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Posts from January 2015

Project Almanac

When I was a little kid, one of my favorite movies was called The Explorers.  It starred River Phoenix and Ethan Hawke when they were like 15-years-old.  It was about a bunch of teenagers who were really interested in science and they end up decoding a mysterious message they get from space to make a spaceship that they use to meet the aliens who sent it to them.  It was awesome...when I was 7-years-old.  I actually have no idea how it holds up now.  The beginning of Project Almanac has a similar vibe and made me feel nostalgic and hopeful for a movie that has the same impact on a new generation.  When it was over, it certainly made an impact with me and that impact was disappointment.

The plot for Project Almanac is almost exactly like The Explorers except instead of a spaceship they build a time machine.  Now, it doesn't matter how good or bad a time travel movie is, I end up getting a migraine when it's over trying to figure out how it all adds up at the end.  The finest example of time travel cinema is the Back to the Future trilogy and even that has its moments where it doesn't quite work out logically.  Project Almanac does such a poor job of trying to have it make sense on a scientific level that it's actually easier to enjoy because it's so stupid.  I know I'm being a stickler on that aspect so if you don't care about whether or not the impact of time jumping makes sense in the story than ignore this...just know that in this film it certainly does not.

The cast if filled with unfamiliar teenage faces which is usually a kiss of death but here you buy that they are friends and they actually have some pretty funny back-and-forth with each other.  Allen Evangelista and Jonny Weston (Taken 3, Chasing Mavericks) are the scene stealers and actually are both pretty talented.  The problem with the film isn't the cast, it's the director.  I try not to come down too hard on first time directors, like Dean Israelite here.  I especially don't want to rag on him considering Project Almanac is produced by director Michael Bay (the Transformers and Bad Boys movies).  The man has a reputation for having an ego as large as his films' budgets and a mouth that's even bigger.  I would imagine working under that is very, very difficult...especially for a newb.

The reason why the direction is what sunk this film is because it uses the "found footage" vehicle as the narrative.  This shaky, hand-held, first person approach to movies has beaten a dead horse so hard that it's beaten through it and is now beating the ground under it.  In 1999, I sat in the Anjelica Theater in lower Manhattan and watched The Blair Witch Project, the first film to bring this style to the mainstream.  At the time, the "found footage" approach made everyone in that theater think they were watching a snuff film that really showed the deaths of three people in the woods.  It was terrifying because we didn't know any better.  That was 16 years ago and there have probably been 100 films done that way since and it's no longer effective.  

Project Almanac is the kind of film that's easy to pummel as a horrible time in a theater.  That's probably why a lot of critics will.  I personally didn't think it was all that bad once you get past the exhausting and implausible first person camerawork, illogical science in a science-fiction and meaningless, empty romantic subplot.  However, if you go see it and can't get past all that, you may find yourself wishing the device for time travel was real so you could go back and avoid wasting your time.

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The Snow Never Bothered Them Anyway

A bona fide blizzard hit Boston and the Northeast this week, and there was an awful lot of complaining.

But there was no complaining at the New England Aquarium, where some of the residents took full advantage of the snow day.

Check out this video of some fur seals having an absolute blast with the weather.

And check out the Marine Mammal Trainers blog for more info and some super cute pix.

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Topics : Weather
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Locations : Boston


These Guys LOVE the Patriots

In the media firestorm that's come to be known as Deflategate, it's become pretty clear that the New England Patriots are the most hated football team in the NFL.

But there's still plenty of people who love this team and its players.

Like these guys, who stepped up on Jimmy Kimmel Live last night to take the hit for letting the air out of those footballs.

Each one of them claims to be "the locker room guy" responsible for letting the air out of the balls.

Wait. Do a couple of these guys look familiar...?

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Will This Be Katy Perry's Halftime Song?

Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch took the stage during media week leading up to the Super Bowl because he was obligated to do so.

But I guess he didn't think he was obligated to say anything, because the answer to every question was a variation on "I'm just here so I don't get fined."

It was pretty funny to watch, but the NFL didn't think so. They're considering whacking him with a huge fine.

So what are they going to do to Katy Perry, the Big Game's halftime performer, who used the same line in a pre-Super Bowl interview?

Check out this mashup of Marshawn and Katy saying the same thing over and over.

If someone sets this to music, we're talking straight to the top of the charts.

