Monthly Archives: September 2012

By Will Ashton

The Greater Cleveland Film Commission announced today that Captain America: The Winter Solider, the highly anticipated sequel to Captain America: The First Avenger to be directed by Joe and Anthony Russo (Community), will be filming about 40% of the film in the Cleveland area.

Filming is set to begin early next year for its April 4, 2014 release.  For those of you keeping track at home, this is the second time that a Marvel film has been shot in the Cleveland area.  The first was for The Avengers, where the studio shot most of its city-based shots during its epic conclusion.

“Marvel is pleased to return to Ohio, this time with our Captain America: The Winter Soldier production. The location, talent and people of Ohio are sure to benefit our film, and we look forward to beginning production,” Louis D’Esposito, co-president of Marvel Studios, said in a press release.

In June, the press release announced that the state of Ohio expanded the Ohio Motion Picture Tax Incentive, which is a critical tool for strengthening Ohio’s growing film industry and creating jobs for Ohio citizens. The tax incentive provides for a refundable credit against the corporation franchise or income tax for motion pictures produced in Ohio.

Production on the film will take place in the Cuyahoga county area, along with a few other places.

“We are thrilled that Cuyahoga county is being seen as a destination for filmmakers,” Ed FitzGerald, Cuyahoga county executive, said in the press release. “The resources that we have to offer, including our skilled workforce, makes our region a natural fit for the film industry. Projects like this means jobs and economic development for Cuyahoga county.”

So Cleveland citizens, look forward to seeing the star-spangled avenger in your area.  Who knows, a few likely people might even get to meet the Cap himself.


By Meryl Gottlieb|| @merylgottlieb
Glee airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on Fox.
Rating: 3.5/ 5

Similar to last week, tonight’s episode, “Makeover,” opened strong with Blaine (Darren Criss) singing “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” set to a montage of his participation in multiple clubs in order to pass the time now that Kurt (Chris Colfer) is in New York (the highlight of the montage, by the way, involves Blaine joining the Superhero Sidekick Club where he dresses like a generic Robin but with cat ears – “Kitten Boy?”).  He also decides to run for senior class president against Brittany (Heather Morris), who has decided to be the first, and hopefully only, two-term president. Eventually, Brittany decides to run with Artie (Kevin McHale) as her vice president, while Blaine runs with Sam (Chord Overstreet).

Meanwhile, in New York, Kurt applies for an internship at, where he interviews with fashion icon, Isabelle Wright (Sarah Jessica Parker). It’s here that I fell in love with Kurt all over again – his incredible enthusiasm and passion for fashion (assonance not intended there, I promise) is an inspiration to all of us college folks who have such big aspirations for our own futures. That charm also seemed to work for SJP because she hired him on the spot.

But he’s not just a charmer; Kurt came through with a creative idea to revitalize the brand, creating the possibility that this may turn into a long-term position for him.

That being said, Isabelle is not that likeable of a character when left to take the stage. Her scenes with Kurt are endearing, but she cannot carry a scene by herself. I’m not saying it is Parker’s fault; I think the writers should have stepped up their game more.

Back at McKinley, Mr. Schuester (Matthew Morrison) pretty much hates his job – facing a serious case of post-Nationals depression (“It all feels so meaningless. Does every teacher feel like this?” My answer: probably). He then discovers, though, that there is a position open to help students everywhere by advocating for the arts education programs. We later find out that this would make him leave McKinley for a while – no, Schue, don’t go! I don’t care if you haven’t had a good story line since season one; you must stay! I need some sort of consistency in my life.

Also, Artie plans to makeover Brittany so she can be taken more seriously as a candidate and the same goes for Blaine with Sam. Both go through the whole process to the song “Celebrity Skin,” which the two sang well, but the choreography and background did not fit right with certain parts of the scene and made it look awkward at times.

Moreover, Rachel (Lea Michele) is once again being picked on at school… is it really such a surprise to be ridiculed for wearing a neon pink leotard? So Kurt decides to take her to the “Couture Closet” of to give her a makeover so she can fit in. Two glaring issues popped up here: One, how does Kurt think he has the authority to let Rachel try on all of the clothes when the office is closed? I nearly had a heart attack or at least a palpitation over this naiveté. Then, as expected, S.J.P. walks in, but, oh, no it’s ok everyone, because you want to give Rachel a makeover, so let’s all just sing an awkward mash-up and be merry… no.

Two, why is image such an issue? Mr. Murphy (Glee’s creator), do not push the image thing for most of an episode when you are supposed to be all about staying true to who you are.

I guess Lea Michele just got sick of wearing the knee-high socks.

