Friday, October 21, 2011

Pi Receipt

It was the perfect amount, and someone took advantage of that...

The sad thing here is they left an 11% tip.

Hopefully the joke helped a little.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

In honor of Steve Jobs

I'm not sure if this is messed up or incredibly clever, but either way... enjoy!


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Battle of the Snow Whites: Julia Roberts VS Charlize Theron

Julia Roberts vs. Charlize Theron: Showdown With The Casts Of The Snow White Projects

Author: Eric Eisenberg

One of the biggest battles of 2012 will be between Universal Studios and Relativity Media... both film companies have their own takes on the Snow White fairy tale coming out during the 12 month stretch. We’ve already seen the studios butt heads over release dates – Relativity pushing Tarsem Singh’s Untitled Snow White project up to March 16th while Universal has Rupert Sanders’ Snow White and the Huntsman dated for June 1st – but what if the characters themselves went head to head?

Early this morning the first images from Singh’s version of the Grimm fairy tale came online and when looking at the Snow White and the Huntsman images from Comic Con, I got to thinking: how would Kristen Stewart’s princess do against Lily Collins’? Could Armie Hammer kick Chris Hemsworth’s ass? What would be the result of a battle between Charlize Theron and Julia Roberts? Below you will find my complete breakdown.

Battle of the Snow Whites: Kristen Stewart vs. Lily CollinsLooking at these two images, I know exactly what you’re thinking: “Eric, one of these young ladies is wielding a sword and shield while the other is sitting pretty in a fluffy blue dress. This is a no brainer.” To that I say not so fast. Stewart may have the equipment (the sword is actually below the picture), but Collins has the numbers. Stewart looks all sad and alone in that photo because she has no friends, meanwhile the bright and shiny, happy-looking princess is surrounded by seven dwarfs that are clearly a little off kilter. Hell, Mickey from Seinfeld has a battle helmet on and one of the dudes in the back clearly murdered and decided to wear a ferocious beast. Plus, that big fluffy dress would be pretty damn hard to stab.



Battle of the Dashing Hero: Chris Hemsworth vs. Armie Hammer
Now things are getting a little interesting. These are both strapping young men wielding hardcore weapons that could easily kill a man. But let’s do a little bit of body language analysis, shall we? First let’s take a gander at Hemsworth. His hair is straggly and looks like it hasn’t been washed in weeks, he has a beard (which is a +1 in any fight), his eyes suggest that he’s not too happy with the way you’re looking at him, and the axe is slung over his shoulder like it’s no big deal. Now let’s move over to Hammer. Yes, his sword is thrust forward, but he seems to be leaning back a bit taking a defensive stance. His coat is nice and shiny and I polar bears would be envious of how white that shirt is. If these characters were to actually fight, Hemsworth would probably be okay with getting stabbed a few times provided it got him close enough to chop off Hammer’s head. But let’s be real, this was over the second I noticed the beard.



Battle of the Evil Queen: Charlize Theron vs. Julia RobertsThis is a much different kind of battle than the last two. Neither of these characters are inclined to do any physical labor themselves, so they definitely aren’t going to be picking up arms against each other. No, this is a battle of malevolence; a war that is won by the queen that simply wants it more. Ignoring the dagger in Theron’s hands (that’s clearly for show, come on), the high-collar and black dress looks so damn evil that Osama bin Laden would have thought it was a bit too much. Then there’s Roberts relaxing deep in her chair and wearing a dress so big that even if she were to try and stand she probably wouldn’t be able to find the floor. She looks so damn relaxed that you could Photoshop a remote control into her right hand and nobody would blink an eye. The choice is simple: one of these ladies simply wanted it more.



BONUS ROUND - Battle of the Other Guys: Sam Claflin vs. Nathan Lane

Seriously? Come on. It’s in the eyes.


FINAL ANALYSIS: By a final score of 3-1, the winner of this contest is Snow White and the Huntsman, but the war is from over. To learn more about both films be sure to check out each one’s individual pages in our Blend Film Database HERE and HERE. With that I’ll throw it to you:

Which do you think will be the better Snow White movie?

Snow White and the Huntsman - 71%
Tarsem Singh's Snow White Project - 29%


This is funny, because I was just thinking how much better the Tarsem Singh project (Untitled Snow White) was going to be than the Rupert Sanders one (Snow White and the Huntsman).

