Archive for February, 2012

Monkees' Davy Jones dies; remember Hawaii concert?

February 29th, 2012
By



Davy Jones, the boyish and cute frontman of The Monkees, died today (Feb. 29) of an apparent heart attack in Florida, according to TMZ.
He was 66.
If you grew up in the late ‘50s and ‘60s, you’ll intimately know him and his colleagues, Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork. Together, they were the frisky funsters on TV, on the radio, in the concert venues.
They were pre-fab rock stars, mounted in the aftermath of The Beatles (“A Hard Day’s Night”), who famously starred on an NBC series and sang a soundtrack of growing-up songs that topped the record charts. “Hey, Hey We’re the Monkees,” “Daydream Believer,” “Last Train to Clarksville,” “I’m a Believer.”
Remember?
I do — with an especially fond memory of Davy.
The Monkees gave their first-ever concert at Blaisdell Arena, then the Honolulu International Center, to launch a national tour that would have the kids going gaga and screeching, a la Elvis and Beatles style, in one wave of the pop music phenom — the manufactured act conducted with auditions of suitable young ones with potential box office appeal.
This concert was a screamfest; I reviewed it for The Honolulu Advertiser; the show was, like hundreds other since, a Tom Moffatt Production.
To my amazement, a few days after the Hawaii concert, my review ran in a double-truck advertisement spread, with every word intact, in Variety, the show biz bible. It was incredible and humbling, one of my career highlights to be so "quoted."
Certainly, The Monkees were off and running.
I had earlier interviewed them, in a suite at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, and they were as goofy and nuts as their TV personas.
Davy was the mop-topped lead singer, his cuteness and boyishness targeting pubescent teen girls.
Unlike the others who played instruments, Davy rattled and thumped a tambourine a la Mick Jagger. He didn’t need instrumental skills; his slight frame and British accent (he was from Manchester, England) became the music that connected with fans.
OK, The Monkees’ success ran its course, but two seasons and 58 episodes weren't for naught.
“I’m a Believer,” “Last Train to Clarksville” and “Daydream Believer” all were No. 1 hits on Billboard. Admit it, you bought 'em and played 'em and sang along.
The tunes would come to signify a period of growing up; “I’m a Believer” was featured in the original “Shrek” film, Neil Diamond continues to sing the same song he wrote when he was still an anonymous songwriter, a number of other acts have covered The Monkees’ music (think Smash Mouth).
Davy was theatrical, too, earning a Tony nomination in 1963 for portraying the Artful Dodger in the musical “Oliver!” and later played Jesus in a London mounting of “Godspell.”
In retrospect, you might forgive The Monkees for that pretty awful film, “Head,” but you can’t forget the hysteria and hypnosis of their original hits.
Mickey Dolenz later toured Hawaii in the musical “Grease.”
Do you have recollections of The Monkees in Hawaii?