In addition, the actual presidential campaign could learn a few tactics to entice voters from tonight’s episode, although I’m not sure it bode well for Biden if he took off his shirt like Sam.  Anyway, “Blam” (Blaine and Sam’s campaign) won. Blaine cannot celebrate, though, because of his distancing relationship with Kurt (so now every Glee fan on Tumblr sharpens their claws in preparation to kill Ryan Murphy if they break up).

Now, let’s move on to what was supposed to be a big surprise, though I saw it coming two episodes ago. Brody and Rachel have a montage to “A Change Would Do You Good” while running around New York (cute yet ridiculous) and doing a “spontaneous” dance routine in the studio. Rachel invites Brody over for dinner, and, skipping the flirty banter between the two, they kiss.  They’re interrupted by a knock on the door, and who would it be one other than our own Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith), who has quite a surprised/pissed look on his face when he sees Brody in Rachel’s apartment. I was not the least bit surprised; I simply wish Ryan could have been a little more creative about introducing the love-triangle fiasco.

Next week’s episode, however, seems to have all the crazy drama that sucked me in during season one. Here’s to hoping!

By Ian Ording | | @IanOrding
Rating 5/5

While many would argue there was almost nothing to improve upon with the original game, Borderlands 2 breaks the rule of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Luckily, it succeeds almost entirely without fault. Toting comic-book style graphics, a pop-culture laden sense of humor and an arsenal of millions of guns, Gearbox Software’s latest game is an absolute thrill-ride that cannot be recommended highly enough.

On a quest to the planet of Pandora to seek out the fabled Vault for its treasure, a quartet of adventurers are ambushed by the corporate villain Handsome Jack in the opening scene. Predictably, this is the player’s cue to select between the four very different warriors to guide through the game.

The differences that separate the characters are more tangible than mere statistical variations. Each has its own special power to be implemented in battle. Maya the Siren can use psychic powers to pick up and hold enemies. Axton the commando throws down turrets to offer backup firepower and defense against the dregs of Pandora. Salvador the Gunzerker can go into a rage and blast through baddies with two guns at once. Finally, Zer0, the awkwardly named assassin, turns invisible and produces a hologram to confuse his foes.

This choice is integral to your Borderlands experience as it will dictate how you’ll play during the entire game. While this may sound intimidating, it just means there’s a built-in reason to play the game at least four times; all four classes are a breeze to get a hang of and their combat styles evolve wonderfully as you level up and progress through the campaign. This ensures you’ll have a much more layered and complex strategy for late-level fights than at the start of the game.

Do not make the mistake of thinking this is an average shooter; just because the game is in first-person and uses guns doesn’t make it a Call of Duty wannabe. Borderlands 2 is first and foremost a role-playing-game. Your main motivation is improving your characters’ stats and gear. These are both a blast since the skill trees are greatly expanded from those of the first game and the second still boasts millions of different guns. Yes, millions. You will never see the same weapon twice while playing and there is endless room for improvement.

Although the game is an RPG, that doesn’t mean there is any shortage of action. Every firefight becomes supremely tense with large groups of enemies and a near-constant stream of boss battles. You’ll be strategically switching between machine-guns and shotguns and using your class ability every time there’s an altercation rather than just at the big ones, which is not something every RPG can boast about. Every time you finish a battle alive, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and relief. As a result, none of the action feels shoe-horned in and players will be much obliged to take on every bad guy they come across.

One of the few things the first installment faltered on was the story. While there was some funny writing here and there, it lacked in overall motivation and quantity of voice acting.

The sequel fixes the former problem immediately by presenting a great antagonist within the first three minutes of popping the disc in. Handsome Jack, capturing America’s newly reemerged fear of corporate greed, is equal parts sociopathic and hilarious incorporating a dialogue delivery style not unlike that of the titular character of the show Archer.

The latter stumbling block is completely reversed with tons of spoken dialogue from almost every character. To make matters better, the majority is somewhere on a spectrum between tongue-in-cheek and laugh-out-loud. Between the beatboxing robot Claptrap and missions that that reference everything from Dark Souls to Top Gun’s volleyball scene, even the most jaded gamer will chortle throughout his or her playthrough.

Gearbox provides a sensory assault both visually and aurally. Rather than utilizing the now industry-standard gritty, dismal graphic scheme of so many other modern games, Borderlands 2 looks much more like a comic book. Its thick outlines and bright color palette sets it apart from much of the rest of this generation’s biggest titles. Accompanying the refreshing art is a stellar soundtrack that would feel at home in a space odyssey or a western.

In short, if you’re not playing Borderlands 2, you should be. Gearbox has crafted an experience wholly unlike almost everything else on the market and definitely as good as any game released this year, if not this console generation. The brutal action and zany sense of humor accent excellent gameplay and character progression. Borderlands 2 is a veritable Vault in its own right containing a deep and priceless vein of entertainment.