Sure the Sanders one has more names... Charlize Theron (Hancock, Italian Job, Monster), Kristen Stewart (Twilight), Chris Hemsworth (Thor, Star Trek, and the upcoming Avengers and Red Dawn)... all of which have headlined hit films (that's three A-List actors in the top roles). Plus add to it the dwarfs are CGI'd pro full-size actors with names like Ian McShane (Blackbeard in Pirates 4), Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz), Ray Winstone (Beowulf), and Bob Hoskins (Who Framed Roger Rabbit).

Why didn't they team up Bob Hoskins to battle Nathan Lane instead? That would have seemed more fair. =^)

Anyway, compare those names to a great cast where your only A-List star name is Julia Roberts (Valentine's Day, Ocean's Eleven, Erin Brokovich, Runaway Bride, Notting Hill, My Best Friend's Wedding, Hook, Pretty Woman). And then the other names are Nathan Lane (Timon in Lion King), Sean Bean (006 in Goldeneye, Lord of the Rings, National Treasure, Troy, Percy Jackson), Lily Collins as Snow White (Blind Side, Abduction).

There's no comparison in star power between the films, and yes, the grittier photos from the Sanders' Huntsman would make all their characters win in a fight. However, there are a few elements to consider that actors aren't going to give you.

First is the director. Tarsem's big film debut was one of the most beautiful and visually compelling films of all time... 2000's The Cell... which was also a big flop, a huge stumbling block for Jennifer Lopez's career, and it certainly didn't help Vince Vaughn get to his hit comedies any faster. Simply put, the story and concept weren't appealing to the mass audience.

However, Tarsem's not a writer, and he's been hard at work banking on good writers. His next/third film will prove that... The Immortals (coming November 2011), which is probably the freshest big budget film to star no A-List actors in a long time (just Mickey Rourke, John Hurt, and Stephen Dorff in supporting roles).

And that film will show that Tarsem's been looking for good writing. That's where his Untitled Snow White has the edge.

Plus this is Rupert's first film. Not his first film he's directed. His first film period. He hasn't made a name for himself directing music videos, commercials, or anything else. Nothing. He's a noob... albeit a noob with a gritty film and an impressive quiver full of star power.

Now listen to the stories. Here's Rupert's Hunstman:

"In a twist to the fairy tale, the Huntsman ordered to take Snow White into the woods to be killed winds up becoming her protector and mentor in a quest to vanquish the Evil Queen."

Sounds cool. Right? They seemed to have turned it into a Medieval film (feels like a Braveheart-style revenge quest). They named the dwarves after Roman caesars (Ian McShane is the leader/Doc... Caesar).

It's obviously a love triangle where Snow White (Kristen Stewart) ends up picking the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) over Prince Charmant (Sam Claflin). Especially since the love triangle thing worked so well for her in Twilight. This time she's going to go for the underdog (instead of the bigger/popular hero like she did in Twilight; sorry Jacob). You can always tell because they tend to cast the A-List actor in the role where the guy gets the girl (why pay money to disappoint fans?).

So you've got this love triangle, gritty medieval time where, surprise, Snow White gets the Huntsman instead. However, Charlize Theron does have us excited.

Now compare that to this...

"A dark twist on the classic fairy tale, in which Snow White and the seven dwarfs look to reclaim their destroyed kingdom."

And I can't help but be more excited by the film that seems closer to Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland than the one that seems closer to Gladiator.

Snow is a "delicate
 princess trying to overthrow her wicked stepmother with the aid of seven dwarfs, who bedevil the kingdom as woodland bandits." They take her in an train her in different skills to fight. Tarsem says of Collins, who may look delicate, "Surprisingly, from the first day she came in, she's very physical."

Lily reminds me of Aubrey Hepburn.

In this version of Snow White, which will stay truer to the original Brothers Grimm fairy tale, Julia Roberts plays the Evil Queen, Sean Bean her husband, the King, and Armie Hammer as the prince. Collins goes on to explain: "She's a naive innocent young girl who turns into a woman and really finds herself".

In comparison to the dainty Snow White we all know, this won't be the same. "She's very much that fairy tale princess we’ve all read about in books. She's been modernized in a way that she becomes a fighter in the end." Relativity will be bringing Tarsem's Snow White to theaters March 16th, 2012.

And look at the majesty of this...

"I wanted a person who is just schizophrenic. She's a person who would just do all the evil she needs to do to stay in power," Tarsem says. Time to be introduced to the new Evil Queen, the talented Julia Roberts in Tarsem Singh & Relativity's Snow White movie, based on The Brothers Grimm tale, yet is still untitled. Entrainment Weekly has unveiled a big first look, with photos of Roberts in her elaborate, sparkly dresses, designed by Eiko Ishioka (Bram Stoker's Dracula), as well as a few of pics of Lily Collins as Snow White, and her seven dwarfs. Plus a shot of Armie Hammer. Suffice it to say, I have no excitement for this at all.

