Tucson Local Media: Prime Time Review

Prime Time Review

Wednesday 11/12/2014
‘Interstellar’ solidifies director’s legacy

By now the latest golden sci-fi nugget “Interstellar” has drawn mass attention as this generation’s “2001: A Space Odyssey”. The film is leaving moviegoers in awe as one of the most aggressively visual space epochs to date, and critics have dubbed the film an instant center-piece to a genre that uses the cosmos as a backdrop. But the sensational reviews should come as no surprise to those who know the mastermind behind the product. Christopher Nolan has a long list of films that have brought nothing but wide eyes and smiles to the faces of science fiction fanboys. “Following”, “Memento”, “The Dark Knight Trilogy”, “The Prestige”, and “Inception” make up the complete list of films written and directed by the filmmaking savant. Nolan’s list of films have collectively earned 15 Oscar nominations, have resounding approval from critics, and average profits of about six times the amount of their budgets. On the whole, Nolan is seemingly incapable of producing a bad film. So what makes the prolific visionary so much better than the rest? Here are a few of Nolan’s movie-making methods that subtly contribute to his flawless resume. 

The most refreshing aspect of Nolan’s filmmaking is that he purposely limits the amount of CGI he allows in the finished product. In Nolan’s neo-noir mind, computer graphics should only be used to enhance real set pieces that already exist. This is contrary to the state of the art in which directors typically roll camera in front of green screen sets.  Nolan’s method of realism gives his set pieces a sense of authenticity, one absent of cartoonish distractions that so often plague cinemas. 

Perhaps more impressive than Nolan’s technological minimalism is his abandonment of linear plotlines. Nolan casts aside traditional story arcs, choosing instead to unravel the often complex story and its layered characters through flashbacks and dream sequences. Often times the filmmaker employs a fine line between what is reality and what is metaphysical. The endings of his films are often left to interpretation. This mystic realism and method of story telling make Nolan a unique staple in the Hollywood climate. In essence, he makes audiences think.

Like most successful artists, Nolan has quite an intense attention to detail. But what makes Nolan different is the fact that he appears to balance this intensity with an ability to work well with others. A quick glance at his film history reveals patterns in those he works with. A-list actors like Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Cillian Murphy, and Tom Hardy are frequent collaborators with Nolan. The director also repeatedly works with the same casting directors, musicians, and cinematographers. This is because Nolan allows his team a certain degree of free reign. Until they are happy with their work, Nolan is not happy either. 

Now, with a new understanding of what is taking place behind the scenes, audiences can go see Nolan’s new achievement, “Interstellar”, and appreciate the film for what it truly is. More than a sci-fi flick, “Interstellar” is the latest building block to the tower of Nolan’s greater legacy. So sit back, enjoy the journey, and witness the work of the next face on the Mount Rushmore of filmmakers.

Posted in Prime time review, Livenup on Wednesday, November 12, 2014 4:00 am. | Tags: Interstellar Comments (0)

Wednesday 11/05/2014
Suge Knight and Katt Williams arrested for robbery in Beverly Hills

Former hip-hop mogul Suge Knight and actor-comedian Katt Williams were arrested last week and charged for an incident in Beverly Hills. The charges claim that the two men stole a camera from a celebrity photographer in September.

The photographer, whose name has not been released, claims that the two men stole her camera while she was working in Beverly Hills. Williams shared in an interview with TMZ that they never stole anything from the photographer; they only tried to protect a five year old child from the paparazzi who was acting “unethically”.  The two men say that they saw the photographer taking pictures of the child, who was alone, in an alley and thought that something inappropriate was occurring, prompting the men to chase her off before making her delete her footage. Williams goes on to claim that before the photographer actually deleted the footage, she took off running, prompting the two men to chase her. According to Williams, no theft ever occurred.

Knight was arrested last week while in Las Vegas, and Williams was arrested while he was appearing in court for an unrelated assault charge.

This is not the first run in with authorities that these two men have faced. The two men faced trouble in 2012 for getting into a fight in the middle of a packed Los Angeles nightclub. One week prior to that incident they were sighted for causing a “disturbance” outside of a Subway when they parked too close to a fire hydrant. Knight was shot six times outside of a nightclub in Los Angeles before the MTV Video Music Awards, an incident he brushed off as just part of his life. This most recent summer, Williams was sued by his former tour manager for assault and battery for knocking the man unconscious, these were the charges Williams was in court for when he was arrested last week.

Though this relatively small robbery charge may seem insignificant to the two men, the sentencing could carry some heavy punishment due to their already extensive arrest records. Williams faces a seven year sentence if convicted and Knight could face thirty years because of aprior conviction of assault with a deadly weapon.

It seems as though troubles with police are not limited to glowing socialite celebrities.

Posted in Prime time review, Livenup on Wednesday, November 5, 2014 4:00 am. | Tags: Suge Knight , Katt Williams , Beverly Hills Comments (0)

Wednesday 10/29/2014
Netflix offers hidden Halloween treats

While the kids happily stroll the neighborhood dressed as Iron Man and Frozen characters this Halloween night, tired adults may just be looking for a chance to breathe. Sure, the downtown bars are likely holding drink specials and costume contests, and that work buddy across the street probably invited everyone to his place for pumpkin spice cocktails and apple bobbing, but that would require effort and getting dressed. For those who are looking to stay in and avoid the madness this Friday night, popping some popcorn, getting cozy with a loved one, and turning to Netflix for a good Halloween horror flick is the perfect way to spend the holiday.  

But picking the perfect nightmare flick is a much more particular science than you might realize. Too often film watchers are swindled into wasting 100 minutes on films like “The Hills Have Eyes 2”. Contemporary lackluster horror flicks rely too heavily on cheap tricks to thrill the audience. We have all likely become bored with the traditional formulaic approach: a hefty amount of cartoonish violence, predictable “jump at you” scenes, and young 20-something girls who find it difficult to remain fully clothed while monsters are in pursuit.  Films are no longer hauntingly cerebral the way classic films such as “The Shining”, “Silence of the Lambs”, “Psycho”, or even “Jaws” were. These films introduced very real and very terrifying monsters that you truly believe could be hiding in your closet, working the desk at your hotel, or circling in the deep end of your swimming pool. So if you are interested in timeless Halloween flicks that will keep you in the spirit this Friday night, here are a few of the more obscure haunting tales that are free to stream on Netflix. 

Sometimes the foreign market has an edge over the American market when it comes to quality. This is certainly the case for Sweden’s “Let the Right One In”. Director Tomas Alfredson’s 2008 instant classic came at a pivotal time for monsters of the blood-sucking nature. In an era when vampire love stories are pop-cultarized and marketed toward tweeting teens, “Let the Right One In” shows us how it’s done. Not only is the film gritty, grey, and full of suspense, but it is also dramatically alluring and full of captivating characters. It follows the story of a young outcast named Oskar, who finds inner strength through a new neighbor girl named Eli. Oskar and Eli become inseparable, but their relationship soon becomes much more complicated (and violent) than most puppy loves. 