By Nicolien Buholzer | | @nicobuholzer

The Mindy Project airs Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. on Fox.

Between Go On and The New Normal, the chances for a new fall comedy were starting to look pretty bleak. Yes, I knew The Mindy Project was coming, and while Mindy Kaling wrote some of my all-time favorite episodes of The Office, her book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) was something of a disappointment. It was enjoyable, it was cute, but, well … it was nothing special, let’s leave it at that.

So I had obvious concerns for The Mindy Project, at the forefront of which was the way women would end up portrayed. Kaling’s book ended up knocking her down a few pegs for me mainly because she came off as sort of a bimbo — a bimbo with a quick tongue, but she hardly seemed like a strong female role model. We hardly needed another show like New Girl, where girls are cutesy quirky Manic Pixie Dream girls who mostly obsess over their love lives and fashion. We live in the age of children’s movies like Brave, for God’s sake! Let’s see an awesome, independent lady kicking butt at her job.

And, well, OK, The Mindy Project doesn’t really give us that. Kaling plays Mindy Lahiri, an OBGYN who’s been obsessed with rom-coms her entire life. Right off the bat, it’s quite obvious Mindy’s life essentially revolves around finding the perfect guy. Within five minutes, she’s giving a drunken toast at her ex’s wedding and talking to a Barbie about how she doesn’t have a boyfriend.

Mindy then, after a day at work full of quirky banter, ends up on a date with Dennis (Ed Helms, her co-star from The Office). After suppressing her crazy self, said crazy bubbles to the surface when she has to run off to work to deliver a baby.

Yet, Kaling’s writing still manages to drive home enough funny lines (“Today I’ll change my life. Today I’ll take the stairs instead of the elevator. Or maybe the escalator. Baby steps.”) to win me over, and more than that, Kaling manages to also poke fun at girls like her who obsess with clothes and impressing guys.

And, at the end of the day, Mindy leaves a date with a seemingly fantastic guy because of her job. It’s her job that gives her a sense of satisfaction, of purpose, and I sincerely hope that’s what she figures out, sooner rather than later.

But what I think The Mindy Project offers to TV is a character with traits that would usually be their entire identity — Mindy’s no size 2 and she’s Indian — but in the end isn’t defined by those traits. The Mindy Project is the first sitcom created and starring an Indian-American, but Kaling didn’t write Mindy to be an Indian-American. She’s mostly a woman, and yeah, I’m sure down the line there will be plot lines focused on her being an Indian, but it’s not her defining trait. It seems like almost any movie or show starring an Indian woman has to revolve around how Indian families have strict traditions and the star is breaking those traditions to be with a nice white boy. So far, Mindy’s dating white men hasn’t surfaced as a problem.

And, as is the case with HBO’s Girls, it’s refreshing to see a female star who isn’t a size 2. Characters like 30 Rock’s Liz Lemon — and if you know me at all, you’ll know it’s hard for me to criticize 30 Rock too much — get made fun of for not being skinny, but no one can look at Tina Fey and comment on her size. Sure, Tina might have been a size 12 in her Second-City days, but she’s dropped down quite a bit now. When Dr. Danny Castellano — who will obviously end up being the guy we want Mindy with — tells Mindy she’d look a lot better if she “lost five pounds,” it doesn’t sound as ridiculous as when Jack Donaghy makes fun of Lemon for her size.

Women who aren’t super tiny have always been reserved for playing the funny, chubby best friend who’s always eating and making jokes about eating. Sure, there are a few comments about Mindy’s size, but Kaling’s always been an advocate for being a healthy size and loving your own body, so I feel confident saying she won’t end up turning Mindy into a caricature.

So I’m rooting for The Mindy Project. It’s not going to dethrone any old favorites, but when put alongside its freshmen peers, it’ll likely push its way to the forefront as the strongest of the new comedies — even if it’s still trailing behind the kingpins.

By Anjelica Oswald | | @thisisjelli

This is the year for Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

He is in four movies (Dark Knight Rises, Premium Rush, Looper, Lincoln), with Don Jon’s Addiction coming out next year; he was on the front cover of GQ’s August issue; and he just hosted Saturday Night Live — for the second time.

I have to say I love seeing my main man (oh how I wish) on screen all of the time. Ever since I saw his quirky adorable side in 10 Things I Hate About You, I knew there was something about his wonderful face (although Heath Ledger was mighty fine too). But I kind of forgot about him until (500) Days of Summer, and now I find myself stalking his Twitter, his Tumblr and his project, hitRECord.

JGL is not only attractive, but he has this vibe about him that screams calm, cool and collected.
He collaborates with average people for hitRECord and isn’t plastered all over the news. He posts videos, plays guitar and sings too. The guy can do absolutely anything he wants.