"She's the cat that ate the canary," Tarsem tells EW of the Evil Queen in his story. "I decided for the evil queen, this is going to be a person who sees her [good] self — but there's a mirror personality." I've added a few of the better photos below, but you can see the entire gallery here or read the full EW piece on Tarsem's Snow White, which needs a damn title already considering it's supposed to be out in March. So take a look!

The interviews are from:


And most people don't know this, but both pictures typically win when they release similar films in the same year (that's why they do it). Or at least one film does better than it otherwise would. Examples... Braveheart and Rob Roy, Armageddon and The Core, Twister and Dante's Peak, and the success of Alvin and the Chipmunks and Scooby Doo gave us Garfield, Yogi Bear, and Smurfs.

But the question is... with all of these fantastic live-action remakes to Snow White (including Julia Roberts), where's Disney?

The same place they were with Hook (also starring Julia Roberts)... behind the game.

So Julia Roberts seems to be doing live-action remakes to Disney films that aren't being produced by Disney (Hook and now Snow White)! Disney better get on the ball!

Disney won with Glen Close's Cruella in 101 Dalmatians and Johnny Depp's Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland (which made over a billion dollars), but they dropped the ball with Hook and now Snow White. Get on the ball, Disney!

What other Disney animated films will be made into live-action, big-budget films?
- Pinnochio
- Aladdin
- Beauty and the Beast
- The Little Mermaid
- Winnie the Pooh
- Peter Pan (again; two attempts were made so far)
- Cinderella (Drew Barrymore's wasn't "big")
- Sleeping Beauty
- Rapunzel/Tangled
- Dumbo
- The Rescuers
- Princess and the Frog
- Pocahontas
- Atlantis
- Mulan
- Lilo & Stitch
- Jungle Book (again, but "bigger")
- Fantasia (with Mickey instead of Jay Baruchel)
- Brother Bear
- Jack and the Beanstalk (non-Disney in the works)
- Bambi
- Black Cauldron
- Lady & the Tramp
- Hercules
- Aristocats
- Sword in the Stone
- Fox and the Hound
- Treasure Planet
- Great Mouse Detective
- Lion King
- Robin Hood (with animals)
- Oliver and Company
- Emperor's New Groove
- Hunchback of Notre Dame



Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Phil Hartman as Michael Eisner - Come to Disney World (SNL)

NBC/SNL released this older clip of Phil Hartman.

Michael Eisner tries to explain that families will have a better time in northern Florida.

It's only one joke, but it's good to see Phil again. This aired on SNL on 10/2/93. Phil was nominated for an Emmy for his work on SNL during that same season (93-94). (Being nominated for an Emmy for acting on SNL is quite an honor, and it has only happened for 18 folks.)


Sunday, October 09, 2011

TV Teaches Girls To Fight

Beyond Catfights: TV That's Good for Girls

Do you remember when you were a kid, about 9 or 10, and your best friend was everything to you? You'd stay up late during sleepovers, play silly games, and concoct crazy stories about your future? And then one day, you grew up, and you threw a glass of champagne in her face for calling your sequined cocktail dress ugly. Wait ... what?

If we believe the stories that so many TV shows tell us about female friendship, this scenario would seem wholly realistic. From America's Next Top Model and Bad Girls Club to The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, girls are portrayed as competitive, backstabbing rivals who overreact to every perceived slight.

And it's not just reality shows that reinforce the stereotype that women can't get along. Scripted teen favorites like Gossip Girl and 90210 regularly pit so-called friends against each other. Most of us grown-ups can see through the hype of TV shows that amp up the drama -- shows that egg on the competition, poking the camera into the melee, just hoping for the perfect catfight. But what kind of message is this girl-fight mentality sending to young women who are still trying to figure out their place in the world?

[Editor's note: Even Disney Channel shows like Hannah Montanna, Suite Life, Wizards of Waverly Place, and the latest batch... all have the theme of deception and rivalry among girls, siblings, and friends.]

It's an unsettling message, that's for sure, one that undermines the support that real female friendships can provide.

