Tag Archives: Review

‘Reign’ Panel And Review From New York Comic Con

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I remember hearing a bit about the CW’s new show ‘Reign’ when the fall network TV lineup was first announced. It sounded interesting if heavy for a station like the CW to take on. I soon discovered why they bothered; ‘Reign’, while focusing on the “life” of Mary, Queen of Scots (Adelaide Kane), is mostly a fictional account of events. And not even at that general level a lot of other history based shows are. We’re talking about 85% fiction and I might be underestimating. It’s a fact that’s brought the show plenty of flack from historians as the show seems pointless when the only real aspects that ‘Reign’ has in common with actual events is, primarily, character names. Everything else is the result of the creators throwing in whatever the hell they think will attract viewers. It’s a shame the station didn’t decide to use this perfect opportunity to teach/reinforce history but, well, it is the CW? I’m not sure just how much we can expect from them in that regard.

Reign screening
Reign screening © 2013 Francesca Rodriguez

 

‘Reign’, debuting tonight, wasn’t high on my “must watch” list for the aforementioned controversial reasons. But I got tricked into watching the first episode this past weekend at the CW’s New York Comic Con panel (I was initially there for ‘Beauty and the Beast’, holla!) and, to be fair, rather enjoyed it. The cast, naturally, is attractive and young, which is par for the course from our friends at WPIX. *Yes, I’m aware that I just dated myself. Move along.*  In their quest to make the story of Queen Mary and Prince Francis (Toby Regbo) all the more hip, the audience is also treated to a stunning wardrobe, relatively modern language, and excellent musical scoring. There’s also a bit of scandalous sexy times and a brewing love triangle, oh, yeah.

Reign "Pilot
Mommy, Daddy, and Mistress makes three!

Beautifully filmed, the visual effect certainly grabs one’s attention, helping to distract more discerning viewers from the occasional moment of ridiculousness. I mean, the first time Queen Catherine (played by my boo, Megan Follows) stalks over to some scruffily hot dude and goes, “Tell me what you’ve seen, Nostradamus”, I about pissed myself; It just sounded so silly and suddenly Nostradamus (Rossif Sutherland of THE Sutherlands) was a guy who could totally get it, if you know what I mean and I think you do.

Mary and Francis
Mary and Francis doing their best ‘Twilight’ impersonation

 

At the beginning of the series, a teenage Mary Stuart is sent to the French court after residing in a nunnery since childhood. Her intended, Prince Francis, is attracted to her but isn’t sure he wants to put the proverbial ring on it. He’s basically content to continue sleeping with various courtiers until he figures it out. Meanwhile, a forbidden spark is born between Mary and Bash (Torrance Coombs), Francis’ bastard brother. *Listen, if you’re not already eating figurative popcorn at this point, there’s just no hope for you.*

ladies dancing
Mary and co. brought the Scottish realness, apparently.

 

Mary’s ladies-in-waiting have accompanied her to court, each with their own dramas and scandals as well e.g. hooking up with King Henry II of France (Alan Van Sprang). Yo. It was hot. Seriously. I think I’m gonna need to recreate that for shits ‘n’ giggles. And Queen Catherine gets the requisite court intrigue off to a roaring start by doing certain…THINGS (no spoilers) that are fucked up yet UNDERSTANDABLE. As a friend of mine stated, “It’s history meets ‘Gossip Girl’”. So long as you don’t take ‘Reign’ too seriously and simply enjoy it for what it is i.e. a pretty show with pretty people doing pretty “alternate universe” things, I think any fan of the ‘Tudors’, etc. will potentially dig it.

Reign panel
Toby Regbo, Adelaide Kane, Torrance Coombs, and executive producer Laurie McCarthy (l-r) during the panel © 2013 Francesca Rodriguez

 

The panel, by the by, was a pleasure. The main cast showed up and enlightened us to the fact that they’re all very good friends, a situation they’re grateful for since they spend more time with each other than the rest of the cast does. This chemistry was evident both in the panel discussion and the premiere episode we were shown; It’s always nice to see a cast interacting off set. Now, I’d heard rumor that Adelaide was something of a bitch but I didn’t get that vibe from her at all. It’s possible that it’s her outspoken and slightly brash persona rubbing some people the wrong way? All it did was make me want to hang with her though.  In fact, she’s officially on my crush list now so…ADELAIDE, I’M SINGLE. Bless her little soul for then deciding to school the panel moderator on the finer points of “shipping” as “ships”, aka favored romantic pairings, are the center of the show.

