An all-day Marvel marathon for diehard Avengers fans

Movie theaters across the country will be swarming with fanboys and fangirls Thursday, May 3.

And not just fro the midnight premiere of Marvel Comic’s epic, star-studded, BIG blockbuster THE AVENGERS.

This time, the action starts an entire 12 hours early with the ultimate Marvel marathon.

Starting at 11:30 AM, diehard fans can watch all six comic book films leading up to the debut of Marvel’s now world-famous team-up.

It seems The Avengers will catapult past X-Men as Marvel’s most popular franchise, at least in movies. The film has already grossed $178 million overseas, and the marathon will only add to the buzz…and profits.

AMC Theaters seemed to have the idea first, with movie site Fandango capturing the details (and your money).

If you’re not near an AMC, there’s also:

Cinemark’s Marvel Avengers Movie MarathonCinebarre’s Marvel Avengers Movie MarathonRegal’s Marvel MarathonKerasotes’ The Avengers Anthology and the Carmike Marvel Maniac Super Hero’s Movie Marathon.

Check the pricing and the options as some movies are in 2D, others in 3D. AMC is charing $40 for the whole deal, while Cinemark is undercutting them at $20 but with fewer locations. Regal is offering 5 of the movies for $35.

Who’s calling out of work on Thursday? (Not me, I’ve got the day off!)

The six movies to be screened lead up to the midnight debut of The Avengers:

Iron Man
The Incredible Hulk
Iron Man 2
Thor
Captain America
The Avengers

INCEPTION STYLE

The viral video phenomenon known as YouTube has struck again.

And this time…it’s serious.

While the astounding summer movie “Inception” may no longer be in theaters, its finding a new life of its own through YouTube.

Or at least the trailer and its epic soundtrack by Hans Zimmer are living on…in more ways than one.

A stream of Internet spoofs have arrived once again, this time using the audio from the moody, loud and overdramatic audio from the “Inception” trailer to create a new preview for an old movie.

Not even Christopher Nolan’s other films are off limits. There are even spoofs of The Dark Night, Batman Begins, Memento and Superman Returns.

It started with UPCEPTION, a remixed “Up” trailer synced to the “Inception” preview:

Then I heard about TOYCEPTION, a mashup of the Toy Story 3 and Inception trailers:

Hilarious! Ingenious!

Simple formula: take family Pixar movie A, mix with not-so-family friendly “Inception” trailer and voila! You have yourself a comedic viral video masterpiece.

And this is how YouTube works, again and again. Someone has a good idea, makes it, uploads it, shares it and then everyone else spoofs it. It can be obnoxious as hell, but these new trailers are all pretty funny. And nothing goes untouched – the best ones are classic comedies like Dumb & Dumber and Superbad (see videos below), but anything is fair game – even LOST, which isn’t a movie, Titanic, Space Jam, Step Up 3D, Star Wars, Austin Powers, Christmas Vacation, Dogma, The Hangover, The Lion King, Big Lebowski, Star Trek and many, many MORE.

Here are some of my favorite Inception mashups – or as the YouTubers call them, Inception Style:

SUPERBAD, INCEPTION STYLE:

DUMB & DUMBER, INCEPTION STYLE:

LION KING, INCEPTION STYLE:

Bay Area band Mata Leon emerges with fresh focus

San Francisco-based Mata León opened a growling late-night indie show at Hollywood club Boardner’s last week.

The band performed on an outdoor stage inside a smoke-filled patio while a crowd of rebellious 18-year-olds and leather-stricken twenty-somethings watched with a hint of awe.

The set was short, but the four-piece put out some serious soul in its bluesy brand of indie-rock.

Comparisons are hard to draw, but both classic and modern influences are clear in the moody, hook-driven songs.

The four Bay Area musicians – vocalist Spencer Dräger, guitarist Brian DaMert, bassist Greg Sellin and drummer Sam Totty –  have been playing together for eight years.

But until about six months ago, they were going under the name Overview.