And while networks pump up the drama to attract viewers, there are lots of shows that don't wallow in the negative. You can counteract iffy messages by reminding kids and teens what friends can achieve together. Also, point out when shows go for cheap entertainment with tired stereotypes. And finally, choose entertainment that sends a better message to your kids. Here are our favorite weapons against girl hate.

SciGirls, 7+ (PBS) -- This science-oriented educational show highlights girls working together to construct or develop experiments to learn about the world around them. Girls encourage and have fun together while modeling enthusiasm for science.

iCarly, 8+ (Nickelodeon) -- This hugely popular tween sitcom might not be the most realistic, but Carly and Sam are good friends, even though their relationship isn't always perfect. Though they do sometimes compete with each other, they also stand up for each other, and some touching moments highlight how valuable female friendships can be.

Picker Sisters, 10+ (Lifetime) -- These interior designers travel the country looking for odd junk that they can transform into boutique-friendly best-sellers while demonstrating how well two women can work together. Their enthusiasm for each other and their work is infectious and positive.

Born to Dance, 12+ (BET) -- Yes, it's a dance competition, but the contestants are supportive of each other, and host Laurieann Gibson is as encouraging of the losers as the winners. A great example of how women can seek excellence for themselves without demeaning others.

Tia & Tamera, 13+ (Style) -- Real-life sisters go through ups and downs as they navigate different stages of their lives, but in the end they're always there for each other.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 13+ (DVD) -- This is an oldie but goodie that never fell victim to silly stereotypes about female friendships. Buffy and Willow are best friends through thick and thin, and even Buffy's female rivals don't fight her over a man -- but rather over the survival of the world.

2 Broke Girls, 14+ (CBS) -- The latest girl-buddy show (aimed at adults, but OK for mature teens) trades a few barbs between the female leads, but ultimately this odd couple shows that being different doesn't mean being rivals.

Parks and Recreation, 14+ (NBC) -- Amy Poehler and Rashida Jones are hilarious and realistic as friends/co-workers who encounter all sorts of wacky scenarios. Their friendship shows that they can stand by each other, even if they sometimes disagree. That's what real friendship is, right?


ANT Farm, 8+ (Disney Channel) -- [Editor's Note: I'm adding this one to the list.] This team of genius friends do a great job of breaking racial boundaries and being kind to each other.


Thursday, October 06, 2011

Movie Review - Robin Hood (with Russell Crowe)

By Alex Popp

The untold story behind the legend.

Following King Richard's death in France, archer Robin Longstride (played by Russell Crowe), along with Will Scarlett, Alan-a-Dale and Little John, returns to England in "Robin Hood", directed by Ridley Scott.

They encounter the dying Robert of Locksley, whose party was ambushed by treacherous Godfrey, who hopes to facilitate a French invasion of England. Robin promises the dying knight he will return his sword to his father Walter in Nottingham. Here Walter encourages him to impersonate the dead man to prevent his land being confiscated by the crown, and he finds himself with Marian, a ready-made wife. Hoping to stir baronial opposition to weak King John and allow an easy French take-over, Godfrey worms his way into the king's service as Earl Marshal of England and brutally invades towns under the pretext of collecting Royal taxes.

This premise may sound intriguing, but I saw it with my dad, who is an expert on the Medieval ages, and we both noticed different flaws and errors. With this sort of semi-historical movie, you have to be willing to suspend reality in the distortions of history. For example, while "Braveheart" was a fantastic film in all respects, the liberties taken with historical accuracy are legion. This film takes liberties as well (it must since Robin Hood is considered fiction), but it lacks the quality and luster of its predecessors.

First, I have to say that Russell Crowe, who is a major draw in historical epics, is clearly too old for the lead character. As the premise suggests, the movie is supposed to be a prequel to the average Robin Hood story, meaning that in this story, Robin Hood would be 25 at eldest. Russell Crowe is going on 50 and no one could imagine him being a young man. Cate Blanchett is much the same as Marion, though not as bad.

As for the performances themselves, this was, by far, not Crowe's best. Blanchett is lovely and handles her strong character well, but as a women who is willing to wear armor and fight in battle, it is far too trite for Crowe to have to rescue her at the end. I groaned when she had to recite the line "Walter, this one's for you". I think the writers could have done far better. Von Sydow is a joy to watch as his performance is the best in the film. Friar Tuck is obviously intended to be comedy relief, but this falls flat. Robin's battle companions seem present only to give tie-ins to the common Robin Hood tales. They remain on the fringes of the film, are uninteresting, and it is difficult to care much about them. I wouldn't fault the actors in this film; they seemed to have done the best of what was given to them, but the problem was the screenplay.

