Okay, so maybe it’s not exactly magic, but Chevy is keen to let people know that their new mini car has a few tricks up its sleeves. In the first of a planned video series highlighting the Spark’s standout features, a group of wizards are caught under the spell of its easy-to-park size. We’re definitely interested to find out more about the Spark in the coming months, because we think it’s a unique addition to the Chevy fleet, but here’s hoping that the other features are a little more, well, magical.
Check out the video below, and then enter for your chance to win one of two $500 gift cards courtesy of Alphabird via the contest widget at the bottom of the page.
The sad truth is, running is simultaneously one of the most beneficial activities you can embark on, and one of the most unappealing. Whether it be the exhaustion factor, the sweaty clothes, the fact you probably have one of those “ridiculous” running styles you criticize strangers for having, or the dreaded chaffed thighs, just about everyone has a reason for not wanting to run, which is why starting the activity is often referred to as finding your motivation.
Now your motivation may come in the form of the app Striiv. Once a $99.95 smart pedometer, Striiv is now a free app that provides a lot of the usual pedometer functions like tracking calories burnt, miles ran, steps taken, etc. Where Striiv makes it’s name, though, is in how it enhances the running experience for its users.
The most basic element of this is the available social functions. It’s always more fun to run with someone else and, using Faceook, you can link up with your friends who also have the app in an ongoing stat comparison competition. Even better is the challenge feature which carries a number of pre-determined goals like walking a certain amount, time challenges, or specialty goals like ascending the statue of liberty (or the equivalent number of steps). Completing these challenges give you trophies, making them similar to Xbox 360 achievements.
Even more similar to gaming is the actual game included with Striiv. Called MyLand, every step you take and every milestone you reach, earns you points to spend on stuff to fill your virtual world with ranging from foliage to buildings. While not as fun as say “SimCity” it’s a surprisingly deep and entertaining way to reward you for your progress.
Really the whole point of this app is to help make running fun, and it surprisingly succeeds at that. It may not help you to get started running by itself, but if you’ve already decided to start then this is one of the best apps available for helping you to keep going. The challenges are well placed and varied, the MyLand feature is addictive and implemented nicely, and best of all the basic pedometer features have all of the stats, graphs, and counters you could ask for to go along with these enhanced entertainment modes.
It’s not easy to make running enjoyable, but Striiv makes some incredible progress in achieving just that. Whether it be by providing you a constant group of running companions, or that little extra incentive to go that extra mile, Striiv’s abilities to enhance your running experience was almost worth it as a standalone $100 pedometer. As a free iPhone app, it runs away with my app of the week.
It’s Saturday night and you need something to watch. Never fear, Hidden Netflix Gems is a weekly feature designed to help you decide just what it should be, and all without having to scroll through endless pages of crap or even leave the house. Each choice will be available for streaming on Netflix Instant, and the link below will take you to its page on the site. Look for a new suggestion here every Saturday.
This week’s Hidden Netflix Gem: Timecrimes” (2007)
“Timecrimes” is one of those movies where it seems like giving away anything at all is giving away too much. I’ve included the trailer below out of habit, but if you’d rather not have the film’s twist(s) spoiled, you should avoid it as well as the synopses on Netflix and elsewhere. Even most reviews seem to reveal too much. However, this isn’t an M. Night Shyamalan movie. That is to say spoiling the twist won’t spoil the whole thing. It’s revealed fairly early on and it’s not the only thing the film has going for it.
Here’s what I will say: “Timecrimes” is a Spanish thriller based around time travel. Contrary to many films built on the same idea, “Timecrimes” is extremely low-budget. There is no CGI, one location, and only four speaking roles (one of which is held by writer/director Nacho Vigalondo). Perhaps the film’s most important contrast to its many peers is that the time travel elements do not become convoluted or confusing. “Timecrimes” makes up for its inherent bare bones-ness by maintaining a constant state of tension and forward movement—much like Hector, the main character, the audience has no time to stop and think.
