Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Friday, December 30, 2011

Dance away the old year with this LRG New Year's Rocking Eve playlist!

As 2011 is slowly fading away,it's time to give our memories of it a good once over before tucking them into mental storage.

Yet,a mix of the past and present is the right formula for a New Year's Eve celebration and even tho today is the night before the last night of the year,setting up our song selection for this weekend is not at all premature.

To start with,one of the best celebratory numbers of 2011 was this duet by rising young stars Nicki Minaj and Drake,"Moment 4 Life".

The combination of fairy tale atmosphere with the rock solid stylings of rap makes this song a welcome note of well earned joy in this chaotic world of ours,not to mention a sweet dance mix to boot:

Now,let's tune into a couple of blasts from the past with Stop #1 being "Hero Takes a Fall" from The Bangles' first album All Over the Place. It was a big hit in England and was remixed for the girl group's greatest hits collection back in 1990.

Despite being a Bangles fan myself,I didn't know of this song until hearing it on a Gilmore Girls episode where the highlight of the plot took place at a reunion concert. Well,better late than never,as they say:

Around the same time as The Bangles' debut,the Pointer Sisters contributed a song from their Break Out album to the soundtrack for Beverly Hills Cop called "Neutron Dance",which made quite the pop culture mark.

Not only was the song seen as the signature piece for the film,it was featured on sitcoms like The Golden Girls and Family Guy,plus an episode of the Canadian teen drama DeGrassi:The Next Generation was named after it. Not so surprising,really since it's a known fact that you can't have a great dance party without at least one tune by these musical ladies:

For something completely different,check out this villainous number from Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-long Blog,"Brand New Day." The sentiments displayed in this little ditty are not very positive but they do bring a smile of recognition to the face of many mistreated misfits out there.

After all,even bad guys have a reason to vent sometimes,although forgiving past indignities in anticipation of a successful plan of revenge isn't a healthy expression of feeling that most therapists would recommend:

Happy New Year,everyone,and to close out 2011,here's an oldie but a goodie from Dan Fogelberg. I can't help it,this time of year doesn't sound right until a few notes from "Same Old Lang Syne" ring in my ears:

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Clicking thru some mid winter TV selections

With most of our regular shows taking some time off in Rerunville,this seems like a good opportunity to preview a handful of upcoming programs set to start next month.

Let's begin with Tabatha Takes Over,a revamp of the Bravo makeover series where tough talking Tabatha does for hair salons what Gordon Ramsey does for restaurants on Kitchen Nightmares. This season,however,she's not just hitting the beauty parlor beat.

Her practical approach to business will be applied to dog hotels,bake shops and other needy outlets. Don't worry,folks,she'll still be straightening out salons and giving them her special touch that means so much(January 10):

Another familiar face on a new scene is Brad Goreski,the breakout star assistant from The Rachel Zoe Project. Brad was smart enough to jump off that emotional rollercoaster and get his own career,plus a Bravo series dedicated to him.

It's A Brad,Brad World follows him around during his attempts to start making big waves in the fashion arena as well as his love life. No doubt Miss Rachel will be throwing things at the TV when this show is on,which is part of the fun in watching it(January 2):

If you're in the mood for another legal drama with a literary background,then you are in luck as NBC has on the docket a TV series version of John Grisham's The Firm. The show takes place ten years after the original story and has Mitch McDeere(Josh Lucas)leaving witness protection to start a new life with his loved ones.

John Grisham's books have a pretty good following but this is the third television show to be based on his works and the earlier ones(The Client and The Street Lawyer)didn't last for long. Then again,the third time may be the charm,as they say(January 8):

Adding to their "animation domination",Fox is premiering a cartoon version of the 2004 cult hit Napoleon Dynamite. A positive note in the show's favor is that original cast will be voicing the main characters and that the film's director Jared Hess is one of the creative producers.