Another film that may slip beneath the radar on your instant queue is 1996’s “The Frighteners”. The film is a testament to Peter Jackson’s early work, which was much more spooky and gory than his video game-esque productions today. The film stars Michael J. Fox as Frank Bannister, a man grieving over the death of his wife. But Bannister also has a special gift of insight into the spirit world, and that gift may just help him save members of the dead as well as the living. “The Frighteners” is a unique idea, does not rely on blood and guts, and flawlessly depicts the scariest monster of all time: Death. 

One of the most haunting films ever made does not rely on modern conveniences such as color or even sound. Germany’s 1922 classic “Nosferatu” is the granddaddy of all vampire films. Pre-dating Bela Lugosi’s infamous “Dracula”, “Nosferatu” actually stays more true to the original Bram Stoker novel. Not only that, but the makeup of “Count Orlok” is quite possibly the creepiest monster movie makeup ever on screen.

These three films are sure to get you in the holiday spirit, but be warned, Halloween may be a sleepless night if you choose to tune in. 

Posted in Prime time review on Wednesday, October 29, 2014 4:00 am. Updated: 9:47 am. | Tags: Netflix , Halloween Treats , The Hills Have Eyes 2 Comments (0)

Wednesday 10/22/2014
Prime Time Review: Disney may be planning three Obi-Wan Star Wars movies

With all of the news, rumors, and spoilers surrounding the imminent release of Star Wars: Episode VII, it seems as though little else would hold importance in the Star Wars universe and its nearly unrivaled fandom. It has been quite the opposite, however, as the internet has been parsing over a new rumor.

It seems as though Disney may be looking to expand its contribution to the Star Wars universe to even greater levels. Cinelinx has recently reported that sources inside Lucasfilm and Disney have told them there are some plans to create another movie trilogy, each film involving everyone’s favorite master Jedi, Obi-Wan Kenobi. These movies would be set between Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, and Episode IV: A New Hope. While some have referred to the movies as a trilogy, the source of the rumor has stated the movies are planned to have as little interconnectivity as possible and would run independent of one another. This model would be similar to James Bond films.

According to the source, one film would take place entirely on the planet Tatooine, while the other two would have Obi-Wan trekking across the galaxy. While the Jedi Master would likely encounter many familiar faces from the Clone Wars, the source specifically mentioned appearances by Darth Maul and Qui-Gon Jinn. As this is still in the rumor phase, no mention of possible casting is even on the horizon, though it would be wonderful to see Liam Neeson reprise his role as Qui-Gon Jinn and Ewan McGregor come back to his masterful performance as Obi-Wan. 

Obi-Wan has become one of Star Wars’ most popular characters, especially amongst younger fans. As one of the heroes of the prequel trilogy, and with his continued appearance in the animated show, it comes as no surprise that Disney is even considering the possibility of giving this character a three-movie treatment. 

The galaxy far,far away seems to be growing even larger in the coming years.

Posted in Prime time review, Livenup, Screening on Wednesday, October 22, 2014 4:00 am. Comments (0)

Wednesday 10/15/2014
Tucson crawling with Halloween events

Halloween may not be held in as high esteem as holidays with more tradition (and presents), but Tucson knows how to celebrate the spooky season nonetheless. The city is full of activities for kids and adults alike, providing keen opportunity to put on a light sweater and enjoy a scare-filled evening under the stars. 

One of the mainstays in Tucson’s slew of Halloween celebrations is Old Tucson’s Nightfall. Always on the agenda at Nightfall are live theatrical shows, haunted houses full of creepy characters, and even talking gargoyles prowling the town square. Old Tucson’s website warns parents that the attractions at Nightfall may be too scary for younger attendants.

But Nightfall is not the only genuinely terrifying haunted destination in the Old Pueblo. The Slaughterhouse rivals the scare tactics of Old Tucson, and luckily for thrill seekers, this town is big enough for both of them. While Nightfall may be the most overall spooky production in Tucson, the Slaughterhouse is a likely the most nightmarish destination for haunted house lovers (in a good way). There are five different themed haunted houses at the Slaughterhouse this year: Twisted Tree Mortuary, Carnival, The Boiler Room, City Meats, and Apocalypse. But the haunted haven is not just about blood, guts, and gore. The Slaughterhouse is also a 501c3 certified non-profit organization that donates much of its proceeds to community charity efforts. 

For those of us who want to feel our heart pumping and blood chilling while holding a drink in hand, Hotel Congress is holding a 21 and over event on Oct. 25 that includes a $1,000 cash prize costume contest, carnival games, and live bands on indoor and outdoor stages. That’s not all from Tucson’s most famous haunted hotel spot. Hotel Congress will also be holding a spooky prom event on Halloween night. 

For nights when parents are not able to find a baby sitter, Tucson’s family-friendly Halloween events are not in short supply. Every Saturday and Sunday of October Apple Annie’s is hosting their Pumpkin Celebration. The event includes a corn maze, and wagon rides to the pumpkin patch, vegetable patch, or apple orchard. 

Tucson’s Valley of the Moon is not missing out on the opportunity to get festive. This year they are holding a Harry Potter and the Haunted Ruins event through Oct. 30, where 20-minute live performances will take place between 6 and 8:20 p.m. The show will also involve a walk-through tour, and will cost $10 for adults and will be free for children under the age of 15. Food will be present from vendors of Tucson’s Food Truck Rally. 

 The Reid Park Zoo is throwing a Howl-o-ween event from Oct. 24-26. The fun begins at 6 p.m. and ends at 8 p.m., and will have family friendly costumed characters and decorations throughout the zoo while families walk through the exhibits.  

On Oct. 24 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. the Pima Air and Space Museum will be hanging the cobwebs and ghosts from the hangar skies and putting on a costume contest with old-fashioned carnival games, and good old-fashioned fun including Halloween-themed specials from the Flight Grill Restaurant. You can also view the aircrafts and exhibits in the Main Hanger under ghoulish lighting.

Finally, the Fourth Avenue Merchant’s Association will be hosting a free family-friendly event on Saturday, Oct. 25, starting with a Spooky Kid’s Costume Contest at 6 p.m., goody bags, scary movies, and DJ music at the “The Mike” Haggerty Plaza next to the Rustic Candle Company.

It will not be possible to attend them all, but Tucsonans with an affinity for the season have quite the variety of events and activities to choose from. Be it cozy hayrides in the open air, costume contests with your kids, or chainsaw wielding ghosts in haunted houses, there is something for everyone this Halloween season. 

Posted in Livenup, Ventureout, Prime time review on Wednesday, October 15, 2014 4:00 am. | Tags: Halloween , Old Tucson Nightfall , Hotel Congress , Slaughter House Comments (0)

Wednesday 10/01/2014
Prime Time Review: University of Arizona and Fox Theatre team up for new downtown lecture series

Last month the Arizona Daily Wildcat reported that the University of Arizona had been ranked among the nation’s most healthy campuses by greatest.com. It should be no surprise, then, that the university is teaming up with The Fox Theater to bring a new and informative lecture series on nutrition to the local community.