 

If you’re in the mood for some fun, eye candy, an extremely diet dose of history, and/or entertaining court intrigue, give the first episode of ‘Reign’ a try. If nothing else, at least there is costume porn!

 

X102.9’s The Big Ticket Recap – Ana’s Review!

This past weekend, I drove up to Jacksonville, Florida (that’s a 5 hours drive for the sake of rock, y’all) so I could jam to some great outdoor live music at alternative rock station X102.9’s The Big Ticket!

 

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My friend and I decided to sit at an apex of both the main stage and the Jageirmeister mobile stage so that we wouldn’t have to be switching between both for a view, also, I don’t care to be so close to stage if it means sweaty ass people are going to be all up on me…I’m getting old, thanks. Here’s a run down with take on some of the performances:

First band to open the festival on the mobile stage was The Dog Apollo– they provided a great intro to the festival, it was really fun.

 

 

Son of a Bad Man– opened the main stage and for one of their songs they covered Fountains of Wayne’s –  ‘Stacy’s Mom’ and I thought they nailed it, but I may be biased because their band-mates are hot.

Next on the main stage was another band I’d never heard of but I liked them: Paper Tongues; had no idea they were a Christian band until I realized the song titles, their most popular song is tiltled Trinity and they also have a popular song titled Amen— I assume popular by the fact that many people were shouting along with the lyrics.

Next on the mobile stage was local (to Jacksonville) punk band Whole Wheat Bread– I can’t tell you whether I liked their performance because I couldn’t get past their overly obnoxious enthusiastic fans screeching along with their music. They got me to an ‘I want to murder you with a pointy stick’ sort of mood.

The x102.9 radio personality hosts were friendly and energetic, but I wish they would’ve raised the mic volume a bit whenever they were on the mobile stage because you could barely hear them unless they shouted!

The Metro Park venue had plenty of food vendors and port-o-lots so that none of the lines had you waiting for too long, an awesome contrast to most Miami events. Food was a decent selection, and since you had sponsoring from Jägermeister and Miller Lite you were sure to find beers and spirits at concert-prices, but not too bad at all; I had to work the next day so I limited myself to…4 Miller Lites!

I overheard one of the concert-goers exclaim, “They were selling bongs right by the concession stage, there’s pretty much no rules'” – he was correct, the South Duvall, Jacksonville crowd was a motley crew of young hipsters, older metal-heads, emerging adults looking for a weekend music-fest to distress before the holidays officially begin; a few prom queen-types that looked ridiculously out of place, and people in costume were spotted as well- I was able to get my picture taken with a cow and pig!

Due to a sound guy’s screw up with audio, there were a lot of lulls in the music flow in the first half of the day which was plenty annoying, if you have two stages-and you’re equipment checking while the band on the opposite stage is performing there should be no down-time in between. Three & a half hours into the festival we should have been through a fair amount of the bands and there had only been a handful, I don’t want to say ‘unacceptable’ but unless you’re already shitfaced drunk and carefree you’re going to get agitated by the lack of MUSIC!

After the 20 minute music “break”  Group Love took the main stage with a cover of the intro to Kanye’s ‘Monster’, the rock twist was sick and definitely got the crowd ready to party; I would call this the ACTUAL start of the festival because people were jumping off their blankets to start dancing and others filtered out of their VIP area to crowd closer to the stage as Group Love turned in an energetic performance!

Next on the mobile stage 21 Pilots turned in an entertaining set, but I was underwhelmed.

Then Of Monsters and Men performed on the main stage, and they are so awesome at the crowd participation aspect of a show; if people weren’t already up and jamming-they definitely got on their feet to clap, sing & shout along with the band!

It was around this time (5:30p) that I made the horrible realization that the bands I was WAITING for (Rise Against and Bush) wouldn’t be on until way past the scheduled time allotments; I knew it would be a day full of music, but I live in Miami, a full 5 hours aways! Oh, well! I guess I shouldn’t complain about a solid 12 hours of rock!

While The Joy Formidable performed, a concert-goer I met named Mary overheard my commenting on the remaining bands and broke my heart by saying that Imagine Dragons wouldn’t be performing; I had a profound sad, I really wanted to hear their music live- I have It’s Time forever on my playlist! :(

Still got to jam enthusiastically to Joy Formidable, if you don’t know of them yet, you should definitely buy their music as they’ll be touring for their new album and they put on a fun show!

After which came Silversun Pickups, and although I liked their music, I wasn’t blown away by their stage presence; maybe I was just tired?

Flogging Molly on the mobile stage were a great performance! Who are these guys, seriously?! They were hilarious in between songs, covered Bob Dylan for one song, and also do so well with crowd participation- I’m a fan now!

Next up on the main stage: Fun. I didn’t want to say it, but yeah: they’re fun! Such high energy, and they just love their fans, I dare someone to not smile during their performances.

I was really excited to see Anberlin and think their music is just better in my headphones rather than live because I was underwhelmed. Either that, or I was too anxious for what was coming next to appreciate them live…

Bush! All through Anberlin’s performance you could see the crew setting up the main stage and I was about to tinkle myself in excitement, they opened their set with Machinehead and played about 7 songs, some of their older loved jams like Glycerine and Sex and Violence, and some newer songs- at one point Gavin Rossdale leapt off the stage and performed while walking through the crowd and then finished the performance while sandwiched in between two lucky bitches. I would have passed out from happiness. Gavin’s such a show-man, he sways his hips as he sings and I die.

Clearly, I was there for Bush – before my cell died on me, I had been recording snippets from most of the bands’ performances, here’s the first half of their Sex and Violence performance:

 

The second band I was waiting to see was Rise Against, I really love their music, and you all should too! Their set contained my 2 faves, Ready to Fall, and Swing Life Away; they closed the show and performed as headliners with about  7 songs also. After Bush, many left the festival which made me sad for Rise Against because they put on a great show – I wish they would have gone before Bush so that they would have had the audience they deserve!

X102.9 put on a fan-damn-tastic show, I’ll remember this one for quite a while!

 

 

Amy Heckerling’s ‘Vamps’ – A Review

 

Amy Heckerling reunites with her ‘Clueless’ star Alicia Silverstone for a look at two undead girls trying to find love in New York City. It’s basically every romantic comedy from the past ten years with vampires added. While it isn’t as good as it could have been, it was cute enough for me to ignore some of the dialogue and low budget SFX.

Ritter and Silverstone

Silverstone is Goody, a nostalgic woman always looking to the past because she has a hard time keeping up with all the new fang-led gadgets and slang. She was turned in 1841 by her “stem” or maker Ciccerus, played by Sigourney Weaver who really seemed to enjoy getting to ham it up in designer clothes. Her best friend and roommate Stacy, Krysten Ritter, is much younger having been turned in the 80’s, but still misses the good old days of Devo and big shoulder pads.

The girls refuse to drink the blood of humans, opting for the blood of the rats they catch on their exterminating job. They also prefer to be called “ELFs” or “Extended Life Forms” instead of the dreaded V-word. In between going out to clubs and night school, they try on outfits for the reckless Ciccerus who can’t see herself in the mirror. They also have a friend in “day player” Renfield, played by Zak Orth, who longs to be undead and fabulous like them.

For whatever reason, Goody has been lying about her age to Stacy since they met, blaming her knowledge of the past century on her love of The History Channel. To complicate things further, Goody sees her old love Danny (Richard Lewis), in the hospital while he is there taking care of his cancer stricken wife Angela, Marilu Henner.

Danny notices Goody, but she tells him that she is “Susan,” Goody’s daughter but they strike up a friendship anyways. Stacy becomes involved with Joey Van Helsing, played by cutie Dan Stevens, whose dad is the famous Dr. Van Helsing, Wallace Shawn. He and his wife (Kristen Johnston), instantly recognize that something isn’t right with her, but she and Joey continue to date and she even gets pregnant.

Every vampire movie has it’s own set of rules, and the dead being able to impregnate, or get pregnant, will never not be weird to me. On top of all of that, vamps are being audited and summoned for jury duty which would require them to go out into the daylight. This is when an unnecessary plot point where Danny tells the group of vampires at one of their ELF meetings about how the government spies on all of us through our phones, driving home Goody’s hatred of modern technology.

 

If the movie had stuck with the girls’ quest for something more than bar hopping and hookups with wannabe rock stars, it would have been a solid flick. Instead it ventured off into conspiracy-land, and then ended with the two friends deciding to kill their stem so they can be human again. There are some good laughs, but the “young people try too hard to be cool” dialogue was too forced. Maybe it was a joke to how people still quote ‘Clueless‘ 17 years after it came out. As Goody says in one scene, “acting young is getting old.

Justin Kirk who plays a sleazy Ukranian vamp and Malcolm McDowell as Vlad The Impaler are decent here even though we don’t see much of them. I get what Amy and co were trying to do here, I just wish they had done it better.

So ‘Vamps‘ is worth checking out, even though it’s missing some bite.