On the minus side,the whole Napoleon Dynamite cache has already become a blip on the pop culture radar for many of it's fans. That doesn't rule out the promise of a sweet comeback,however- the revival of Beavis and Butthead has proven that and the same could happen here(January 15):

One show that I have no doubt about crashing and burning is the upcoming ABC sitcom,Work It. The premise here is that our current bad economy is making it harder for men to find work than women(which is as accurate as a history lesson from Glen Beck)and in order for the leading men on this series to secure steady jobs,they need to pass as women.

Protests are already underway as we speak,but personally I think this show is just a play off of the eighties cross dressing sitcom Bosom Buddies and a pretty poorly done version at that(January 3):

Even if none of these shows,or any other new series,hold no interest for you,don't despair. Mid winter tends to be a plateau for pop culture in all areas of entertainment but with the spring comes better things upon the wind. Those winds may be cold yet they are worth waiting for:

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Ringing in some new reads for Jan/Feb of 2012

Another bright and shiny new year is only a few days away and that heralds the arrival of many fresh delights,including books.

Sure,there will be some other nifty entertainment distractions around such as mid season TV shows and mid winter movies(not to mention Oscar season)but books are those old reliable pleasures that are always there when you need them,like that pair of worn out but comfy slippers by the side of your favorite chair. We've got quite a bit of genre ground to cover,so let's get started:


Much has been made of self published author Amanda Hocking's success with her Trylle Trilogy online and now folks can check her out in print form as Switched,the first volume in the series,arrives in bookstores next month.

The heroine of this story is Wendy,a young woman who is still haunted by a deadly assault at the hands of her mother when she was a child.

Wendy fears that maybe her mother was on to something when she insisted that Wendy was a monster and those suspicions are confirmed upon meeting Finn. He reveals that she is actually a changeling,a magical being who was replaced at birth with a mortal and now is the time to return home.

I received a review copy of this book,courtesy of Library Thing,and am curious to see what all the buzz is about. You never know where the next big thing in pop culture will be found,folks and Tyrlle just might be that golden ticket(January):

Another young woman finds her fate in magical circumstances in Kristen Callihan's Firelight,this time in London of 1881 where Miranda Ellis is forced to wed the mysteriously masked Lord Archer.

Miranda's fiery nature is not as formidable as her power to wield flames which she has struggled to control all of her life. Unleashing her full incendiary powers may be the only way to help her new husband,however,as he is accused of committing a gruesome string of murders in town.

It turns out that the two of them had more in common that they thought and that revealing those supernatural secrets may be their best bet for survival.Talk about hot times,indeed!(February):


The subtitle of Amy Thomas's memoir about France,Paris My Sweet,is "A Year in the City of Light(and Dark Chocolate)" which sets the tone for the tasty journey she took in exploring the candy shops,bakeries and cafes who create those special dessert delights that would turn Willy Wonka green with envy.

Her book is more than a guide to the best sweets in the city. Thomas goes into the cultural differences that add a special flavor to the food,whether it's served at a Parisian sidewalk cafe or a curbside corner of New York City. If you're looking for a foodie journey to savor,this book should be listed on your literary menu(February):


Lauren Willig offers her readers a new adventure in her Pink Carnation series that throws a feisty American into the mix. In The Garden Intrigue,inept poet Augustus Whittlesby has no choice but to enlist the aid of his severest critic,snarky widow Emma Delagardie, to get the inside scoop on a possible invasion of England by Napoleon.

Although Emma has been asked to provide the entertainment for the house party that Whittlesby must attend,her true amusement is in finding ways to avoid making any serious decisions about her life and future plans.

That leisurely existence of hers may come to an end sooner than expected as she and Augustus become more than convenient partners in spy games and risk not only their lives but their hearts(February):

In Bernard Cornwell's sixth title of his Saxon Tales,Death of Kings,England's future in the year 898 seems unsettled as dying king Alfred the Great broods over the fight for power that his son Edward faces.

Edward's strongest challenger to the throne is Uhtred,a Viking warrior who swore to uphold Alfred's vision of a united England yet longs to return to his homeland to reclaim what is his by birthright.