Beginning this month, The Fox Theater will open up its doors to “Food”, the second installment of the annual U of A Downtown Lecture Series provided by the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences. Though not a traditional date night event that would normally be held in the theater, the lecture series should provide an offbeat opportunity to head downtown, and could even teach theatergoers a thing or two that may better their lives in the long term. In fact, this is exactly what the goals of the lecture series are. The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences aims not only to share new research from University faculty, but also to support the community’s investment in a vibrant city center by drawing commercial business to downtown merchants.

The lectures will take place weekly on Wednesday nights at 6:30 p.m, with the first beginning on Oct. 15. The kick-off lecture is titled “Changing Geographies of Food”, and will be presented by Dr. Diana Liverman of the School of Geography and Development and Institute of the Environment. The lecture will explore how our food choices bring about changes to the planet, and will also look into the present state and geography of the global food system.  The goal of this lecture is to trace trends and identify choices that promote a more sustainable future worldwide.

The second lecture will be called “Tucson: City of Gastronomy, Hub for Food Diversity”, and will be presented by Dr. Gary Nabhan of the UofA Southwest Center. This lecture will take a local approach, highlighting the ways in which Tucson has become a model for re-diversifying the American diet.

The third lecture will be called “We Eat What We Are” and will be given by Dr. Maribel Alvarez from the school of anthropology. Alvarez, who is also the director of Tucson Meet Yourself, intends to take a more anthropological approach to the food discussion, describing how our nutritional choices reflect our definition of our habits, our traditions, our practices, and ourselves.

The fourth lecture will be “Edible Roman Empire” and will be led by Dr. Emma Blake of the U of A’s School of Anthropology Mass production, agribusiness, unsustainable harvests. Blake’s lecture will explore recent archaeological discoveries about the Roman Empire’s food practices, how they impacted the historical society, and what we can learn from this example.

The final lecture, “Food for Pleasure, Vitality, and Health”, will be given by Dr. Victoria Maizes from the U of A Center of Integrative Medicine. Dr. Maizes will wrap up the series by discussing the latest diet trends, offering new strategies for selecting food for pleasure, vitality, and health.

The lecture series will be free to the public, but those who hope to attend may want to reserve their seats by visiting downtownlectures.arizona.edu.

Posted in Livenup, Ventureout, Prime time review on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 4:00 am. Comments (0)

Wednesday 09/24/2014
Prime Time Review: NCIS: New Orleans coming to your TV soon

After some time in production, the newest spin-off of the “NCIS” TV franchise is making its way to your television sets. NCIS: New Orleans started on Sept. 23, right after that night’s episode of the original “NCIS”.

NCIS stands for Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and the organization has been the inspiration for one of America’s most beloved procedural crime dramas. “NCIS” is the primary law enforcement and counterintelligence outfit of the U.S. Navy and investigates criminal offenses within the Department of the Navy. Starting in 2003 as a spin-off of “JAG”, the original NCIS series stars Mark Harmon, Michael Weatherly, Pauley Perrette, Sean Murray, and David McCallum amongst others.

Following the original show’s growing success, which culminated in winning most popular show in America in 2012, the first spin-off, “NCIS: LA”, was created in 2009 starring Chris O’Donnell and LL Cool J. The Los Angeles version of the show has received mixed to positive reviews and has retained strong viewership since its debut.

Now in its twelfth season, “NCIS” has given way to a second spin-off, “NCIS: New Orleans”. The staff behind the new show is not only hoping to bank in on the huge popularity of the two existing shows, but also that the show’s setting will work its own magic on set.

“It’s really about the DNA of the city and the whole Gulf Coast,” said executive producer, Jeffrey Lieber.

The show is taped, both on-set and on location, in New Orleans, bringing authenticity to one of the most unique cities in the country.

“The mysteries are sort of infused with a kind of culture and soul – which is not to say anything about ‘NCIS’ – but you feel the city in every beat and starting to inform the characters as wellsaid Lieber during a panel discussion with TV critics.

Joining Lieber in the role of executive producer will be Gary Glasberg and Mark Harmon. Harmon has been playing the role of Leeroy Jethro Gibbs on the original show and has become a fan favorite throughout the franchise. Coming together with this fantastic production staff, and starring in the show, will be Scott Bakula, known for his roles in “Quantum Leap” and as the last Star Trek captain in the TV series “Star Trek: Enterprise”. Lucas Black, from “American Gothic”, will be playing the role of, main character, Special Agent Christopher Lasalle. C.C.H. Pounder, who previously appeared in “The Shield”, “Avatar”, and “Sons of Anarchy”, will also be joining the cast.

With an all-star producing team, a former NCIS officer consulting on the project, and the beautiful and intriguing New Orleans atmosphere as a backdrop, this newest rendition of NCIS may find itself winning its own award for most popular in America.

Posted in Prime time review, Livenup, Screening on Wednesday, September 24, 2014 4:00 am. | Tags: Ncis , Ncis New Orleans , Cbs , Scott Bakula , Lucas Black Comments (0)

Wednesday 08/27/2014
Prime Time Review: Two new ‘Jungle Book’ movies hitting theaters soon

With movie theaters being overrun by a plethora of science fiction and fantasy movies, it may be difficult to find something to take young kids to. Between the cursing, violence and bloodshed, some movies just don’t make the cut as child-appropriate. Luckily, there are two separate renditions of “The Jungle Book” in production.

The Jungle Book is a collection of stories written by English author Rudyard Kipling. Originating in the late 19th century, the book contains the collected stories of Mowgli, a young boy who is raised by wolves in the Indian jungle, and is assisted by anthropomorphic jungle animals throughout his adventures. The stories of The Jungle Book were adapted to the big screen for a young audience in 1967 by Disney. This movie originally followed the more dark and sinister tone of Kipling’s stories but was lightened up before its release to become more kid-friendly. The original animated movie grossed over $73 million in its first release, an impressive figure, at that time, for an animated movie. An animated sequel was released in 2003 but spent little time in theaters before being sent to home video.

There are currently two new renditions of this timeless children’s movie in the works. Andy Serkis, best known for his work as Gollum in “The Lord of the Rings”, will be stepping back from live-action work to direct an animated movie of Mowgli’s adventures under Warner Bros. This movie will also be Serkis’ feature directorial debut; he also worked on “King Kong”, “The Adventures of Tintin”, and “Planet of the Apes”. Working under Serkis’ directorial guidance will be Benedict Cumberbatch, who is lending his voice to the human-hating tiger, Shere Khan. 

The Warner Bros. film will be sticking closer to the original material, creating a relatively dark movie that shifts away from the 1967 Disney version of the film. While Serkis and Cumberbatch are on confirmed to be working on this new release, there is little else known as far as casting goes.

Disney will have its own rendition of The Jungle Book, staying in line with a more kid-friendly movie.  Disney’s version of the movie has a pretty impressive cast, Idris Elba will be voicing Shere Khan, Scarlett Johansson as Kaa, Bill Murray as Baloo, and Christopher Walken as King Louie. 

With Warner Bros. bringing in two impressive cast members and Disney pulling out all the A-list stops, these two movies will surely be vying for supremacy in the box office. While there will be a year difference between their release dates, movie goers will, no doubt, be comparing the two.