Let’s talk about Hector (Karra Elejalde) then. He’s a middle-aged man in the midst of renovating his home in the Spanish countryside, where he lives with his wife, Clara (Candela Fernández). Hector’s spending his Saturday relaxing in the backyard, looking out into the woods beyond his property through binoculars. There he spies an attractive young woman (Bárbara Goenaga) undressing. His wife leaves to go shopping, and Hector decides to be lead investigator in case of the naked lady. When he finds her, she appears dead, and he’s stabbed by her apparent killer, a mysterious man whose face is wrapped in a pink bandage. Hector runs, ending up in the lab of a scientist played by Vigalondo. Soon after, the scientist convinces Hector to hide from his persuer in a large mechanical device. It’s night time when he gets in, but when he steps out just a few moments later, the sun is shining. Hector has traveled back in time by an hour and a half. And that’s when things really start to get interesting.
The film isn’t exactly a character study, so neither Hector or the rest of the parts are incredibly deep. But in the case of “Timecrimes,” that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It makes Hector into something of an everyman, which allows the audience to wonder just what they would do if placed in his situation: getting sent back in time after being chased through the woods by a pink-bandaged bandit.
The film is getting an English-language remake, which is ironically humorous for reasons that will become clear once you’ve watched it (if you don’t understand what I mean by then, check out Wesley Morris of The Boston Globe’sreview). The project was originally in the hands of David Cronenberg, but has since been shifted from United Artists to Dreamworks with Steve Zaillian (“Schindler’s List,” “Gangs of New York,” “Moneyball”) attached to write, produce, and perhaps even direct.
Like I said, there’s not much more I can say about “Timecrimes” without feeling that I’ve given away too much. I promise it’s an exciting, well thought out thriller. If you don’t believe me, take its 87 percent rating on the Tomatometer as proof. The film’s virtues more than make up for its flaws and it’s a better way to spend 90 minutes on a Saturday night than looking at the woods in your backyard through binoculars. Enjoy!
Check out the trailer below and follow the writer on Twitter @NateKreichman.
If you’re in a relationship, you want to keep your woman happy. If you’re wondering why women cheat, Dan Bacon points to a number of reasons, but he’s definitely found that lack of sex in a relationship is a very important reason.
Over the years I’ve been shocked by how many women say they want more sex from their man, but their partner just won’t deliver. This can be an issue with many couples, and of course with married couples. So if you want to avoid bigger problems, you’ll definitely want to put the effort in and improve your sex life. Check out the advice from Alex Allman and you’ll pick up some great ideas you can try out!
Those with a soft spot for Australian soap operas may forever think of Melissa George as Angel from “Home and Away,” but they’re doing both her and themselves a disservice by maintaining that mindset, because George has handily proven over and over again that she’s a far cry from being just another soap opera actress, be it by her Golden Globe nominated performance on HBO’s “In Treatment,” her work with David Lynch (“Mulholland Drive”) and Steven Soderbergh (“The Limey”), or her despicable turn as Lauren Reed on ABC’s “Alias.” With her latest small-screen endeavor, Cinemax’s “Hunted,” George is returning to the spy side of things, but trust Bullz-Eye when we tell you that “Hunted” is on a completely different level of television than “Alias.” We talked to her in conjunction with the series’ premiere – 10 PM tonight and every Friday night for the next several weeks – while also quizzing her about a few other past endeavors, including working with Heath Ledger on “Roar,” getting the shaft on “Grey’s Anatomy,” and just barely missing out on being part of one of the most notorious sitcom flops in NBC history.
Bullz-Eye: To begin at the beginning, how did you find your way into “Hunted”? Was it an audition situation, or did they come looking for you specifically?
Melissa George: They were very strict about making people read. Some jobs, not so much, they know who they want. But “Hunted” is (being produced by) HBO and BBC together, and they were both having to choose and decide, so we had the English with the Americans, so that’s why the audition process was so long.