The group started in high school, playing lunchtime and local shows before growing into a buzzworthy act that AbsolutePunk called “refreshing, refreshing, refreshing” after hearing the 2007 EP “Forty-Four Stone Tigers.”

Overview played its final show in July, and since then, the tigers have stepped back from playing every show they could get their hands on (three national tours across 43 states, according to Sellin).

Instead, they went back into the studio and found a new focus: something more simple and literal that fit the four’s San Francisco style, culture and taste.

“We laid low for four or five-months, spending every day in the studio writing and scrapping songs, deciding a new direction to go in. We got into different tastes in music, [and wanted a] fresh start,” says Sellin.

The band members, all in their mid-20s, quietly reemerged as Mata León, which means the lion killer in Portugese.

“I want to bring the love and culture from SF out,” says Sellin. “It’s like nowhere else in the world. You take it for granted a lot growing up in such a musically cultured and politically-minded place. But it’s unbelievable when you compare it to someone who spent their life growing up in Iowa.”

The new band has only a handful of tracks on Myspace, and plans to release an EP in the spring.

Sellin says Mata León’s sound isn’t the epic orchestra of sounds that Overview was.

“We’re concentrating more on a vibe of a song. Less trying to show off with complex instrumentation and just concentrate on creating a feeling, an emotion throughout a song instead of just great parts,” he told me after the Los Angeles gig.

The group hopes to do things one better this time around. Sellin says they will “pick their shots” and be more selective with performances.

Keep an eye on tour dates, as the band will be up and down the West Coast in the coming months. And if you’re checking out South by Southwest next month, you can catch Mata León on the Pabst Blue Ribbon stage.

New music by natives

Listen to “Sun Hands” here

Check out this track. It’s called “Sun Hand” and its by Local Natives.

I first saw this band open up for one of my favorite bands, Facing New York at the Troubadour in West Hollywood. That was in October 2008. Phew, that sounds like a longgg time ago.

Anyway, one of the openers was a group called Local Natives, who true to the name, looked like a bunch of barefoot hobbits bouncing around on stage playing guitar, jumping, stomping, screaming and singing. It was a spectacle.

My friend Jon was even more blown away than I was.

I never got around to listening to them because I was so infatuated with FNY’s new release, “Get Hot.”

Which, by the way, was hot.

Now, the Natives are buzzworthy, receiving rave reviews from NPR and coverage on Pitchfork.

The five-piece has an eclectic, energetic folk-heavy indie rock sound with a roots in the ground kind of feel. They were just signed onto Frenchkiss Records, the same label as Passion Pit. Now there’s a winning combination.

I chose “Sun Hands” because right around 2:55 into the song, shit starts getting really good. Right at the breakdown, I’m jolted awake. It’s not hard to fall asleep to the shimmery guitars and airy vocals of a lot of indie, but as soon as the stomping and clapping kicks in, it turns the song into something much stronger. I just wish they could have a whole song like that. So I didn’t have to wait three minutes just to get to the good part.

The Natives’ debut album “Gorilla Manor” isn’t actually “out” until Tuesday February 16, but I’ve had it for a couple weeks now. (Don’t tell the RIAA!)

And it’s sounding real good. “Airplanes” is the single-ready track, which I’m sure will blow up in exactly six months until this band becomes revered along the lines of Yeasayer, Passion Pit and maybe even MGMT.

KCRW is all over these guys, so catch on while it’s hot. You’ll thank me later.

[odeo=http://odeo.com/episodes/25561926-Local-Natives-Dreamy-Pop-From-Gorilla-Manor]

Catch an acoustic version of “Airplanes” below:

I think I see a pattern, Hollywood…

We’ve all experienced how the media repeats, regurgitates and reiterates itself in so many ways.

Any typical “breaking” “news” story (see balloon boy, Tiger Woods, White House party crash, and on and on) turns into an ugly mess of clichés and sensationalism on a regular basis. Who can keep track of who’s liberal, moderate or conservative anymore when they’re all ditching coverage of the war, our president and Congress to latch onto the latest scandal.