Despite the ties that bind,these two defenders of the realm ultimately clash and set Alfred's cause a few steps back and perhaps one forward. One thing about historical fiction,it's hard to run out of stories that need telling and Cornwell should have even more to add to this simmering pot of power hungry stew(January):


Thrity Umriger's second novel,The World We Found,a sad reunion of former friends offers a chance to change the course of their lives. During their days as rebellious college students in the Bombay of the late 1970s,Armati,Laleh,Kavita and Nishta were as close as sisters and never imagine that life wouldn't go according to their plans.

Decades later,the impending death of Amarti forces them to examine what's become of their grand ambitions and the decisions each made in spouses,personal sacrifices and pursuing her true passion. This thoughtful story sounds like another reading group sensation that will inspire plenty of talk for days and weeks to come(January).

Jane Eyre is the jumping off point for Margot Livesey's The Flight of Gemma Hardy as the title orphan girl must make her own way in 1950's and 60's Scotland.

After being rejected by her relatives and a harsh time at boarding school,Gemma takes an au pair position on the remote Orkney Islands. While doing her duties at Blackbird Hall,she catches the eye of her employer Hugh Sinclair who is her emotional opposite.

Even though they are drawn together by mutual desire,their relationship is doomed to face the secrets and lies built up around them. Taking on the classic Bronte tale is a risk for any writer but as they say,no risk,no reward(January):


The leading lady of John Green's upcoming YA novel,The Fault in Our Stars,is Hazel,a teenager worn out from grueling cancer treatments and the forced feel good rhetoric of her local support group. Her interest is peaked,however,by the arrival of a new member.

Augustus Waters and his off beat approach to their mutual situation motivates her to do more than watch endless episodes of America's Next Top Model and see what there is to enjoy in life.

I read an except of this book online and can safely say that this one is a real winner,no doubt about it. Even if you don't any teens in your social circle,this is one book that belongs in your Must Read pile(January).

Scot Westerfield's popular Uglies novels are now being retold in graphic novel form,starting with Shay's Story.

As Shay,the best friend of Tally Youngblood, awaits her sixteenth birthday which will allow her to make the transition into a "Pretty",her eyes are opened to the consequences of that choice through her getting to know a gang of Crims.

The world of the Uglies,Pretties and Specials is old news to some but this revamping of the trilogy promises to make this tale of inner vs. outer beauty new and inviting to comic book readers as well as fans of the original novels. Sometimes,remakes are worth checking out,folks(February):

Happy New Year of Reading,everyone and a word of advice to all of the authors who will be out promoting their new books. Making sure that your book is prominently displayed in stores is perfectly understandable but try not to be so hard with the hard sell,especially with the staff. You'll get better results with a basket of cookies,trust me:

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cecilia Grant graciously debuts A Lady Awakened

The premise of Cecilia Grant's debut novel,A Lady Awakened,might at first appear to be the set-up of a rather bawdy romp. Newly widowed Martha Russell is caught within the legalities of Regency England and in order to inherit the estate of her late husband,she must produce an heir before the end of her first month of mourning.

To that end,she offers a reluctantly transplanted new neighbor of hers,Theo Mirkwood,an indecent proposal;get her with child before time is up and he'll receive enough money to take his pleasures elsewhere.

Since Theo has been sent packing to one of his father's distant holdings due to the thoughtless ways in which he spends time and money(as well as the pursuit of amorous women),this seems like an offer too good to refuse.

However,there is more than meets the eye in this story when it comes to Martha and Theo than just bedroom hijinks(although those do occur but we'll get to that in a minute) and the thrills of this grand pursuit are truly those of an emotional roller-coaster nature:

Martha's motivations for retaining the estate are not those of a fortune hunter. She started a campaign to improve the lives of the tenant farmers on the estate,which includes a school for their children,particularly the girls.