The action sequences are typical Ridley Scott, but after so many of his films, the quick-action, close-up shots are growing tiresome. It has reached the point were the quick-cut photography now makes it too hard to determine exactly what is happening on the battlefield.

Another thing my dad noticed were the weapons which were clearly all leftovers from another Ridley Scott film: "Kingdom of Heaven", one of my dad's favorite movies. The shields are so poorly repainted that you can see large areas of chipping around the edges. And one of the things I noticed was that there were war scars on every warrior's face. Really?

By far, biggest disappointment with the movie was the appearance of the invading French soldiers in wooden "LSTs" (landing ship transports). In the year 1199 troop transports were seldom more than commandeered trade ships. No Navy in the history of the world ever built such a thing out of lumber. Do you know how when you go to a movie in the theater, you kind of forget that you're there and feel in the movie? When you notice this obvious anachronism, you're back in the theater, and you can no longer buy in to the story. What were the writers thinking??

Overall, it is apparent that this was something the moviemakers saw as something they could just slap together with Russell Crowe, and really weren't trying.

Rated PG-13 for intense war sequences and some sexual content.

Two stars (out of four) for "Robin Hood," one of the worst fims of 2010.

Written by Alex Popp for the Animation Empire blog.


From the Emperor...

Hmmm. I think this review shows details as negatives... details that you might not care about. Overall, it's a fun and interesting tale that I recommend, but "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" is more fun and interesting than this version. So if you're looking for a more gritty and less silly film than that classic, then this is it.

Of course, if you want to get even sillier than "Prince of Thieves," then there's always the classicer "Robin Hood: Men in Tights".

And you have to check out the classicest Disney animated version (you know, with the foxes and animals; which is also the only Disney animated film where the animals are anthropomorphized in a world without humans).

- The Emperor

Monday, October 03, 2011

Music Review - Chris Young: The Man I Want To Be

By Alex Popp

The second studio album from American Country Singer Chris Young.


The first track, "That Makes Me", tells us that this guy is natural in terms of country. It asserts "I don't swear in front of no woman," even though the song uses h---. Oh no, what if a woman is listening to the song? Although, he does claim "I answer yes, sir to my old man." Okay, that's good. But still, the very next line is "I drink my liquor with a side of nothin'." These things don't make a very good him. However...

Whatever he does, he hears "Voices." These include his father encouraging him to work hard and his mother telling him to give money to church and say a prayer every night. Even when he disagrees with these wishes, he always respects them ("Sometimes I try to ignore 'em/But I thank God for 'em/'Cause they made me who I am").

On "The Dashboard," before a brother goes off to war, he tells Chris to take care of his Ford. He says that it will be his if he doesn't return. But when he does, he gives it to him anyway. The song's okay, but has a suggestive line in the chorus: "It's seen a lot of tan legs, got a kick-a-- radio."

In "Gettin' You Home" the singer says that he doesn't care about an evening dance because the only thing on his mind is going home with her afterwards for a night of sex. This song would be better if he was talking to his wife.

Sexual immorality also creates a problem on "It Takes a Man," which is about an unexpected pregnancy that was his fault.

He comes across "The Shoebox" that he packed with memories that he cherishes. For the first time since he died, he opens the pocketknife that was given to him from his grandfather. This is a really good song. In fact, my dad said it was one that he'd have bought the whole CD for.

In the 80s song, "Rose in Paradise," (here a duet with Willie Nelson) a banker leaves town hiring a man to tend to his girlfriend. When he comes back, they were both gone, apparently married, and the banker grows old without her.

"Twenty-One Candles" is about two parents trying to calm their over-confident eighteen-year-old who is on the verge of moving out.

"God, I want to be Your man and I want to be her man." Regretting selfish love that not only doomed a romance but made him a wretch as he says, he turns to God
for a second chance and prays that He'd change him into "The Man I Want To Be."-a great song!

The album concludes with a special rendition of the 60s classic "Rainy Night In Georgia."


Chris Young seems to be of everyday country music; mostly upbeat, but bushwhacked by some unfortunate alcohol and sex abuse and occasional mild profanities. I bought the CD for the title track. That song means a lot to me because I heard it after I gave my life to God praying that he'd change me into "The Man I Want To Be." This song definitely makes up for the previous miscues. "Voices," "The Shoebox," and "Rainy Night in Georgia" also make good additions to this album. I recommend this album for the most part. Just skip 4 and 5.


Written by Alex Popp for the Animation Empire blog.

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