Katy could sing it during halftime.

I wonder if the NFL would let Marshawn out of the locker room for a few minutes to make it a duet?

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Topics : Sports
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People : Katy PerryMarshawn Lynch


Captain America Vs. Guardian of the Galaxy!

Chris Evans is Captain America. He's a fan of the New England Patriots. Something to do with the red, white and blue, perhaps?

Chris Pratt is a Guardian of the Galaxy. He favors the Seattle Seahawks.

And for the past two weeks, the Captain and the Guardian have been at war. On Twitter, anyway.

There have been wagers about who will do what if the other's team wins. But with their last tweets, the pair upped the ante with some back and forth images.

First, this one from Chris Pratt, showing Patriots QB Tom Brady feasting on some sort of bird...
Followed by this one from Chris Evans, showing Seahawks QB Russell Wilson in a different sort of uniform... Personally, I hope the bantering goes on long after the game is done.
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Topics : Sports
People : Chris EvansChris PrattRussell WilsonTom Brady


"Get Out of Here, You Low-Life Scum"

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger arrived at a Senate hearing yesterday chaired by Senator John McCain.

As the 91-year-old Kissinger took his seat, a group of protestors rose from theirs and started chanting, "Arrest Henry Kissinger for war crimes."

They did it in a sort of sing-song way, but it really missed the mark.

Kissinger didn't even seem to notice. Could be years of practice, could be that he's 91.

But McCain did, and ordered the police officers in the room to remove the protestors.

And as they were led out, McCain delivered the verbal coup de gras: "Get out of here, you low-life scum."

Tell it like it is, Senator!

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Topics : Politics
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People : Henry KissingerJohn McCain


Ted 2 On the Way

Seth MacFarlane is back, people!

A couple of years ago, his movie about a teddy bear that came to life earned the distinction of being "the highest-grossing original R-rated comedy of all time." That's according to comingsoon.net, and why would they lie?

On June 26, Ted 2 will hit the theaters, and the trailer for it hit the internet yesterday.

Mark Wahlberg is back as Ted's best friend, and Morgan Freeman is part of the cast.

Morgan. Freeman.

In a movie about a talking teddy bear.

Now you want to see it too, don't you?

Here's the trailer...

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"Lost Dog" Overcomes Obstacles

Budweiser released their 2015 Super Bowl commercial yesterday. At this writing, "Lost Dog" has already had over 8 million views on YouTube.

The little puppy gets into a horse trailer at the Clydesdale ranch, and gets driven away.

Not to worry - he escapes in the city, and finds his way home, overcoming all obstacles.

Wait, what's that behind the tree, with his home within sight?

Is it a wolf? Uh oh...

You can watch the rest on your own...

Except for the presence of the Clydesdales and the Budweiser cap on the guy who runs the place, I'm not really sure what this has to do with beer, but that's probably not all that important...


And for a little extra fun, check out this short clip that shows you some behind-the-scenes footage of the puppies used in this spot.

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Topics : Human Interest
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Jason's Interview with Sgt. Slaughter

Jason got to interview one of his childhood heroes, WWE Legend Sgt. Slaughter.

WWE Hall of Famer Sgt. Slaughter came to 107.9 the End to help promote WWE WrestleMania Axxess, which takes takes place Thursday, March 26 through Sunday, March 29 at the San Jose Convention Center.

WrestleMania Axxess is an interactive fan festival where fans can meet the WWE Superstars, witness live in ring matches and view rare memorabilia. Tickets go on sale the morning of Saturday, January 31.

Tickets for the 2015 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at SAP Center are currently on sale through Ticketmaster. The event takes place Saturday, March 28.
Listen to Jason interview with WWE legend Sgt. Slaughter:

  Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

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Clearing the Finish Line

While a near-record snowfall covered the City of Boston, one man tried to stay ahead of the white stuff.

Chris Laudani, a bartender, finished his shift early on Tuesday night, grabbed a shovel and headed for Boylston Street and the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

On his own, he cleared the finish line - site of the horrific bombings - of snow.

He wasn't looking for anything.

"I only did it to send a message," he later told Boston Magazine after his identity was determined. I love the Boston Marathon and everything it stands for, the finish line doesn't deserve to be covered in snow."

So touching...
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Topics : Sports
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Locations : Boston
People : Chris Laudani


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