In addition to that,her late husband's brother has a reputation for taking sexual advantage of the household maids,which many of the current staff remember all too well. That alone gives Martha plenty of reason to carry out this risky scheme but she also has little fondness for intimacy on any level and would rather save her passions for charitable endeavors.

She is bound and determined to keep this arrangement between her and Theo on a practical plain,which becomes hard to do as they get to know each other better. Martha,in a way,reminds me of such classic heroines as Jane Eyre or Sense and Sensibility's Elinor Dashwood,women who choose decorum and cool reasoning over their own heart's desire,regardless of whatever opportunities for their own happiness lie before them:

Theo Mirkwood,on the other hand,had no trouble accepting the unusual proposal that Martha made,being attracted to her right from the start. Not only interested in the money,Theo hoped to have a nice little lover's delight as well.

However,he soon found himself in a world of unexpected regret as Martha's clinical approach to their special arrangement were more effective than a cold shower to his physical and emotional needs.

He prided himself on being a truly frivolous person,bored by learning anything useful or knowing more than the highest price to pay for a snuffbox. Theo decided that the best way to engage the attentions and affections of Martha was to take an interest in the laborers on his family's property and much to his own surprise,found that he had a knack for making improvements as well as encouraging others to do so.

This talent for taking responsibility and finding innovative means of assistance that benefit the whole community helps to bring both Theo and Martha closer together,in every sense of that term. In a way,Theo reminds me of Henry Crawford from Mansfield Park,if he had a good twin or truly wanted to be a better person,that is:

Author Cecilia Grant imbues her characters with realistic charm and grace,making both their inner turmoil and outward frustrations(sexual and otherwise)compelling components of the story.

The evolution of Martha and Theo's relationship is reflected through both their clandestine bed chamber meetings and their widening influence in the community. The two of them started out as isolated figures who let very few people into their personal sphere and not before long,find themselves the center of many other social circles. The positive growth of these romantic leads extends beyond themselves,which is something that doesn't happen to many major fictional folk and is enriching for the reader to explore.

I was fortunate enough to receive an advance copy of this book from Library Thing and I hope that many of you out there who got gift cards in your stocking this season use them to grab an edition for yourself. A Lady Awakened is on sale as we speak and will be followed up by A Gentleman Undone in May of 2012. This Regency era romance is a lovely way to warm the upcoming winter nights and keep those home fires burning for the rest of the year:

Friday, December 23, 2011

Have a happy holiday with the LRG Jingle Bell Jukebox!

As some of you may know,we here at LRG like to set up a selection of appropriate seasonal music for folks to enjoy during their holiday time. With this being the day before the night before Christmas(not to mention in the midst of Hanukkah),our turntables are ready to spin:

First up is Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You",which received a nice revival this year due to a homemade video of British naval officers celebrating the news of their holiday shore leave with this song. It is a peppy little number that puts you in the proper festive mood and gets your toes tapping on the dance floor as well:

Next,we have Adam Sandler's tribute to the Festival of Lights with "The Hannukah Song". This rendition is the third edition of the delightful humorous tune with back up by the Dre-Dels and a special guest appearance by SNL Rob Schneider.

This version was made for the soundtrack of Sandler's 2002 animated film,Eight Crazy Nights, which is more for grown-ups than for kids but if you're a fan of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation or Bad Santa,is probably worth a look :

Speaking of movie related songs,this holiday number from The Kinks,"Father Christmas" was used to promote the 2006 Christmas themed comedy Unaccompanied Minors. The song is rather cynical for the season,which suited this film just fine(movie goers,not so much).

However,with the uncertainty of the times right now,I think this song will find a place amongst those who feel the need to keep their protesting spirit alive during the holiday season. Yep,I can hear this being sung at an Occupy rally or two:

For a less abrasive approach to tough times,check out the title ditty from the 1986 TV movie,"A Smoky Mountain Christmas" starring Dolly Parton as a famous country singer who hides out from her demanding public in a cabin near Tennessee's Smoky Mountains(hence the name of the movie).