Rain’s a pain for Monday primetime

February 28th, 2012
By



The rain was a pain for Monday (Feb. 27) night TV. Translation: Heavy downpours delayed Fox’s telecast of the Daytona 500 till nighttime, canceling normal programming, and thereby affecting “normal” viewership on NBC, CBS and ABC — with most shows suffering a dip in ratings and viewership.
Daytona challenged NBC’s “The Voice,” down 10 percent last week, but “The Voice” pulled in 14.76 million viewers nonetheless (vs. 14.23 million for Daytona), which means it’s still very much in the race. And surprisingly, NBC’s “Smash” later in the night improved a tenth.
CBS was also down across the board, with most shows suffering season-low figures; the victims included “Mike & Molly,” “Hawaii Five-0,” “Two and a Half Men,” “2 Broke Girls” and “How I Met Your Mother.”
But ABC had some small bright upticks in “The Bachelor” and “Castle.”
We follow the tides of “Five-0,” our homegrown show, which featured a highly-touted James Caan appearance, yielding a father-and-son night for the CBS procedural,
which won its 9 p.m. hour (10 p.m. Mainland), pulling in 9.55 million viewers and a 2.5/6 18 to 49 demo, compared to “Castle’s” 9.06 million and a 2.2/5 18 to 49 demo, according to preliminary Nielsen overnight ratings. It’s still nip and tuck for these two shows.
In the same hour, NBC’s “Smash” drew 6.85 million and a 2.4/6 18 to 49 rating — yes, No. 3, but on an upswing in its fourth week in this time slot.
Back to “Five-0:”
James Caan wasn’t the only “star” guesting in “Lekiō,” “radio” in Hawaiian. Dennis Miller, an actor, stand-up and radio personality, played a pirate radio host who met his demise early on (think: Rick Springfield), leaving ample focus and opportunity for Caan, in the role of Tony Archer, who has a way with words, a frisky persona, a fatherly image (though he didn’t portray pops to sonny boy Scott), and a love for New York pizza.
His presence provided some banter with Scott, and pops was able to “book ‘em,” too, though Danno had his usual exchanges with McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin). Business as usual, in other words.
The script/plot had far too many characters, some with familial links and runaway kids, with dashes of localism (slippahs, barefeet, Kamekona) to anchor the show. A mixed plate, as usual, but a two-entrée meal would be better enjoyed than too many buffet nibbles. Yes? No?
So one question is: How come the James Caan appearance didn’t make a larger impact on the viewing audience? Do the 18 to 49 demo folks know him? “The Godfather” was a long time ago...
Good to see my friend Jimmy Borges, in a cameo of sorts, but geez, the lighting was bad and his handsome face had a reddish tinge throughout that Chinatown scene.
The rain was a pain for Monday (Feb. 27) night TV. Translation: Heavy rains delayed Fox’s telecast of the Daytona 500 till nighttime, canceling normal programming, and affecting “normal” viewership on NBC, CBS and ABC — all of which suffered a dip in ratings.
Daytona challenged NBC’s “The Voice,” down 10 percent last week, but “The Voice” pulled in 14.76 million nonetheless (vs. 14.23 for Daytona), which means it’s still in the race. And NBC’s “Smash” later in the nigh improved a tenth.
CBS was also down across the board, with most shows suffering season-low figures; the victims included “Mike & Molly,” “Hawaii Five-0,” “Two and a Half Men,” “2 Broke Girls” and “How I Met Your Mother.”
But ABC had some small bright upticks in “The Bachelor” and “Castle.”
We follow the tides of “Five-0,” our homegrown show, which featured a highly-toured James Caan appearance, making it a father-and-son night for the CBS procedural,
which won its 9 p.m. hour (10 p.m. Mainland), pulling in 9.55 million viewers and a 2.5/6 18 to 49 demo, compared to “Castle’s” 9.06 million and a 2.2/5 18 to 49 demo, according to preliminary Nielsen overnight ratings.
NBC’s “Smash” drew 6.85 million and a 2.4/6 18 to 49 rating — yes, No. 3, but on an upswing in its fourth week in this time slot.
Back to “Five-0:”
James Caan wasn’t the only “star” guesting in “Lekiō,” “radio” in Hawaiian. Dennis Miller, an actor, stand-up and radio personality, played a pirate radio host who met his demise early on (think: Rick Springfield), leaving ample focus and opportunity for Caan, in the role of Tony Archer, who has a way with words, a frisky persona, a fatherly image (though he didn’t portray pops to sonny boy Scott), and a love for New York pizza.
His presence provided some banter with son Scott, and pops was able to “book ‘em,” too, though Danno had his usual exchanges with McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin).
The script/plot had far too many characters, some with familial links and runaway kids, with dashes of localism (slippahs, barefeet) and Kamekona (Taylor Wily) to anchor the show. A mixed plate, as usual, but a two-entrée meal would be better enjoyed than too many buffet nibbles. Yes? No?
Good to see my friend Jimmy Borges, in a cameo of sorts, but geez, the lighting was bad and his handsome face had a reddish tinge throughout that Chinatown scene.

The Oscars: My picks, plus some possibilities

February 25th, 2012
By



Sunday’s Oscar hoopla should yield a few surprises. Then again, maybe not.
With 11 nominations, “Hugo” oughtta win something; this romantic and rhapsodic homage to grand, old-fashioned storytelling and movie-making by veteran Martin Scorsese touched the heart. In 3-D, even.
However, the splendid silent flick, “The Artists,” which boasts 10 nominations with its nostalgic coming-of-talkies festival of dancing and pantomime, is the favored contender. In black and white, even.
But is “The Artist” a one-trick pony, a gimmick mostly, and soon will be forgotten despite its imaginative novelty? It is the front-runner on the eve of the Academy Awards.
The bigger picture is: Will its flavor and appeal, along with the careers of its romantic leading players, bloom and flower down the line, in conventional movie projects? Does it matter?
The evening will provide drama and conflicts: George Clooney or Jean Dujardin? Viola Davis or Meryl Steep? “The Descendants” or “The Artist”?
Guesstimating the Academy Awards in key categories is an annual ritual.
So, from my theater seat, my take ...

Best Picture
Will win: “The Artist.”
Should win: “The Descendants.”
My pick: “The Descendants.”

Best Actress

Will win: Viola Davis, “The Help.”
Should win: Meryl Streep, “The Iron Lady.”
My pick: Viola Davis, “The Help.”

Best Actor

Will win: Jean Dujardin, “The Artist.”
Should win: George Clooney, “The Descendants.”
My pick: George Clooney, “The Descendants.”