Posted in Screening, Prime time review on Wednesday, August 27, 2014 4:00 am. Updated: 9:54 am. | Tags: Jungle Book , Andy Serkis , Disney , Warner Bros Comments (0)

Wednesday 08/20/2014
Prime Time Review: Waves of “Blackfish” documentary start to hit SeaWorld

The cinematic climate is changing in countless ways, but one in particular is affecting the world on a much broader scale. Viral marketing and distribution through avenues such as Netflix has fused with a public hunger for knowledge that is satiated through a surge in documentary filmmaking. The impact of this readily distributed knowledge and information is perhaps more powerful than ever. One company in particular has learned this lesson the hard way. After the release of the popular 2013 documentary “Blackfish”, SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. has begun to feel the sting of public opinion.

“Blackfish” criticizes SeaWorld’s methods and treatment of orca whales. The film highlights Tilikum, a captured whale who has been living and performing inside the SeaWorld Orlando amusement park since 1992. As explained in the documentary, Tilikum has been responsible for three deaths, a raging violence that is attributed to frustrations with captivity. The film goes on to explain that the quality of life for captivated whales such as Tilikum is damaged, and also suggests that their lifespan is shortened.    

Though SeaWorld insisted that the film’s release would have little to no impact on their attendance, it appears that is no longer a valid argument. “Blackfish” drew an enormous following from Netflix, was viewed by 21 million people during a CNN airing, and earned millions in the domestic box office. The film’s crusade spread rapidly, leading to public protests, celebrity chastisement, and concert cancelations by musical acts such as Heart and Willie Nelson. Southwest Airlines ended a long time partnership with the theme park company. One California politician proposed the “Orca Welfare Safety Act” after viewing the film. The piece of legislation would ban the use of orcas in public performances at theme parks all together. Even Pixar executives joined in the fray, meeting with “Blackfish” director Gabriela Cowperthwaite to alter the ending to “Finding Dory”, the sequel to “Finding Nemo”. “Finding Dory” originally had an ending that placed some characters in a SeaWorld-like theme park, but given the new light shed on animal conditions, executives felt it would no longer be appropriate. 

The end result of the fallout has been an undeniable dip of profits in the second quarter. Shares in SeaWorld dropped to 43 cents per share, falling short of the originally projected 60 cents per share. On the whole, stock in the company is down and alarming 31 percent this year.

It seems that SeaWorld is feeling the pressure of the ever-advancing reach of informative cinema. Viral distribution from online providers, television, and social media has primed the cinematic climate to spark changes that are not confined to the entertainment industry, but also reach into business an politics. Movies, it would seem, are becoming a tool that keeps our society in check, informs the public, and brings about positive change in a capacity that has not yet reached its limit. 

Posted in Livenup, Screening, Prime time review on Wednesday, August 20, 2014 4:00 am. Updated: 8:57 am. | Tags: Sea World , Blackfish , Netflix Comments (0)

Wednesday 08/13/2014
Will Arnett announces more ‘Arrested Development’

Actor Will Arnett has recently confirmed that he and the rest of the cast of Arrested Development are all on board to shoot a fifth season of the popular show. The show will be returning for its fifth season and will be shown exclusively on Netflix.  Arnett was in the middle of an interview on Today for his newest film “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” when he shared plans for Arrested Development’s return.

Rumors concerning the return of the show began a couple months ago when Chief Content Officer for Netflix, Ted Sarandos, was giving an interview about the future of original programming through the Netflix service. Sarandos was “positive” that the Bluth family would be returning with another season of the show but said, “It’s just a matter of when.”  The primary issue with getting the cast behind a camera seems to be scheduling. The fourth season of the show was met with a lot of criticism as it seemed there was never enough interaction between all of the cast members. 

Arrested development was created by Mitchell Hurwitz and was originally aired on Fox for the first three seasons, from 2003 until its cancellation in 2006. The show remained in limbo until a fourth season was aired in 2013 through Netflix’s online streaming service.

The show follows the fictitious Bluth family, a formerly wealthy clan whose less than exemplary patriarch, George Bluth Sr., played by Jeffery Tambor, ends up in prison for defrauding investors and using the company’s money for personal expenses. George’s level-headed son Michael, played by Jason Bateman, looks to take over the family business in the wake of his father’s imprisonment, but the rest of the dysfunctional Bluth family finds a way to make running the family business agonizing.  Joining Tambor and Bateman for a new season of the show are fellow cast members Portia de Rossi, Michael Cera, Tony Hale, and David Cross, among others. 

The Fourth season of the show suffered from inflated expectations once news broke of the show’s revival after being canceled by Fox. That, combined with a lot of character-centric episodes, left a lot of the more diehard fans aching for more, as many of these episodes fell flat. If the writers and producers of the show listen to their fan feedback from previous seasons and look to go back to the show’s hilarious roots for this newest group of episodes, there is no doubt that Arrested Development will be back to being one of the funniest shows around. 

Posted in Prime time review, Livenup, Screening on Wednesday, August 13, 2014 4:00 am. Updated: 9:18 am. Comments (0)

Wednesday 08/06/2014
Prime Time Review: Indie rock princess poised to hit mainstream

When child actress Jenny Lewis first appeared on television in the mid 1980s, she seemed to have a knack for the entertainment business. The youngster would go on to appear in fan favorite television shows such as “The Golden Girls”, “Growing Pains”, and “Roseanne”, but in the end it was the airwaves rather than the camera that would capture the entertainer’s interest. Presented with a mix-tape as a gift from fellow child actor Corey Haim, Lewis began to fall in love with music, and would eventually credit this moment as the spark that ignited the wildfire of her current musical career. 

In 1998 Lewis formed the cult favorite band Rilo Kiley. The band released four albums in 13 years, toured with Coldplay, and gained notoriety across indie music circles. For Lewis, Rilo Kiley’s success, complimented by an invitation to collaborate with Ben Gibbard as the female vocalist for The Postal Service, catapulted the former child star onto the throne of indie-rock royalty. Long before Zooey Deschanel made the transition from Hollywood actress to rock star, Lewis had paved the way.

Toward Rilo Kiley’s waning years, Lewis began to write music under her own name as part of her solo project. Now 38 years old, Lewis has released her third, and most promising solo album yet. “The Voyager” solidifies prior notions that Lewis may just be one of the best singer-songwriter’s the music scene has to offer. The indie-rock icon has struck gold with her new album, and has truly found her sound with a fusion between pop, rock, indie, and country elements that creates a perfect amalgamation of musical methods. What makes the album all the more special is the poignant nature of the lyrics, which serve as a looking glass into the mindset of Lewis as a woman. The songs discuss past loves, romance, the death of Lewis’ father, the breakup of her first band, and the frustrations of being a woman on the doorstep of 40 years old without a husband and children. 

But do not let the fragile nature of the lyrics fool you, “The Voyager” is stuffed with some extremely melodic, and downright fun songs. Since dropping last week, the album has been receiving rave reviews, so positive in fact that “The Voyager” just may tip the scale in the direction of mainstream stardom for Lewis. The record has created quite the splash already. On its first day of release, “The Voyager” was on the top 10 list for most downloaded albums on iTunes. Anne Hathaway and Kristen Stewart stared in the filming of the music video for the single “Just One of the Guys”. Perhaps most impressive, however, is that Jenny Lewis was even given the opportunity to create her own wine in anticipation of the release of the new album. The Voyager Wine is $29.99 (which includes a free link to download the album). The buzz is not unwarranted, “The Voyager” is Jenny Lewis’ magnum opus.