And that’s just the news media these days.

The entertainment side seems to be throwing fists these days, trying to make a hit out of something – I take that back, anything. Which is fine, I guess, to see Megan Fox’s rack sell a movie, or Hollywood picking up way too much on a trend like the latest: vampires. Gone are Buffy and Angel, here are: True Blood, Twilight, The Vampire’s Assistant, and don’t forget — The Vampire Diaries. I’m sure I’m missing a few, but you get the point.

Either way, all of this brings me to something I found pretty hilarious. A couple posters a bit too similar for (hopefully) any average consumer’s taste…no pun intended:

A striking similarity between “Jennifer’s Body” and “True Blood” —

lick in the lips left

lickin the lips right

OH…and don’t forget Six Feet Under, with the lipstick, reminding me of the above posters.

lipsticking the lips

…But the avoid the cliché award shockingly goes to Lipstick Jungle for simply showing the women and not the lipstick.

no lips here

Mirthless “Couples Retreat”, heartfelt “Wild Things”

Man I wish I had time to update more!

I’m lucky if I pull off once a week. Vanguard 3 days a week, Apple 4.

I did squeeze in some time with the girlfriend to catch a double feature (it’s where you pay for one movie, see two. only way to go when you’re chocking up 10+ bucks for a single admission!) last night.

Saw Where The Wild Things Are and Couples Retreat.

I thought Wild Things was beautifully done. Definitely not child’s play. The animatronic and CG wild things (monsters?) looked great and were very entertaining to watch. Max was great. Cute kid. Reminds me of myself when I was little…playing for hours upon hours with legos and action figures and making forts. Don’t think I had a animal suit that cool though.

Everyone has been saying the same things — it’s too dark for kids. I’ll agree on that one…if I had a child who wanted to see the film though, I wouldn’t hesitate to bring them along…with the warning that there’s some scary scenes where they should shut their eyes or hold daddy’s (eh, maybe mommy’s) hand.

But what a true adaptation. I grew up on that book, and remember the bitter feelings of loneliness Max carries. Can’t blame a little boy for wanting attention. And while he’s a little troubled, I’m on his side. He’s just acting out because no one cares about what he does. Which is, of course, why he goes and finds himself a mystery island full of scary-friendly creatures who want him to be their king.

The tormented themes within the culture of the wild things is also very mature and all too real for plenty of adults. But other than a shred of fantasy violence and some scary moments with Max in danger, it’s a PG movie with a PG-13 feel at times.

And now to the BAD stuff. The really, really bad stuff.

Couples Retreat.

We’ve got Kristin Davis, Malin Akerman, Kristen Bell on top. Jason Bateman, Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau, on top. Not to mention Faizon Love (the big black dude) and cameos by the funny gay guy and the hilarious little Asian man from Community, The Goods and The Hangover.

All in one movie! With a ripe premise, too. And they still couldn’t pull it of?!

I mean, I was disappointed by Extract too, Batemen (and Mike Judge). Batemen’s great, and I loved him in Arrested Development. But these projects need some better directors, writers, producers, something!

It’s almost comedic that Hollywood still makes shitty movies this bad. Couples Retreat could’ve been saved with better editing — it was 2 hours, a half hour too long. Plenty of unnecessary scenes like the gay sauna comments and Guitar Hero nonsense. And I could’ve gone with a little less of the sexy Fabio-like yoga instructor flaunting his bod…and his pod (package?).

It’s easy to see that a bunch of studio execs thought this would be a good idea:

Great star power (even though that matters less these days)

Funny concept

Bikini-clad island girls

Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau at the helm, writing and producing

…but what they didn’t tell us in the previews was how there was going to be a good 4-minute Guitar Hero advertisement right about two thirds into the movie. LITERALLY. A 30-second joke? I’ll get over it, full-well knowing it’s a paid joke, assuming the plot moves on.

Instead, it decides to dwell. For a really pointless, bland and unfunny scene where Vaughn has a Guitar Hero-off with the douchey resort dude. How original. Let South Park make fun of it, because they make it funny. You, Couples Retreat, despite the ridiculous nature of grown men using three-foot miniature, plastic guitars; utilize a cheesy, fluorescent split-screen, overlaid videogame graphics, and pointless, predictable banter.

Frankly I’m offended. I wish I could find out how many millions Activision spent for that blatant screen time.

Despite the usual abundance of product placement and script integration — we’ve got Applebee’s, Apple, Microsoft, GMC, Volkswagen, Starbucks and about 10-15 more I can’t remember (no joke, I nearly counted to 20). It’s a fun little game I play when I see movies: see how many times different products are shameless plugged. If you count up the amount of screen time and number of mentions you can easily tally up a good chunk of how that movie was probably paid for.

Now I’m just talking out of my mouth because I don’t feel like Googling a bunch of links right now, but this “subliminal” advertising has been growing and getting out of control. It’s been going on forever in Hollywood, and the secrets been out of the bag for a while — even Marty McFly in 1985’s “Back To The Future” (me, this Halloween) was sporting some classic Nikes as he filmed Doc send the dog back in time outside a JC Penny in Pomona, California.

[Yes, that’s right, Pomona. I bought the DVD and watched Michael J. Fox talk about filming in a mall parking lot in Pomona late at night. Also, Current TV’s Embedded featured some great shots of downtown Pomona and The Glasshouse in last week’s episode on the Silversun Pickups.]

A real update? Something to say, music to spare

So my biggest problem with blogging is that I don’t take enough time to actually do it!

Right now, my schedule is pretty intense — Monday Wednesday Fridays @ Current TV in Hollywood (more on my experiences with LA public transportation to come). The other four days of the week are at The Apple Store in Brea. The rest of my time consists of sleeping, eating (yet another topic of discussion to come), drinking girlfriend, email, etc.

Though I do spend a lot of time on computers, I tend to be doing other things. Like devouring news, interning, and selling them.

Computers aside, let’s get to last week’s shows (I know, sooo outdated. so sorry. my post times should improve with the upcoming purchase of a long-awaited iphone (more on that later, again)…

The experimental indie group started a dance party at the Troubadour Sept. 27.

The experimental indie group started a dance party at the Troubadour Sept. 27.

!!! (pronounced, sometimes written chk chk chk) rocked the house at the Troubadour in West Hollywood, one of my all-time favorite venues. Small club with two bars, and a very up close and personal stage.

Played a lot of good ones from “Myth Takes” and an older one called “Intensify” that was awesome.

An all-out dance funk party. The crowd was into it; touching, fondling and grooving to the somewhat homoerotic dance moves and hip thrusts from frontman Nic Offer.

And there was an awesome old-school cool black lady singing gospel-punk style backup, dancing and clapping when she didn’t have a part.

The eight piece Brooklyn ensemble definitely kicked ass, and the crowd interaction with Offer was great. He even went up to the green room at one point mid-set, not coming back to the stage until a few minutes into a new song.

Most impressive though? The Troubadour fans actually screamed and clapped loud enough, for a good long 1 or 2 minutes (gasp!) before the band returned. Which in writing doesn’t seem all that cool, but if you’ve been to as many rock shows as I have where the audience hammers out a clap for under 30 seconds before a group comes back, that’s just lame. If you’re gonna put on an encore, make sure it’s really worth it! I can’t remember what songs were played for the encore because it’s been too long, so we’ll move on.

——-

Rewind one night and I’m at the Glasshouse in Pomona. I love this locati0n. Mostly because I can catch great bands really close to home. I live a good mile away from downtown Pomona and have been taking the Metrolink from there to get to Hollywood lately. The train station is actually quite nice. A transit center for buses too. But I also love the Glasshouse because there’s now an amazing bar next door called Acerogami. Nothing on tap disappoints me greatly; but Perry Tollet, the owner of the Glasshouse, Acerogami, and part-owner of the Pomona Fox and Goldenvoice, apparently has a thing for Souther American beers…so besides the basic low quality bottles of domesticated Coors and Miller stuff, ask for the unique ones.