I was walking on the West Side Highway in New York, and my phone rang. It was my agent saying, “I’ve just read the most dynamic role for a woman, it’s as complex as what you played on ‘In Treatment,’ with a bit of action, which you’ve done before. It’s shooting in Europe, it’s really good, it’s written by Frank Spotnitz, it’s an English and American production…you’ve got to get it.” That’s kind of what he said. And I hate when they say that, ‘cause that means no sleep for me. Because, y’know, of course if it’s that great I want to play it. And I was then shooting a movie with Julia Stiles in Los Angeles (“Between Us”) and I was busy with that, and I had a video camera set up in the hotel room, and I put together a scene. They asked me to do three scenes, but I just did one. It was the one where she confronts her ex in the apartment. Very emotional. And I remember I was just so choked up…and I was recording myself, not speaking to anybody, because I didn’t have an actor reading with me. And I was, like, “Oh, my God, I really love this part…” And I cut, printed, and sent it. I couldn’t do any more scenes because I was really upset. I felt really strongly about this woman. And I waited. I didn’t care, because I was shooting a movie.
Then I got a call saying, “They want you to meet with Frank and read a scene.” I was, like, “Oh, my God…” There were so many freaking people in this room. [Laughs.] So many people! I thought it was just going to be me. Every actor thinks that when you’re asked to read, it’s just gonna be you. But it was a lot of people, and I was on my own. But I met Frank, and he said to me later on, once I’d gotten the role, that he knew from when I put myself on tape, and when I went in to read, he said, “I just feel really connected to her.” But that was it. I didn’t hear for awhile after that, so I was, like, “Ugh, this is gonna be one of those jobs…” And then S.J. (Clarkson), who’s directing, got onboard, and…the director has a big say, so Frank’s got his choice made, BBC and HBO made theirs, but now I have to wait for S.J. to make hers. So I had to meet her. They fly me from New York to L.A. to have lunch, and all we do is talk about film, and then…I was the only girl, but I had to read with lots of guys. And none of the guys I read with got it. [Laughs.] But I was the only girl they were using, and yet still hadn’t told me that I’d got it! And I was, like, “What’s going on here?”
But I was so convinced that I was onboard that I went around convincing everyone else around me that I was. I was, like, “Oh, yeah, I’m gonna be playing this role in a few months…” But I hadn’t heard anything, and I was going, “This is ridiculous! They’re going all over the world looking for this actress, every single country, and I’m, like, “Well, does she have to be from a particular place?” “No, they don’t care where she’s from, because she has to play so many nationalities, so many different languages and accents.” So I waited while they went around the globe, reading hundreds of girls, and they were losing me, because I was going, “Well, if they wait too long…” And then finally everyone was, like, “C’mon, S.J.!” So that’s the story. And it was so funny on set, because while we were filming in Morocco, S.J. would come up to me and speak French, then she’d say, “Oh, sorry, wrong actress.” Like she’d found a girl in France that she really liked. I was, like, “Shut up, I know you didn’t find anybody!” [Laughs.] It was one of those things where the joke went on forever. Like, the whole season of the show. “Sorry, what’s your name?” So I don’t quite know what happened that made it take so long to decide, but I know that when I seize on something, man, I’d better get the job. Because I was honestly delusional. I was, like, “Yes, I’m shooting London in a few months,” and everyone was, like, “But have they said ‘yes’?” “No. But I’m going to be shooting!”
SPOILER WARNING: This post will appear every Wednesday following a new episode of “Sons of Anarchy.” It is intended to be read after seeing the show’s latest installment as a source of recap and analysis. As such, all aspects and events that have occurred up to and including the episode discussed are fair game.
“Who’s doing this to us?” Gemma asks at the beginning of “Small World,” referring to the home invasions that have been plaguing Charming. The same question has been on everyone’s mind, Gemma was just the one who happend to voice it. At the end of the episode, we finally got the answer to her question: Clay. He’s been pulling the Nomads’ strings and orchestrating the break-ins, although he didn’t intend for anyone, let alone Roosevelt’s wife, to die. He yells as much at his puppets during the reveal.