Dolly stumbles across a pack of orphans avoiding the authorities and they agree to hide out together. Their holiday adventures include the wrath of a jealous mountain witch, a stalker/photographer and a crusty fella named Mountain Dan(Lee Majors) who teams up with Dolly in order to save the kids and Christmas.

In this clip,Dolly is singing to the children while Mountain Dan does a little reluctant bonding. I sincerely hope one of the cable channels shows this gem over the holiday weekend,it sounds like a made for MST3K special:

For a jazzy update on a classic,here's Lady GaGa with her take on "White Christmas" from her Thanksgiving special.

Some people took a bit of umbrage with her adding on a new stanza about a snowman,but,hey isn't an artist supposed to bring his/her own touch to a standard work to make it fresh there? Let's just mellow out and enjoy this with a nice cup of cocoa and some cookies for Santa:

Merry Christmas,Happy Hanukah,a Joyous Kwanzza and a Splendid Boxing Day(which is next Monday)to one and all. I'll see you here before the New Year(with a collection of tunes to ring out 2011 in style)and our playlist closes with a favorite video of mine,this charming lip sync of the Waitresses' "Christmas Wrapping".

It has everything;blinking lights,tooth pick animation and a Jenna Fischer lookalike(in my opinion). How could you not love this? Have fun with your loved ones,folks-that's the best part of this whole holiday season and the best reason for having it in the first place:

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Top Chef Texas rings the dinner LaBelle,Work of Art's winner and a new season of Downton Abbey is on the horizon

The contenders on Top Chef Texas went to Austin,where Judge Tom was waiting with Padma for their next Quickfire. The challenge was to take suggestions from TC's Twitter followers to make a dish within forty five minutes. Immunity was not on the table but the chance to win ten grand was.

The tweets had the chefs making bacon the focal point of the plate,with a hash on the side. At one point,each one of them had to grab an ingredient from the pantry and pass it on to someone.

That caused a lot of confusion but some good dishes came out of that twisty turn challenge. Paul took the prize money here,for managing to make a satisfying flavor combination out of bacon fat,blackberries,asparagus and clams.

After that,everyone was sent to a bar where,lo and behold,the great Patti LaBelle appeared. She sang a little "Lady Marmalade" for them before Padma came out to introduce the Elimination challenge.

The theme was inspiration,as in make the dish that inspired them to become chefs and to also honor the person in your life that served as your culinary role model. Patti and a few of her friends joined the judges for the dinner,along with Emeril who took his turn on the regular TC panel this round.

Since there was some left over tension from Heather's bout of nastiness last week,it was gratifying to see Beverly take a spot in the Top Three this round.

Her inspiration was her mother and she represented her with a Korean short rib that was braised in a pressure cooker and served with an edamame puree with scallions and mushrooms. The meat came out incredibly tender,due to Beverly taking a chance with a piece of kitchen equipment that wasn't usually in her comfort zone and the judges felt that the rest of the dish was composed nicely.

Edward joined her in the winner's circle,for a modern version of his grandmother's bibimbap,which is mostly made up of rice and vegetables.

He was worried about serving such a non-protein plate but the lemon chili sauce along with the fried egg on top truly sealed the deal for him.

Sarah won the challenge,however,by combining two of her grandparents' favorite meals,homemade sausage and stuffed cabbage.

She ground up her own sausage and filled cabbage leaves with it,plus made spinach with browned butter. I don't even like spinach and that sounded good to me! Seeing her win was a treat,since her face lit up with authentic joy.

Less than thrilled was Grayson,who wound up in the Bottom Three for the basic approach she took to this challenge. She chose to make the kind of steak dinner that her dad would make,which was not a totally bad idea,yet she didn't bring anything new to the plate.

Also,her choice of meat wasn't up to par and not only did the steak dominate the dish,it was hard to cut and chew as well. I hope she has better luck next time.

Next to her was Chris C.,who hoped that no one would notice the white film on his sockeye salmon that indicated that it was rushed to the plate(of course,just about everyone did).