For those Tucsonans who wish to see Lewis perform “The Voyager” live in concert, the musician will be playing tonight (Aug. 6) at The Rialto Theater.

Posted in Livenup, Prime time review, Listen on Wednesday, August 6, 2014 4:00 am. | Tags: Jenny Lewis , The Golden Girls , Growing Pains Comments (0)

Wednesday 07/30/2014
Prime Time Review: Two upcoming shows hip-hop heads should not miss

The summer has fully engulfed our city, bringing with it sweltering heat and burning winds. As the days get hotter and hotter, many are looking for a way to have fun without melting outdoors.  Whether it is going to a movie at the theatre, a local trampoline—world, or finding some nighttime entertainment, the cool route is always the better route.  For those with an inclination for hip-hop music and a good concert, there are two events coming up in the next few months that you won’t want to miss.

On Aug. 31st Atmosphere is coming to The Rialto Theatre with guests Prof, Dem Atlas, and DJ Fundo. While not everyone may be familiar with the prolific Atmosphere, they are a group well worth knowing about.

Formed in 1989, Atmosphere has been called the group that has, “…transformed the city [Minneapolis] into something else entirely: a nexus from which underground rap spiraled-out to the masses.” The group was originally composed primarily of rapper Sean Daley, better known as Slug, and Anthony “Ant” Davis, as well as other artists who toured with the group and worked on their early albums. The duo, joined with other local Minnesota artists and formed the record label Rhymesayers Entertainment.  Now more of a family than a simple record label, Rhymesayers is composed primarily of local Minnesota artists but has also expanded to representing nationally recognized hip-hop and rap artists.

Atmosphere sits at the head of what many consider to be the most well-composed collection of artists in the underground hip-hop industry.  The label hosts its own Soundset Festival, a multi-day concert that draws well over 20,000 attendees. And now, the group, currently composed of Slug, Ant, Nate Collis playing guitar, and Erick Anderson on the keyboard, is bringing their perfected sound to the Old Pueblo.  

Only one month after Atmosphere comes to town, Club Congress will be hosting another Rhymesayers artist, Brother Ali.  The blind, Islamic emcee has earned a reputation that goes well beyond such simple classifications.  Ali could be called more of a musical activist than a simple artist.  “In an age of hip-hop where the paradigm of swag over substance reigns supreme, few emcees are willing to use their platform to tackle the hot-button topics and pressing social maladies of our time - but it’s apparent that Minneapolis-based hip-hop artist Brother Ali is one of those few.”

Ali released his fourth full-length album under the guidance of platinum selling producer, Jake One. Jake One has worked with big name rap artists the likes of 50 Cent, T.I., and Wiz Khalifa. Ali’s newest album, Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color, “presents a scathing yet honest critique of America and its many flaws while simultaneously presenting a hopeful outlook of its possibilities.” Brother Ali’s music taps deep into the beating heart of hip-hop and attempts to shine the light on the real problems in the world, not just the fancy clothes and big parties found in many different artists’ repertoire.  Ali’s show will be at Congress on Oct. 8.

With these two fantastic headliners coming to our city, this is one of the greatest chances anyone could have to begin to understand the enormous and ever changing culture that is underground hip-hop.  Get out of the oppressing summer heat and find your way into these two historic local venues for a fantastic show. 

Posted in Livenup, Prime time review, Listen, Northwest chatter on Wednesday, July 30, 2014 4:00 am. Updated: 7:39 am. Comments (0)

Wednesday 07/23/2014
Prime Time Review: ‘Goosebumps’ film coming next summer

The highly regarded San Diego Comic Con event never disappoints when it hits the west coast every July. The buzz around the event is not without warrant. 

Every year film producers bring fans sneak peaks on their favorite film franchises, and announce groundbreaking news about fascinating worlds in which we are sure to visit on our next trip to the cinema. 

On July 24, the 2014 Comic Con event is expected to unveil plenty of exciting information regarding a 1990s throwback film based on a popular book franchise. “Goosebumps”, which stars the whimsical A-list actor Jack Black, is set to hit theaters in August of 2015. 

It is timely and clever for producers to take a stab at bringing the popular children’s book franchise to the big screen, as it is sure to grab the attention of both the children of 2014, as well as the children of the 90’s, now well into adulthood. 

The film’s plot will not borrow directly from any of the 100 plus books from author R.L. Stine’s franchise, but instead will take a much broader approach. The movie introduces Zach, a young city boy who moves to a small Maryland. Zach befriends a girl named Hannah, who happens to be the daughter of scary book author R.L. Stine (Black). When Zach accidently releases all of the ghoulish creations of Stine’s books into the real world, the team must work together to round up the monsters before they destroy everything in sight.  

Rather than seek out an aura of true horror, the film aims at blending its spooky nature with an off the wall comedy twist. No stranger to family comedy, Black should fit perfectly in this universe. The star of films such as “School of Rock” and “Kung Fu Panda” also promises to make the R.L. Stine character his own. 

Black recently explained in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that he did not study Stine in hopes of portraying him as accurately as can be, instead Black created a cold and cantankerous version of the author in order to give him just the right personality for the script. 

It may still be too early to tell if the “Goosebumps” film will do justice to the 1990s book series that became a nationwide icon of children’s literature. After all, the film re-unites Black with director Rob Letterman, who teamed up in 2010 to bring the universally detested family flick “Gulliver’s Travels” to fruition. 

But something is just so unmistakably exciting about the idea of seeing every childhood fear once explored under the cover of a blanket fort and flashlight, now brought to life nearly 20 years after the fact. 

Posted in Livenup, Screening, Prime time review, Northwest chatter on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 4:00 am. Updated: 9:05 am. Comments (0)

Wednesday 07/16/2014
Prime Time Review: Tabloid favorite Lindsay Lohan sues Rockstar over videogame character

Lindsay Lohan is heading back to the courtroom soon. However, this time it is she who is filing the lawsuit. The tabloid star is launching a lawsuit against Rockstar Games because she believes her likeness was utilized for one of Grand Theft Auto V’s characters without her permission.

The lawsuit states that the character, Lacey Jonas, is an unequivocal reference to Ms. Lohan. The suit goes so far as to state that Lohan’s voice and style were utilized to create the character, all without her permission. Citing privacy laws, the actress is claiming unspecified damages from not only Rockstar Games, but also Take Two Interactive.

The character in question plays a minor role in the blockbuster game. Jonas is encountered in an alleyway in “Vinewood”, a section of the large open-world game. Jonas is hiding from paparazzi and asks the player to get her home without the paparazzi knowing. During the course of the ride home, the in-game actress admits to the player that the stresses of her life and fame have caused her to become anorexic.

On the surface level, this seems like nothing more than a publicity stunt for Lindsay Lohan, hoping to claw her way into the spotlight. But does this suit have any ground to stand on?

While Lohan’s accusations of using her voice, image, and clothing from her fashion line may seem a little far-fetched, the inclusion of Chateau Marmont Hotel in West Hollywood, where the actress once lived, is being used as evidence of image rights violation.