Now, most everyone has suspected Clay since the close-up on Greg the Peg’s prosthetic leg in the season premiere, which is why I refer to the ending as a reveal rather than a twist. This was always an Occam’s Razor scenario. Who else had more to gain from “stirring the pot,” as Unser put it? Who else had anything to gain? Plus, the Nomads have been parroting Clay’s every word at the table and working to undermine Jax’s leadership since the day they arrived in Charming.
Likewise, Clay’s had his mind set on returning to the head of the table ever since the gavel was taken from him. Despite losing his once-substantial physical power, he was never going to just lay down. Clay’s been using his wits to return to a position of power. And now, he’s even got some of that brawn coming back to him. In “Stolen Huffy,” we saw him lifting weights. This week, he continued to wear his oxygen tank, even after his doctor says he no longer needs it, so he can continue to garner sympathy and maintain his wounded warrior image.
“Small World” confirmed Clay’s misdeeds to the viewer, and based on the promo for next week’s episode, it seems Jax will figure things out as well. With six of the season’s thirteen episodes in the books, the action’s starting to ramp up. Moving forward, that means Clay’s return to his prominent position as the show’s main antagonist, plus some conflict with Roosevelt as well as the newly introduced con man played by Joel McHale. Not to mention that the club’s amicable relationship with Damon Pope simply cannot last.
Although I get plenty of opportunities to do in-person interviews when I’m out on the west coast for the Television Critics Association press tours, I very rarely get the chance while I’m here at Virginia, so when I was offered the chance to meet Kathleen Robertson for coffee, one of the stars of a show I already have a lot of love for (“Boss”), you can imagine that I didn’t have to think twice before answering, “Absolutely!” Indeed, I didn’t even blink an eye when it was casually mentioned that it might be nice if I managed to find a way to bring up Starz’s new app for Cox subscribers, Starz Play, because, what, like it’s such a bad thing to hype something that helps more people see some of my favorite series? (As you hopefully recall, I’m a big “Magic City” fan, too.) As I was assured in advance, Kathleen was a total sweetheart, and as we chatted over the course of a half-hour, the topics included the series that brought us together in the first place, of course, but also “Maniac Mansion,” “90210,” “Tin Man,” and even the hilarious-but-underrated IFC series, “The Business.” Read on…but don’t forget that the “Boss” Season 2 finale airs Friday night on Starz!
Bullz-Eye: So the second season of “Boss” is coming to a close…
Kathleen Robertson: Yep!
BE: Your character, Kitty O’Neill, had a decidedly different dynamic in Season 2 than she did in Season 1. How much forewarning did you have about how Kitty’s storyline was going to play out during this season? Did you know from the get-go, or was it only doled out to you on an episode-by-episode basis?
KR: I knew from the get-go. I sat down with the writers at the very beginning of the season, and they sort of explained to me what the storyline was for her. With the exception of the finale. They were very secretive about the finale, and I didn’t know what was going to happen until the week before we shot it and I read the script. Have you seen the finale?
BE: I have not yet.
KR: [Tries and fails to disguise her giddiness.] It’s so good. It’s so good. They kept saying to me all through the year, “Just be patient. Just be patient and wait for (episode)10.” I said, “What does that mean, though? Like, am I gonna get killed? What are you…what happens in 10?” “Just be patient.” And then they’d say, “10 is your episode, and you’re gonna be really happy with it.” So I was. And I am really happy with 10. It’s amazing.
BE: 10 may be “your episode,” but it’s arguable that you’ve had a lot of episodes. Kitty’s evolved throughout the season, at least in a certain sense. At the same time, though, she also ends up making it pretty clear that she doesn’t really know who she is unless she has someone to serve.
KR: Yeah, that’s true.