The brown sugar glazed carrot puree and potato comfit that went with it weren't much of a crowd pleaser at the table,either. The overall conclusion was that he mixed and matched too many flavors at once here.

Shipped off to Last Chance Kitchen here was Heather,due to making her mother's beef stroganoff a meaty mess.

The beef had trouble braising and she was too nervous about using a pressure cooker(unlike Beverly,totally ironic)to fix the problem. The meat was so bad that Patti LaBelle insisted that it came from Bigfoot,ouch!

The herb spaetzle that accompanied it was dry as well. While I'm happy to see Heather packing her knives before unleashing any more meanness on Beverly(who I'm starting to warm up to),the possibility of her return makes her a bit uneasy. Still don't know when the LCK competitions will be over but maybe by the time Top Chef Texas returns in early January,we'll get a clue on that.

The second season finale of Work of Art had our three finalists eager yet anxious to present their exhibits. Each one had a home visit from Mentor Simon,who offered up suggestions on their progress that they all seemed to take to heart.

Young's display was mainly dedicated to the death of his father,with family photos mounted on some of his dad's shirts and hung up in a clothesline manner and a shrine made up of objects that were left behind.

The whole exhibit showcased the impact of that passing upon his family very strongly and even caused hostess China Chow to shed a few tears,due to the memories of her mother's demise that were brought to the surface during the show.

Despite that intensity,Young's arrangement of the pieces did come off a little insular and at times,it felt as if he was boxed in not only by that sadness but also by some of his other artistic notions.

Young also tried to incorporate another piece,a wooden platform that was photographed in different locations but that merger didn't work out as well it could. Nonetheless,it was a truly thoughtful tribute and Young will,no doubt,do well in his future artistic endeavors.

Sara made a rather bold move by stepping far and away out of the box and showcasing sculpture,paintings and performance art.

She made a costume that allowed her to collect anonymous confessions from passers-by(it was shown on video)and the themes gathered from that turned into pieces such as a mattress filled up with syringe needles(a very Saw 2 vibe there)and a giant bird cage with a thousand paper cranes escaping from it.

Sara's brave new steps were appreciated by some but not all. Judge Bill insisted that it came off more like "collection of short stories" instead of a completed narrative. Hey,Bill,you do know that short story collections can possess a central theme while certain selections are able to stand alone on their own merits,right? Just checking!

Anyhow,this new approach highlighted many of Sara's strengths while giving her room to expand her horizons. She came in third place but not for lack of trying,that's for damn sure.

While Kymia's exhibit shared the theme of the death of a parent with Young's,her take on that included a look into the nature of death and spirituality that had both paintings and sculptures included.

She made what I consider a death mask that was pretty impressive,along with three "grave" displays. Most of the showcase had a series of paintings done in different mediums that invoked mythology and pathos in a way that inspired thoughtful contemplation.

The strongest piece in Kymia's collection was a painting of a sail boat that represented her father's sudden death and partly inspired by a dream she had of him. The seemingly simple imagery with it's subtle air of mystery was an absolute stand out and that alone earned Kymia the win,in my opinion.

Congratulations,Kymia,and I wish you the very best. In addition to the other prizes,one of her pieces will be auctioned off by Mentor Simon and all of the money will go right to Kymia. Chances are that it'll be the boat painting that goes on the auction block and whoever gets it should put that amazing work in a truly proper place of honor.

My favorite moment of the night was the appearance of the Sucklord at the finale,where he presented Judge Jerry with a very special action figure.

The "Art Critic" figure comes in regular and glow in the dark editions and yes,folks,you can buy your own from the Sucklord(no,I don't get any compensation for this. I just find it knee slappingly funny as hell).

Hey,Jerry,remember when you were confused by the Sucklord's exit line-"If you strike me down,I shall become more powerful that you can possibly imagine"-a few weeks ago? This is the fulfillment of the prophecy there,buddy. It wouldn't hurt you to learn a little more about pop culture in case you show up again next time and maybe expand some of your horizons as well:

With the new year just around the corner,the new season of Downton Abbey is hard upon our heels. The beginning of the first World War will shift some of the focus that the lives and loves of the aristocrats and servants have regarding the future of their world but the themes of money,class and manipulation are going to still be on hand.