Reports of the lawsuit originally surfaced through TMZ last December but had gone quiet until now. While there is no specified payout in the lawsuit, lawyers have stated that there would be “serious money” involved.

Lohan has picked quiet a successful game to levy a lawsuit against. Grand Theft Auto V was able to eclipse an impressive $1 billion in sales in less than 72 hours and has continued to maintain a strong fan base since. The game is primed to make even more money soon as it is slated to be released for the Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC this coming fall. Will Lohan’s lawsuit hold any water against the gaming giant?

Posted in Prime time review, Livenup, Northwest chatter on Wednesday, July 16, 2014 4:00 am. Updated: 9:06 am. | Tags: Lindsay Lohan , Rockstar Games , Grand Theft Auto V Comments (0)

Wednesday 07/09/2014
Primetime Review: Marvel continues to build with “Guardians of the Galaxy”

By now the 2014 summer movie season is in full swing, and we have seen our fair share of action packed adventures. There is one upcoming film, however, that may well be one of the most important movies of the year. Marvel’s “Guardian’s of the Galaxy”, which is set to release on Aug. 1, is seemingly a mere outer space saga full of cartoonish characters and ships blowing up. In reality, however, it is the next step in Marvel’s flawless execution of changing the movie industry forever. 

“Guardians” will tell the story of a motley crew of mercenaries that turn out to be the galaxy’s last hope of survival. Nothing groundbreaking here. But Marvel will fuse this new and fantastic out of this world story with its already flourishing planet earth based Avengers franchise. If all goes well with critics and box office numbers, Marvel just may build upon a new and fantastic production strategy that is revamping the way Hollywood operates: world building. 

What Marvel has accomplished in the last six years is nothing short of magic. So magical, in fact, that other production companies have made desperate sloppy attempts at recreating that magic. Earlier this year, Sony Pictures released “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”. Critics failed to swoon over the film, as it felt disjointed and unsatisfying. The story line lacked oomph, and the lack of discretion behind hidden Easter eggs was almost insulting. It almost seemed as though the film was less a stand-alone allegory about a noble super hero, and more a rickety bridge to future films that the company wants to make. Sure enough, even before the release of “Spider-Man”, Sony had already announced sequels and spinoffs involving comic book characters that were not so subtly introduced in the latest Spider-Man film. 

Marvel’s comic book rival, DC Entertainment, is also heading in a direction that may lead to disaster. The success of last year’s “Man of Steel” somewhat justified the hasty announcements of a sequel, but in the spirit of impatience, DC and Warner Bros. chose to leap frog that idea. Instead, the “Man of Steel” sequel was transformed into “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice”, which will be a Batman and Superman crossover film that intends to pave the way for a world of superhero spinoffs.

The primary problem with Sony and DC’s world building technique is that they are planning sequels and spinoff films before the audience has even had the opportunity to demand them. In a similar vein, they are force-feeding new characters to moviegoers before viewers have even had the time to bond with the old ones.

 

Posted in Livenup, Prime time review, Northwest chatter on Wednesday, July 9, 2014 4:00 am. Comments (0)

Wednesday 07/02/2014
Prime Time Review: North Korea threatens war over movie

The hermit nation of North Korea has recently proclaimed its newest round of threats towards the United States. This time however, the nation is not concerned about military issues or demonstrations, but a Hollywood movie. The always radical and unpredictable country threatens a “resolute and merciless response against the United States” and calls the release of a single film “reckless U.S. provocative insanity”, labeling it an act of war.

What movie could garner such a swift and radical response from North Korea? A documentary looking inside the troubled nation? Or maybe a propaganda film portraying North Korea in a less than favorable light? No, the movie that has North Korean officials so riled up is “The Interview”, a comedy movie directed by Evan Goldberg and starring Seth Rogan and James Franco.

“The Interview” is an action-comedy movie in which two celebrity TV journalists (Rogan and Franco) secure an exclusive interview with North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-Un. Before the interview, the two journalists are recruited by the CIA to assassinate Kim. While this concept may seem funny to Americans and even the rest of the world, the levity is not shared amongst officials in North Korea.

At first, North Korea panned the movie off as nothing more than “rubbish” and gave little care to the comedy, but have now released more dire responses through the nation’s state-run news agency, KCNA, “The act of making and screening such a movie that portrays an attack on our top leadership ... is a most wanton act of terror and an act of war and is absolutely intolerable.”

The preview is filled with plenty of chase scenes, missile attacks, and other events that gimmick the constant threats and bolstering of arms by the hermit nation. The trailer not only comes packed with some interesting action scenes, but also the goofy, none too serious comedy style of Franco and Rogan. The two actors have worked together for over a decade now on some memorable comedy projects like “Freaks and Geeks”, “This is the End”, and “Pineapple Express”.

Are these two “stoner comedians” really releasing a movie that would warrant all-out war? Of course not.  This is not the first time the nation has condemned a Hollywood movie.

In 2002, former North Korean leader Kim Jong-Ill, father of Kim Jong-Un was appalled by the James Bond Film, “Die Another Day”. The film depicted a North Korean citizen selling nuclear weapons, falling in line with the idea that North Korea is part of a modern axis of evil in the world. 2004 saw the release of “Team America: World Police”, a marionette-style movie created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone of “South Park” fame. “World Police” showed former North Korean leader Kim Jong-Ill as an insane megalomaniac with a deep seeded sense of insecurity and loneliness. More recently, the remake of “Red Dawn” in 2012 showcased a North Korean military that was taking over the United States. While this film did not bring as much ire from the North Korean government, many scenes from this movie were used in propaganda films by the North Koreans to show their military superiority.

While these threats just seem like another in a long line of kicking and screaming from the isolated nation, there is always room for some serious consideration concerning these most recent proclamations. The country has been under U.N. scrutiny in the past year because of nuclear tests as well as missile launches that occurred despite sanctions and warnings against the country. More recent reports have shown possible development of a new anti-ship cruise missile in a propaganda film, while others have doubted this.

Regardless of whether or not the nation will follow through with their renewed threats, North Korea’s posturing is only drawing more PR for the upcoming movie.  See the movie in October and judge for yourself how the hermit nation is portrayed.

Posted in Prime time review, Livenup on Wednesday, July 2, 2014 4:00 am. | Tags: North Korea , The Interview Comments (0)

Wednesday 06/25/2014
Prime Time Review: Tucsonan selected for CBS Reality TV

Fans of the CBS reality show “Big Brother” will have a hometown hero to root for this upcoming season. 23-year-old Tucsonan, Christine Brecht, was selected to be among the 16 hopefuls participating for a big cash prize in this year’s competition. Brecht has already been whisked away from her friends and family, shut off from the outside world, and prepared for her TV debut.

“Big Brother”, now in its 16th season, is a competitive escapade for its contestants. Brecht will be placed in a lavish home with her fellow “houseguests”, made to compete in various mental and physical challenges, and will be filmed around the clock. At the end of the competition, the last contestant standing will be awarded a grand prize of $500,000. Brecht’s competition is diverse, ranging from 21 to 42 years old, with occupations that include a YouTube personality, a DJ, a baseball player, a police sergeant, a minister, and a makeup artist.