With his skill set, talent and ability to make any girl faint at the sight of his face, I know Gordon-Levitt is going to go far, and I cannot wait to support him in his endeavors.

“While I’m not a celebrity, it’s such a weird concept that society has cooked up for us. Astronauts and teachers are much more amazing than actors.” –Joseph Gordon-Levitt

He is perfect right?

By William Hoffman | | @Wilbur_Hoffman
Babel | Mumford & Sons

Mumford & Sons exploded into popularity back in 2011 when they performed their title track “Little Lion Man” at the Grammys, largely popularizing the energetic folk sound that many have come to love.

Now the band is back with their new album Babel, playing up the same folk sounds that made them popular. You can expect great fast-paced guitar lines, deep meaningful lyrics backed by Marcus Mumford’s sultry voice, as well as a greater emphasis on the banjo and strings.

If you liked Sigh No More, you’ll like Babel, but Mumford won’t likely gain a new audience because when it comes down to it, Babel differs very little from their initial success.

In this case it’s not such a bad thing, though. Sigh No More was a short album that was overplayed to the point of cringing, and I think many people are eager for that same dark sound that Mumford brings to the table.

Songs like “Broken Crown” and “Ghosts That We Knew”  bring a wonderfully dark and ominous feel that fans have grown to love from the band, while still accompanied by hopeful lyrics — “But I will hold as long as you like/ Just promise me we’ll be alright.”

It’s songs like these that exemplify the great lyrical ability of Marcus Mumford which has only gotten better on this album, despite its instrumental similarity to Sigh No More.

Unfortunately, while the album’s single “I Will Wait”is a great catchy energetic tune, when you break it down it’s basically “Little Lion Man” all over again.

While I’d have liked to have seen a little more originality in this album, the fact is I enjoy the album just as much as Sigh No More, if not even more. Only time will tell if they are able to be more original next time around.

Mumford & Sons on ‘Saturday Night Live’

By Will Ashton |
Pitch Perfect | Directed by Jason Moore | Rated PG-13

These days, it seems like Anna Kendrick is everywhere.

After her Oscar-nominated turn in Up in the Air, which I consider to be the best film of 2009, Kendrick has gone on to co-star in some great (Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, 50/50) and not-so-great (the Twilight series…) films in her young career.

But in 2012, she’ll star in her first starring role in Pitch Perfect, which is one of five films she is starring in this year: What to Expect When You’re Expecting, ParaNorman, End of Watch, and The Company You Keep.

Kendrick plays Beca, a freshman at Barden University who is also a young DJ pursuing a career in the music industry in L.A. Forced into college by her father, she remains an outsider among her peers, refusing to go to classes and not a member of any clubs.

Disapproving of her isolated lifestyle, her father makes a deal with her. If she applies herself in school and joins at least one club, she will financially support her trip to L.A.  Additionally, if she still hates college after one year, she can quit.

When it comes to clubs, Barden University is known particularly for one: a cappella groups. With tensions higher than ever between the male and female groups — especially after an unfortunate incident that happened with the female a cappella group in finals — the female groups are searching desperately for new members to win this year.

While searching, they stumble upon Beca’s talents. In addition to her DJ talents, Beca is also an extremely talented singer.  After practically being forced to join the group, Beca believes her group’s second-rate status is due to its inability to adapt itself into the 21st century. Through Beca, the group learns to change themselves into winners, and become strong forces in the a cappella world.

Based on the novel of the same title by Mickey Rapkin, the film definitely displays a strong sense of spirit and liveliness. It’s practically the equivalent of throwing Glee and Bring It On into a blender, then pouring the results onto film. It’s watchable enough, and Kendrick is as charming and likable as ever, but the film ultimately never quite gels together.

It’s not without its bright spots. Kendrick has already being mentioned but also the chemistry she shares with co-star Skylar Astin feels surprisingly genuine. Additionally, supporting roles from Elizabeth Banks (who also produces) and Hana Mae Lee provide some chuckles.

But ultimately, the film can’t shake off its weaknesses, which come mainly from being so formulaic and also not being very clever or funny throughout.

The cast is spunky enough for the material, and they seem pretty aware of the absurdity of its plot. But what can they do if they are without any good material? And the film tries oh-so-hard to say that its rising co-star Rebel Wilson is hilarious, but she’s not…. at all.  Not in this film, at least.

It’s not painful, and it’s hard for me to be against a movie that actually includes a pro-film loving subplot, but Pitch Perfect just doesn’t have the chops to make itself a good comedy. It’s certainly not the worst comedy I’ve seen this year (don’t worry, That’s My Boy, you still hold THAT honor…), but its still not that good. The most disappointing thing here is that it wastes the talent of Kendrick in her first lead role. But she’s still young, and can make it up with the rest of her career, or maybe even this year alone.

Pitch Perfect, however, just isn’t that.