The first season of DA will be replayed during the holidays until the premiere of Season Two on January 8,2012. With the cold winter months just getting their bearings and other media speculations threatening to overwhelm our senses in the new year,going back to Downton will be a very welcome relief indeed:


RACHEL VS. GUY:CELEBRITY COOK-OFF- Also due in early 2012,Food Network will have a variety pack of celebs compete to win fifty grand for charity in teams headed up by Rachel Ray and Guy Fieri.

Some of these famous folk have appeared on Iron Chef America as judges while others appeared to be new to the cooking scene. Either way,this should be a pretty appetizing distraction for foodies to enjoy:

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Which superhero films soared or sunk at the movies this year?

We've had our fair share of superhero themed flicks in 2011,with both Marvel and DC throwing their big budget hats into this cinematic ring.

How well they did is not only based on the box office receipts,however-the true success of each film lies in the storytelling and the interest peaked within the minds of the moviegoers as to seeing more of these heroes and villains in later installments.

In that department,X Men: First Class is an all around winner. The film managed to pull the X Men movies out of the slump it was sliding into,thanks to the lackluster Wolverine flick,and it even received decent reviews from many of the critics as well.

Most agree that the real standout performance in XM;FC came from Michel Fassbinder as Erik,aka Magneto. His nuanced take on the rightfully angry young man still deciding upon which road to take with his mutant abilities made him both sympathetic and a deadly force to be reckoned with:

Speaking of franchises,two of Marvel's big superhero releases were meant to introduce two pivotal characters for the upcoming Avengers movie due out by summer of 2012. While Thor was amusing enough,the real heavyweight champion here was Captain America:The First Avenger.

By wisely choosing director Joe Johnston(best known for his retro cult film,The Rocketeer),the tone for an old fashioned approach to a major icon in the Marvel cannon was properly set. In addition,characterization was nicely build up for our leading man,who was selected to become a super soldier based on his inner rather than his outer strengths:

Meanwhile,DC took a huge swing with Green Lantern and missed by more than a mile there. First off,Ryan Reynolds was not a good casting choice;the guy is way too snarky to be straight shooter Hal Jordan(stick to Deadpool,buddy!)and second,the flimsy script combined with overblown special effects was a surefire formula for film failure.

Hopefully,this won't be a discouragement to other DC heroes getting their shot at the big screen(still waiting for Wonder Woman over here!)but this sucker was a train wreck of epic proportions that understandably made folks run out of the theaters in terror and not in a good way:

Green was definitely not a super color to don for any potential hero this season,as Seth Rogan attempted to enter the ranks of cinematic evil fighters with The Green Hornet. Granted,it's hard to revive such an old school cult figure but it's not impossible.

Unfortunately,the end result here was an awkward mix of comedy,action adventure and 3D,which made this whole movie more of a chore to get through instead of a fun time at the movies. It's one thing to share your love of small scale heroes,it's another to make the scale even smaller by focusing the attention all on your fantasy life,Seth,just saying:

Next year looks particularly promising,with the Avengers on the horizon and the third Christopher Nolan/Christian Bale Batman film. As the latest trailer for The Dark Knight Rises shows,the intensity levels are going to go up big time.

Also,I have a little more faith in Anne Hathaway's Catwoman as her comments to Bruce Wayne in this clip suggest a rather Occupy Gotham City vibe to the plot,plus Bane appears to be some sort of violent revolutionary figure.

Between this alleged last of the Dark Knight saga and Marvel's action packed Avengers,I think we may be in for quite a wild ride. Superheroes on film go in and out of style but there are times when we need to see some form of heroics on screen and 2012 holds enough uncertainty as it is,that holding out for any sort of hero should at least be rewarded somewhere: