tune “But You’re God (And I’m Me)” that’s an album standout, utilizing the trumpet, flugelhorn, and saxophone.

And overall, I prefer the group’s undeniably talented, over-achieving musical side that earned it countless plays in my car stereo but ultimately, the more I listened to it, the more I realized that I could definitely pass on some of the album’s more incessant attempts to depress with musical finger-pointing at the meaninglessness of this American life.

As in the end, other over-achievers like Lou Reed, The Velvet Underground, David Bowie, Ben Folds, Belle and Sebastian, Beck, Radiohead, Wilco, and many others have managed to wax about absurdity with a bit humor, joy, and celebration in their yarns about under achievers rather than just fixating on characters (i.e. American suburbanites) who “don’t feel like an asshole” when every other word, phrase, or chorus confirms precisely the opposite. And although unfortunately, nobody — aside from the band — gets to be in on the joke, before the punchlines all begin to blur together, it’s fitting background music with which to raise an “empty glass” or “empty whiskey bottle” and “waste a bit more time.”

Track List:

1. Pop Magic Fantastical Masterpiece

2. My Swashbuckling Days Are Over

3. Standing on the Shoulders of the Carcass of John Mayer

4. Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow

5. How to Build a Jetpack

6. One Hand Claps the Other

7. The Last Time I Went to Church

8. But You’re God (And I’m Me)

9. Three Cheers for the Invisible Hand

10. Juvenilia

11. Neighbors

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Music DVD Review: En Vogue -- Live in the USA

Since En Vogue was originally formed to recapture the spirit and sound of successful girl groups from the ‘60s such as The Supremes, it’s only fitting — amid the 2002 performance at Alabama State Fairgrounds in Birmingham that's captured on Live in the USA — that the women decide to “pay tribute to the divas that paved the way” for them.

As illustrated on this DVD, which was released on January 20, the group's deference extends to perfectionism, even after a lengthy history that has endured a revolving door of member shakeups, label changes, and popularity fluctuations.

Such is evident even before the performance itself, as in rehearsal footage that finds veteran members Cindy Herron-Braggs and Terry Ellis along with then new (and now former) member Amanda Cole braving a chilly December morning (while battling jet lag following a long trip from Los Angeles) as they prepare to dazzle audiences.

They discover that the biggest rehearsal space would be in the locker room shower of the stadium, the ladies of En Vogue remaining in their sweaters and hats, trying to master the group's complicated, signature movements and the concert's choreography (which they were taught during rehearsal just two days prior). As well, they practice their frequent lead vocal changes, designating who takes the front of the stage for a chorus or a solo spot.

The women of En Vogue appear refreshingly down-to-earth, despite an unparalleled legion of fans, including those who — like this reviewer — grew up with their many girl power anthems of the ‘90s. Their success not only deemed them as the most successful female group of that decade, but as Billboard Magazine reports, “the eighteenth most successful act of the 1990s” overall.

The film shows them easily adapting to machine mishaps during a sound check and ably handling everything in stride. Such is apparent right from their confident walk onstage, which finds the former “Funky Divas” trading in their slinky trademark black dresses for a more casual look of jeans and silk shirts.

Of course, for fans of the group, it’s the all-too-brief 61-minute concert that will first grab your attention, as it intercuts the live performance, filmed in color, with black and white sound check photography and a little behind-the-scenes, candid preparation footage throughout.

However, MVDvisual and Charly Films ensure that viewers have an experience that goes beyond simply a concert. Boasting 105 minutes of bonus material alone — such as the disc’s extensive, post-show focal point that includes interviews with Herron-Braggs (in which she discusses the group's history and the much publicized, rumor-filled departure of Dawn Robinson), Ellis, Cole, as well as the group's manager and producers. Additionally, there’s also an extended backstage behind-the-scenes clip that goes more in-depth regarding their breakneck schedule as well as an admission by Herron-Braggs that the only time she has to balance her checkbook (which she does pen, calculator, and book in hand) is while on the road.

En Vogue Live in the USA offers a succinct history of the band as well as a bonus track that features Terry Ellis in duet with N-Jay-Brasco for “Never Stop.” And although the concert is fun and retro, it feels far too short, not to mention — considering it’s seven years old — that it seems a bit dated. I longed for more recent footage and insight, especially in light of a recent report that the original foursome may possibly be gearing up for a full blown reunion.

And yet, you’ll find yourself forgiving the brevity as the women belt out such hits as “Free Your Mind,” “My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It),” the crowd favorite “Givin’ Him Something He Can Feel,” along with Christmas tracks and the aforementioned medley, which includes “Respect” and the Emotions' “Best of My Love.” Overall, however, I still found myself missing the showmanship of a bigger performance and of those legendary music videos (which you can see here), such as their backing vocals on the Salt-n-Pepa hit, “Whatta Man."

Therefore, in the words of one of their strongest tracks, when it comes to our affection for classic En Vogue, “Don’t Let Go,” as perhaps we’ll be treated with a return soon since we “Just Can’t Stay Away.” And in the meantime, we can always spin some classic favorites from these admirably genuine and affable divas who will remain funky forever in our hearts. This is especially apparent as the years go by as these ladies seem much more reflective about their careers and lives, remaining in control, and willing to discuss past mistakes candidly while articulating everything with the same ease with which they perform.

In the end, the signifance and the very existence of En Vogue cannot be understated. They’ve not only become impressive role models to other female singers by illustrating the importance of working as a group and never letting one person be the sole leader (as in The Supremes and Destiny’s Child), but also to women everywhere. They remind us of just how crucial it is to free our minds from the limitations that society, others, and indeed ourselves label women as a gender.

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