Getting to the point here, I went with my buddy Art to see Portugal. The Man. This is a band I will not stop talking about. You can watch or listen to a live performance in the KCRW studios here from a few weeks ago to see what I mean. The band’s live show has evolved greatly from simply performing excellent quirky indie numbers to turning the set into a full-on jam experimental jam session with a few pop morsels from their latest, The Satanic Satanist, to round things out.

Words can’t describe, so go here for yourself. I’ve still got a tune called “The Sun” sitting in my box widget over on the right hand side that you can download, free of charge. I’m sure the Alaskans by way of Portland (from Alaska, residing in Portland) wouldn’t mind. Share the love right

ptm

——–

TO finish this age-old update, I also caught Wallpaper (I know, crazy fuckin week) on Tuesday @ Cinespace. An entertaining performance for sure. Amazing? Naw, but we had fun. Wallpaper, I recently discovered, is a hilarious side project of Eric Frederic. Who is he? He is someone I’ve been following for years, fronting Locale A.M. and more recently Facing New York. FNY is incredible — an audio triceratops as Matt Embree of RX Bandits once referred to them as in conversation.

Wallpaper is more of an autotune R&B white rapper kinda thing that is ridiculous in far too many ways to explain. The dude’s wearing white jeans, a 70s style shirt, a gold chain, shades and a hat, singing about “going big on the weekend” in my personal favorite: T-Rex. See for yourself…thanks to my friend Claire for introducing me, not knowing who was behind the creation, and to my friend Grant who probably thinks its awesome:

Keeping it Current

one of current tv's hollywood buildings

one of current tv's hollywood buildings

Started my first week interning at Current TV, with the Vanguard journalism dept.

A radical group of people for sure…I hope to get in the know.

As expected, a laid-back, hip, young office vibe. But they’re true to their work and are on top of their game.

And on day 2, I got to watch porn….while eating donuts! The thanks goes to Christof, the Current correspondent working on a documentary on the porn industry for the new season of Vanguard, starting Oct. 22.

[Emmy-nominated investigative documentary series, it seems is what we call Vanguard]

I watched — well, fast forwarded through the explicit scenes and slowed down for the dialogue — “Space Nuts” and “Curse Eternal,” two “big” budget pornographic flicks. I say “big” because I’m not sure the size of the budgets nor the comparison to Hollywood films….I didn’t realize there was really a story here until today. Makes sense though – the “real” acting and art that goes into porno DVDs is being undercut by Internet profiteers in the porn biz and gonzo porn stuff.

Sex aside, being behind the scenes a very interesting company that puts out really excellent documentaries and media for the 18-34 demographic should prove quite awesome and hopefully fruitful.

—–

IN MUSIC THIS WEEK: Because I can’t blog enough about all the artists I want to, you need to check out the latest from Mute Math, Muse, Imogen Heap and Bat For Lashes.

I heard “Backfire” from Mute Math @ The Press in Claremont tonight, which was surprising but awesome. Saw these guys open for Mae freshman year of college at The Glasshouse in Pomona. Only caught the end of their set, but I was immediately impressed: weird noises, a proggy Radiohead feel, melodic verses, fast-paced beats, catchy keyboard and guitar riffs, with a soothing Coldplay-esque voice that can lull you to sleep and get you dancing all at the same time.

>>download the title track, “Armistice,” from the widget on the right! Listen more on LaLa or Myspace

Imogen Heap and Bat For Lashes are my latest lady obsessions, both creating definitively unique sounds through synthesizer manipulation contrasting organic instrumentation like ethnic drums and chimes. I highly, highly recommend. Especially if you’re looking for something. They’re eye-openers. Also caught BfL @ Outside Lands San Francisco a few weeks ago. Couldn’t tell if the girl was hot or not! Girlfriend and I couldn’t quite figure her out. See for yourself below:

batforlashes

Hard to be healthy – the bad, bad food saga

workbuyconsumedie

It’s hard to be healthy.