Best Supporting Actress

Will win: Olivia Spencer, “The Help.”
Should win: Olivia Spencer, “The Help.”
My pick: Olivia Spencer, “The Help.”

Best Supporting Actor
Will win: Christopher Plummer, “Beginners.”
Should win: Kenneth Branagh, “My Week With Marilyn.”
My pick: Christopher Plummer, “Beginners.”

Best Director
Will win: Michel Hazanivicius, “The Artist.”
Should win: Martin Scorsese, “Hugo.”
My pick: Martin Scorsese, “Hugo.”

Best Original Screenplay
Will win: Michel Hazanivicius, “The Artist.”
Should win: Woody Allen, “Midnight in Paris.”
My pick: Woody Allen, “Midnight in Paris.”

Best Adapted Screenplay
Will win: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, “The Descendants.”
Should win: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, “The Descendants.”
My pick: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rush, “The Descendants.”

Agree? Disagree? Opinions?

Tune in Sunday to the Academy Awards on ABC (KITV).

Posted in Entertainment | Comments Off

Bruno Mars is the BRIT’s International Male Solo Artist

February 21st, 2012
By



Though he came out winless in the recent Grammy Awards, local boy Bruno Mars copped the International Male Solo Artist at the BRIT Awards 2012, topping Aloe Blacc, Bon Iver, David Guetta and Ryan Adams.
He was the competition’s Best International Breakthrough Act at last year’s competition, providing he’s still a popular fixture on the global music scene. “I want to thank everybody in the UK for supporting me,” said Mars.
His global counterpart for International Female Solo Artist was Rihanna.
Other gong winners included Lana Del Rey, International Breakthrough Act; Adele, British Female Solo Artist and MasterCard British Album of the Year; Ed Sheeran, British Male Solo Artist and British Breakthrough Act; Coldplay, British Group; The Foo Fighters, International Group; One Direction, British Single; and Blur, Outstanding Contribution.
Mars told the Brits that his second album should be released sometime soon.

Posted in Entertainment | Comments Off

'Five-0' back in form, winning Monday slot

February 21st, 2012
By



CBS’ “Hawaii Five-0” has found its voice again, recovering lost viewers over the past week, drawing 10.20 million viewers Monday night (Feb. 20). It led its hour with a 2.8 adults 18-49 rating, besting an also-improving “Castle” on ABC (9.66 million viewers, 2.1 adults 18 to 49) and a declining “Smash” on NBC (6.47 million viewers, 2.39 adults 18 to 49), according to preliminary overnight Nielsen ratings numbers.
Tapping Hawaiian culture and loaded with local color and guest stars, the “Five-0” segment, “Kūpale, earned sufficient points for effort and a demerit or two for execution.
The theme of na koa Hawaiian warriors, duking it out in traditional costumes in an ancient artistry of warfare, was certainly an opportunity to depict a rarely seen and photographed element of Hawaiian culture. The peg to economic greed (involving ferry service), however, was a bit far-fetched, and a crime involving shark-toothed weapons clearly a miniority issue. If anyone owned one of these rarities, would he really use it in a traceable offense?
The parade of jock guest players — notably Apollo Ohno, Olympian medalist skater as a thief of an artifact, and Shane Victorino, the Phillies outfielder as a corporate type conducting training in the wild a stone’s throw away from the Hawaiian practitioners — were casting coups but were essentially extended cameos, not fully realized roles. Ohno’s gig, the larger one, should have somehow found an arc to the finale; folks adore him, after all, and would be eager to see him delude McG and company at least with a fight — not via tear gas drop.
Nice to see Islanders Al Harrington and Dennis Chun in recurring appearances, linking the old “Five-0” with the reboot, and doubly nice to hear Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) uttering the effective but infrequent “Book ‘em, Danno” to Danny Williams (Scott Caan) again, with tongue slightly in cheek.
The banter between these two was spot-on spiffy, from the opening scene when Danno turned McG’s quarters into his personal refuge while the latter was away, to those in-the-car exchanges about anything and everything. The friction is fun, fast, frequent — caustic conversation.
With James Caan, actor Scott Caan’s dad, guest-starring in next week’s episode, it’s a good bet that “Five-0” will maintain its momentum to lead the hour again. We can only hope.
* * * *
Maybe “Five-0” should invite Bruno Mars to be a guest performer sometime. Might steal more viewers from "Smash," which featured his music and his name, but not him in the flesh.
Though physically absent, Mars' music and his magic were part of this week’s Broadway musical drama, wherein a mythical Bruno Mars Broadway show, complete with a performance of his “Grenade” hit, was bandied about.
Or maybe Mars might just skip episodic television and go for the gusto, mounting his own musical on The Great White Way. Might make him the billionaire he aspires to be.
What you think?