This season of “Big Brother” has a few twists that set it apart from its predecessors. For those who understand the show’s format, there will be two Heads of Household each week this season. The Heads of Household will be awarded a large suite all to themselves, and will have the authority to nominate other houseguests for elimination. The Heads of Households themselves are not immune to elimination, however. Another twist entering this season will allow fans, or “Team America”, to have an interactive influence on the competition’s outcome. Finally, an entirely new concept entitled “Battle of the Block” is being adopted, and it is designed to shake things up, creating power shifts, and placing contestants on the chopping block.

But despite the challenges ahead, Tucson’s own dog in the fight believes she has the perfect strategy for winning the grand prize. She explains that she plans to carefully select confidants in the house, and to build alliances with those who may help her survive the threat of elimination. Brecht, an avid board game fan, claims that she will maneuver her fellow houseguests like game pieces, using them to her advantage and ultimately reaching her goal through careful planning and masterful execution. It is sure to be some stiff competition, but Brecht is confident that she will bring the prize money back to Tucson.

For those who want to tune in and cheer on their fellow Tucsonan, “Big Brother” will premier in the evening on both Wednesday, June 25 and Thursday, June 26 on CBS.

Posted in Prime time review, Livenup on Wednesday, June 25, 2014 4:00 am. | Tags: Big Brother , Christine Brecht , Tucson Comments (0)

Wednesday 06/18/2014
Prime Time Review: ‘Orange is the New Black’ released to Netflix

Jenji Kohan’s critically-acclaimed Netflix series, “Orange is the New Black” is back for its second season. Set in a woman’s correctional facility, the high-brow humor, witty literary references, and evolving characters all bring an interesting twist to the prison television drama. Even better news for fans of the show, all 13 episodes of the second season have been released at one time, completely affirming the instant gratification, binge-viewing culture of which many of us are a part.

The show is based on a true story and a book by Piper Kerman called “Orange Is the New Black”: My Year in a Women’s Prison. Kerman also lends her first name to the shows main character, Piper Chapman.

The first season of the show was centered on Piper Chapman, played by Taylor Schilling, as she goes from being an engaged, well-to do New Yorker to a hardened inmate in the American justice system. Chapman turns herself in to authorities for a crime she committed 10 years prior with her at-the-time girlfriend, Alex, played by Laura Prepon of “That 70’s Show” fame. The two ex-lovers find themselves reunited after a decade, now amongst a host of comical and sometimes crazy inmates. Despite being a show centered on the lives of convicted criminals, the lines of black and white often blur as the characters and their motives develop throughout the course of the show.

The second season of the show reintroduces a Piper Chapman we have not seen before. No longer the scared woman thrown into the prison system, Chapman is hardened by her experiences and returning with a new, edgier perspective. With 13 more episodes, the spotlight has turned slightly away from Piper Chapman and toward the numerous women and guards that create such a brilliant show. As the numerous faces of the prison change and mature, the stories of the women mature with them. The development of the fantastic cast goes so far as to include an episode without the show’s main character involved.

The backgrounds of the supporting characters are told almost entirely through flashbacks of times before prison walls, snippets into the varied and colorful lives that this cast of characters used to live. From time spent in affluent families to committing credit card fraud, the show holds nothing back when it comes to creating a realistic group of prisoners. New introductions into the prison’s social atmosphere will bring up drama for returning characters as old faces disappear into the correctional system.

With the entirety of the goings-on inside of the prison walls, the outside world does sometimes seem a little boring in comparison. That may be the point, but the scenes of the show involving Piper’s fiancé Larry, played by Jason Biggs, seem a little too boring. While his struggles seem uninteresting in comparison, it is the contrast between the inside and outside worlds that was at one point the basis for the show.  Long gone are the days of Larry worrying about Piper and her time in prison, Now Piper struggles to make her own place in a cut-throat and sometimes confusing prison world.

Overall, what is most impressive about the second season of the show is its ability to create humility and humanity in a group of characters who share some violent and dangerous backgrounds.  Characters begin to develop beyond their stereotypes, and in many ways this is a good thing. With characters continuing to just fulfill archetypal roles a show can become stale and boring quite quickly, losing the interest that a new show carries with it. Jenji Kohan and the crew behind “Orange is the New Black” are continuing to prove that there is some real fight in the online media streaming industry. With Banners for the show streaming across major websites throughout the internet, the hype is out for the new season, and it’s definitely worth a watch.

Posted in Prime time review, Livenup on Wednesday, June 18, 2014 4:00 am. | Tags: Orange Is The New Black , Netflix , Jenji Kohan Comments (0)

Wednesday 06/04/2014
Prime Time Review: X-Men: Days of Future Past - where does it stand?

The newest addition to the line of X-Men movies provides a plethora of famous names and faces from both Hollywood and comic books, but does this star-studded action movie have the chops to be the hit of the summer?

“Days of Future Past” is the seventh film in the franchise spanning over a decade and is a sequel to 2011’s “X-Men: First Class” as well as 2006’s “X-Men: The Last Stand”.  The film is set in a future in which giant robots had been developed to hunt down all of the mutants in the world and once and for all end the mutant problem. But as with most plans to destroy one group of people, it backfires. Both humans and mutants become prime for the slaughter and the future seems all but lost. In a desperate bid to save their future, Prof. X and the X-Men send Wolverine back in time to change history and prevent their doom.

Cast in this desperate bid to save the world are almost all of the familiar names and faces associated with the X-Men film franchise. Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen come back to play their iconic roles as Professor X and Magneto, respectively. Alongside them are many of the classic X-Men we have seen before; Wolverine, Mystique, Storm, Beast, and a few thousand other mutants. Joining these long standing mutant actors are those that played their younger versions in the smashing success, “X-Men: First Class”.  Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy reprise their roles as the younger versions of Magneto and Professor Xavier.

Any movie with a plot based around time or dimensional travel can be a little confusing to grasp. While there is some attention that must be paid to what is going on, the movie flows through the twists and turns of the future’s past with Simon Kinberg’s fantastic screenplay. Reprising this obscure story line from the history of the X-Men comics seems to translate well onto the big screen.

Despite some complaints, the film has received nothing but glowing reviews from most fans and critics alike, many calling it the ideal summer blockbuster. Combining the plot lines from the end of “The Last Stand” and the climactic ending of “First Class” creates a volatile mixing pot for action. This combination may be a little confusing at first, but the all-star cast is an absolute smashing success.

After a decade-plus of X-Men movies and spin-offs, “Days of Future Past” makes us realize why we loved the X-Men in the first place. Fantastic action and stunning CGI effects teamed up with an all-star cast playing some of the most memorable characters in the world of comic books. Take your children, significant other, or even your friends out to see this summer blockbuster.