BE: Did you see that as being a part of her character from the very beginning, or was that something you discovered as time went on?
KR: Well, with Season 1… [Hesitates.] Farhad (Safinia) said to me at the beginning of the series, “For Season 1, Kitty almost has a reverse arc.” She kind of starts here… [Holds hand up and then begins lowering it.] …and ends here. And it’s kind of like that in Season 2 as well, because from the moment we meet her in this season, she’s pregnant, she’s sort of deciding if she even wants to be in politics anymore…she’s deciding who she is. So the journey for her over Season 2 was a much more internal one, and it was much more a case of asking, “Who am I without my identity?” And for her, the identity isn’t just working for Kane. It’s being in this whole world that she’s sacrificed everything for. So she sort of flirts with the idea of trying to be an alternate Kitty throughout the season, and by the end… [Smiles knowingly.] When you see the finale, I think she ends up where she belongs.
Watching the latest commercials for Old Spice’s new Champion line of antiperspirant, body spray and body wash, it’s pretty easy to tell Greg Jennings has a great sense of humor. The Super Bowl champion and two time Pro Bowl selection (2010, 2011) didn’t disappoint when we discussed petting a grown man like a dog, his hate for Bears fans and who has better balls: Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers.
Oh man it was real weird. It was spooky because it looked so realistic; it’s unbelievable, the process.
What’s the deal with Old Spice and how did you guys team up?
It’s all about the new Champion Scent and I was just working with Old Spice and the new ad campaign. There is more to come, but the first ad, me with my dog, just letting everybody know that if you believe in your “smelf”, anything can be possible. Your “smelf” is all about “smelf confidence” and making sure you can overcome anything getting the viewer and the fan to realize you can overcome any type of adverse situation if you use this Champion Scent from Old Spice.
So that was your dog in the ad?
That wasn’t technically wasn’t like, “my dog”, but it definitely was “my dog”.
Seemed like there was a connection there some good chemistry like you and Aaron Rodgers.
Absolutely — “You did it Roscoe!”
Aaron Rodgers seems like a very low key guy who is easy to get along with- is that true? Does it make the relationship easier and more productive?
Absolutely. Any time you can have a guy that is as down to earth and easy going as he is it makes the relationship and what we do together on the field, and off the field, that much easier. When you can relate with someone on and off the field, it makes the work environment that much easier.
You’ve caught passes from obviously Aaron Rodgers and earlier in your career Brett Favre- who throws the ball harder?
I always have to tip my hat to Aaron simply because he is younger; I was with Brett in his latter stages. He has storied about guys with broken fingers on his resume, but when I was here definitely Aaron.
Who throws the more catchable ball? And what makes a ball more catchable?
They both throw the most catchable balls. And that said, NO Homo. But they both have balls that…I don’t even like to talk about it. They both throw a really good uh… (laughing) balls.
How bad do you personally hate Bears fans?
Uhhh, pretty bad.
When you get into games and say you’re playing a non-divisional rival, are you more motivated or are you always at the same level whether it’s a team like the Bears or not?
Um, pretty much it’s a different intensity overall of the game, the atmosphere. When you’re playing a team like the Bears or a division rival. Vikings even, Lions even. It’s just a different intensity. But when you’re out there competing it really doesn’t matter as an individual you go out there w the mindset that you gotta beat your opponent every single snap. That’s my mindset and as far as the Bears are concerned I shouldn’t really hate them, I should love them- they’ve always been so gracious to us (laughing). I had to get that in there.
Growing up in Michigan were you a Lions fan?
I was, I was. I hesitate to say I was a Lions fan because I was more of a Barry Sanders fan. I hated the Lions; but I loved Barry Sanders. I rooted for them because of him. But it was tough man. It’s great to see them having success now just because I’ve grown up watching them my entire life, but I don’t want them to have too much success, but, you know how that goes.
How different would your life be if John Skelton was your QB?
Uhh — a lot different. It would be a ton different.