To me, healthy is in comparison to what I was my senior year of college: extraordinarily bus, underslept, and ferociously hungry.

I had little no time to make my own food. I barely grocery shopped (except for beer) and got by on Panda Express and Subway, with occasional sushi, In-N-Out, and Cantina Express.

None of it is healthy. Maybe a few healthy ingredients……like the lettuce on my burgers or the raw fish in my sushi.

But that of course was combined with all sorts of not so good stuff or decent stuff, but too much of it. [See: carborice, carbobread, fattyfriedorangechicken, fattavacado, etc.)

However, since summer struck and my former schedule (consisting of graduating, editor-in-chief duties at The Poly Post, 16 units, hint of a social life, a weekly column, a local beat and more) has turned into an internship at KPCC 89.3 three days a week. That means a LOT more free time.

SO I’ve been cooking, or at least making: lots of salads and smoothies and almost no fast food. Not to mention, regular exercise 2-4 days a week, compared to ZERO days a week during the busy school year.

But I’ve learned quickly that it’s not easy to eat right. It’s not hard if you eat every meal at home, or maybe live in San Francisco where the food is organic and excellent. But round these parts in Pomona, we’ve got fast food, fast food, fast food, and a couple liquor stores. Sure, there’s plenty of Mexican restaurants, but I can only eat tacos so much. [Sorry SoCalians]

I’m looking for more options. Maybe we should have some food parties. I just got some good recipes from my Jewish mother. Chicken burgers, chicken chili, ricotta pancakes, and a blender cookbook full of new ideas.

But what about when I’m interning at Current TV in Hollywood [6860 Lexington Ave]?

What about Pomona/Claremont area? I know plenty of spots I hit up in both towns. But most are either grossly unhealthy or more expensive than I want when I’m looking for a bite. Dante’s Deli and Boulevard Bagels on Diamond Bar, Cantina Express and Buen Taco for Mexican, Back Abbey, The Press, sushi and whatevers in downtown Claremont….

But I’m pretty sure a giant Chipotle burrito ain’t exactly what the doctor ordered either. But I have a big appetite, so salads don’t tend to fill me up unless there’s a lot of meat in them.

Everywhere I look, I see chains. That’s LA for you, right? Fuck that! Gimme something good to eat!

Fresh&Easy isn’t bad, but I’m not big on prepared meals. I tend to be disappointed. Prefer something actually fresh. Give em a sandwich bar! And Trader Joe’s in San Dimas is legit, especially for good sausage and beer and pirate’s booty. But after seeing SuperSize Me, reading all this crap about healthcare (I’m uninsured!), and diabetes and obesity, and waiting to see Food, Inc…..it’s bad out there.

Just as always, the corporate monsters survive. And they blame Americans for being fat. Consumers are only half to blame in my opinion. Now I’m not suing McDonald’s if I gain a couple pounds, but even its healthiest options (like the McSalad Shaker, ooohhh how clever) become just as fatty once you dress it. And who wants dry leaves? Not I!

I haven’t found my health groove yet…but going on a run today, so that’ll take the guilt off all the Starbucks I’ve been devouring (yuck!). Luckily and unluckily, my girlfriend works there and happens to love the place…and circumstances are, they’re fucking everywhere we are. Now I love me some iced coffee, but the cream and sugar make it probably close to the caloricness of a carmel macchiato (maybe?). Speaking of, *Bux has taken all the transfats out of their fresh frozen pastries. And yes, at least the licensed store on Cal Poly’s campus, they’re delivered the day or days ahead of time, and put in the pastry case frozen the night before, to be perfectly cool and moist upon your 7 a.m. nasty blueberry scone purchase.

Death to us all via mass consumerism, monopolization, and bad, bad food.