Posted in Livenup, Screening, Prime time review on Wednesday, June 4, 2014 4:00 am. Updated: 9:38 am. | Tags: X-men , X-men Days Of Future Past Comments (0)

Wednesday 05/28/2014
Prime Time Review: Microsoft announces new version of Xbox without Kinect

In a surprise announcement last week, Microsoft revealed a new model for their Xbox One home gaming console to be available to the public June 9. This Kinect-free unit will be on sale for $399. This change in the console’s hardware and an improved price tag will allow the Xbox to compete with the superior sales of Sony’s Playstation 4. Both of the consoles were released in time for the holidays last year after an exciting marketing war. Late last month, Sony released a figure stating that nearly 7 million units had been sold in the 5 months since the console’s release. Comparing this to the reported 5 million Xbox One units sold by Microsoft, a clear winner has emerged in the next generation of home gaming consoles.

This news comes as a surprise as Microsoft had been adamantly sticking to their guns on the implementation of their revolutionary motion control device. Called the next step in home gaming by Microsoft when it was announced to the public, the Kinect device operates much like a web cam and allows Xbox users to control their console through body movement and voice input. The news of the hardware’s removal in the new model comes almost exactly one year after the Xbox One was announced to be included with the motion capture device as a requirement for using the Xbox One.

Officials from Microsoft stated that the decision to remove the Kinect has come as a result of feedback from the gaming community. Requiring customers to have an array of microphones and a camera not only attached but operating to use the console was a feature of the Xbox One that was removed before launch last year after an enormous outcry. Microsoft seems to be listening to their customer base, occasionally, and is continuing to listen to feedback.

Microsoft deciding to remove the Kinect from the base model of the Xbox One allows users to operate their consoles and play games without the Kinect hardware. This could come as an improvement for many people wishing to play the Xbox One, but also as a detriment to many developers. This removal isn’t all bad, though. In theory the removal of the Kinect could also free up some significant processing space to enhance the Xbox One’s performance capability, something that the Playstation 4 holds the upper hand in.

Though the success of the Xbox One and the Kinect have remained below that of the Playstation 4, many developers and gamers were excited to use the Kinect on the Xbox One.

Offering an Xbox One model without the Kinect apparatus comes as a blow to many video game developers that were beginning to put together some impressive projects for the Kinect, Disney among them. Is Microsoft taking a step back from the hardware that they have so adamantly claimed is the future of the gaming vision?

Posted in Prime time review, Livenup on Wednesday, May 28, 2014 4:00 am. | Tags: Xbox , Kinect , Microsoft Comments (0)

Wednesday 11/12/2014

‘Interstellar’ solidifies director’s legacy

Wednesday 11/05/2014

Suge Knight and Katt Williams arrested for robbery in Beverly Hills

Wednesday 10/29/2014

Netflix offers hidden Halloween treats

Wednesday 10/22/2014

Prime Time Review: Disney may be planning three Obi-Wan Star Wars movies

Wednesday 10/15/2014

Tucson crawling with Halloween events

Wednesday 10/01/2014

Prime Time Review: University of Arizona and Fox Theatre team up for new downtown lecture series

Wednesday 09/24/2014

Prime Time Review: NCIS: New Orleans coming to your TV soon

Wednesday 08/27/2014

Prime Time Review: Two new ‘Jungle Book’ movies hitting theaters soon

Wednesday 08/20/2014

Prime Time Review: Waves of “Blackfish” documentary start to hit SeaWorld

Wednesday 08/13/2014

Will Arnett announces more ‘Arrested Development’

Wednesday 08/06/2014

Prime Time Review: Indie rock princess poised to hit mainstream

Wednesday 07/30/2014

Prime Time Review: Two upcoming shows hip-hop heads should not miss

Wednesday 07/23/2014

Prime Time Review: ‘Goosebumps’ film coming next summer

Wednesday 07/16/2014

Prime Time Review: Tabloid favorite Lindsay Lohan sues Rockstar over videogame character

Wednesday 07/09/2014

Primetime Review: Marvel continues to build with “Guardians of the Galaxy”

Wednesday 07/02/2014

Prime Time Review: North Korea threatens war over movie

Wednesday 06/25/2014

Prime Time Review: Tucsonan selected for CBS Reality TV

Wednesday 06/18/2014

Prime Time Review: ‘Orange is the New Black’ released to Netflix

Wednesday 06/04/2014

Prime Time Review: X-Men: Days of Future Past - where does it stand?

Wednesday 05/28/2014

Prime Time Review: Microsoft announces new version of Xbox without Kinect

Thursday 05/22/2014

Prime Time Review - Four summer films Likely to disappoint viewers

Wednesday 05/07/2014

Prime Time Review - Star Wars: Episode VII casting draws praise from Hamill, mixed reactions from fans

Wednesday 04/23/2014

Prime Time Review: AC/DC refutes retirement rumors despite absences

Wednesday 04/16/2014

Prime Time Review: Which “Colbert” will appear on “The Late Show”?

Wednesday 04/09/2014

David Letterman announces retirement

Wednesday 03/19/2014

Prime Time Review - Guided by Voices enhances prolific reputation

Wednesday 03/12/2014

Primetime Review: FX renews ‘Archer’ for a pair of new seasons

Wednesday 02/26/2014

Prime Time Review: New Godzilla poster debuts a massive king of monsters

Wednesday 02/19/2014

Primetime Review: “How I Met Your Dad” star has the right stuff

Wednesday 02/12/2014

Philip Seymour Hoffman: The death of a complicated man

Wednesday 01/29/2014

When does fame stop being an excuse?

Wednesday 01/15/2014

Will 2014 be the year of streaming media?

Wednesday 01/01/2014

Start the year with science at UA Mirror Lab

Wednesday 12/18/2013

Is Disney snatching up all your childhood heroes?

Wednesday 12/04/2013

Prime Time Review: Spike Lee’s ‘Oldboy’ remake holds true to the original

Wednesday 11/27/2013

Prime Time Review: Hottest electronics this holiday season

Wednesday 11/20/2013

Primetime Review: El Tour de Tucson rides into town

Wednesday 11/06/2013

Prime Time Review: Horror fans rejoice, Bruce Campbell slated to return as Ash in ‘Army of Darkness 2’

Wednesday 10/23/2013

Prime Time Review: ‘South Park’ falls short of airing deadline for the first time

Wednesday 10/09/2013

Prime Time Review: Prolific author Tom Clancy dies in Baltimore at 66

Wednesday 09/25/2013

Prime Time Review: Grand Theft Auto V lives up to the hype

Wednesday 09/18/2013

Prime Time Review: New iPhone reveals Apple’s ups and downs?

Wednesday 09/11/2013

Jack Nicholson’s ‘retirement’ causes a stir. But is it true?

Wednesday 09/04/2013

Prime Time Review: Lessons to be learned from 2013’s summer films

Wednesday 08/21/2013

‘The Civil Wars’ bittersweet rise to number one

Wednesday 08/14/2013

Primetime Review: Amber Tamblyn to guest star on “Two and a Half Men”

Wednesday 08/07/2013

Prime Time Review: Johnny Depp warns of future retirement

Wednesday 07/31/2013

Primetime Review: The legacy of Walter White - ‘Breaking Bad’ series finale is almost here

Thursday 07/25/2013

Prime Time Review: Comic-Con is a hotspot for fresh ideas

Wednesday 07/17/2013

Primetime Review: Mount Lemmon SkyCenter to supply beautiful views

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