Archives for category: Starpulse Exclusives

Hoopnotica

The market is flooded with DVDs that make promises about weight loss and burning calories. While many help you get a good work out, they often have the same tried and true exercises. How many downward dogs and burpees can you do before getting bored?

Hoopnotica offers a twist on the traditional fitness DVD with a series of hula hoop related work outs. It’s fresh, challenging and a lot of fun for those who have never hooped before.

“Hoopnotica Hoopdance Beginning Level 1” includes several exercises that are unique and enjoyable, albeit mostly instructional. Essentially, you have to get the hang of the moves before starting a full-blown work out.

The great part is that the DVD includes detailed instruction so you learn how to do each exercise correctly. It takes a little practice to get the moves right. If you’re still struggling with some of the techniques, the DVD includes a trouble shooting guide.

Learn how to hoop on your waist as well as your hips. After you’ve conquered the basics, you’ll learn to perform halos and corkscrews. After even more practice, you’ll be passing and floating the hula hoop, creating a rhythmic sequence that will make your friends and kids want to join in on the fun.

Plus, it makes you look and feel sexy. Who doesn’t want that?

*The company recommends purchasing a hula hoop from them to ensure it’s the correct weight and size for the optimal workout.

Photo Credits: Hoopnotica

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Justified

Raylan Givens can’t seem to catch a break. In this week’s Justified episode, crafted from a story idea co-written by none other than the legendary Elmore Leonard himself, that’s bad for Raylan but great for those of you scoring at home.

Six days ago, Raylan was turning Jody Adair (guest star Chris Chalk) – the guy he caught and stuffed in his trunk in the season premiere – over to his old friend the bail bondswoman. Once she’s got her prey, she moons over Raylan for a bit to her partner, but is shut up by the need to make a sudden pit stop. Once she’s gone, Jody explodes out of the back of her van, kills her partner, and then shoots her. This horrifies his apparent partner in crime (guest star Michael Gladis), who didn’t think anyone was going to die. You’re on the wrong show for that, dude.

In the present day, at the Marshals Office, Raylan and Art discuss how the Drew Thompson case is going nowhere. Art suggests that Raylan go talk to the former Harlan sheriff and then his father – two people our hero wants absolutely nothing to do with. On the road, Raylan gets a call from local law enforcement about his friend’s untimely death, and tells the deputy “I think I know who you’re looking for.”

Johnny Crowder (guest star David Meunier) is sleeping with Teri (guest star Cathy Baron) the working girl that he saved last week, but he knows it wasn’t Max that hit her. She pleads with him to leave it alone, but he’s able to figure out in thirty seconds that it was Colt, sending her into a panic. “He was tweaking, pissed off, asking about Ella Mae,” she tells him, which clues Johnny into the fact that Ella Mae is still alive.

Jody tells his still-complaining accomplice about his plan to come into a large sum of money, and is sitting across from him when said accomplice gets a call from the cops about how well he knows Raylan’s late friend. With that they know they need to get the heck out of there. The two of them decide to visit Jody’s ex-wife’s place, but they’re beaten there by Raylan, who meets Jackie Nevada (The Secret Circle star Shelley Hennig), who’s housesitting while Jody’s ex is at Dollywood with the kids. This being Justified, she’s far more than just a friendly civilian with an awkward name. Raylan susses out that she’s likely working him from the moment she gets into his car.

Elsewhere, Boyd is not looking forward to attending Napier’s fancy party, but Ava convinces him that it’s the best way for them to find which one of the rich old folks there could be Drew Thompson. The two of them awkwardly mingle, with Ava getting a tour and some career advice from the party’s hostess, and Boyd finding out everyone knows his name. It’s like Cheers with better decor!

1 of 2Next pagePhoto Credits: FX

Revenge8-20110921-9.jpg

Revenge showed the sailboat Amanda at the bottom of the ocean way back in its September season premiere. The series did this in season one and the payoff in February was worth the wait. I insulted the show way more than I complimented it during season one, but the payoff to the shooting on the beach during the Fire and Ice party was impressive. It felt planned whereas every story in season two feels unplanned. Conrad’s going to run for governor? Of course he is. I may need to stop writing about the show when that storyline begins. The mystery about the sunken boat was the only plot thread I wanted untangled. The sunken boat story has been the only element of season two that had suspense and mystery. It took nearly six months and was not worth the wait.

I think Revenge is caught between two weird things in its second season. Whatever made a show work in its first season isn’t necessarily what the show’s writers want to repeat in its second season. Everwood and LOST had all-time great first seasons. I will tear up thinking about both, if I’m thinking about both for a long time. That’s how much those seasons mean to me. Revenge’s first season is far from a classic, but my opinion isn’t shared by the people who loved the first season of the show; so, naturally, they want what made the first season what it was. I’m still convinced half of the story choices in LOST’s second season were made to piss off fans. Anyway, Revenge is trying to stretch its narrative legs with the conspiracy Initiative plot, which isn’t going well at all, and it’s fleshing out the secondary characters more. I feel I can count on one hand the number of stories that were about Emily. Revenge is Emily’s show, but it has felt so much less her show through fourteen episodes. So, the show should return to what worked in season one. I didn’t like the show anyway in season one, but at least it had purpose.

Significant stuff happens in “Sacrifice.” Tragedy strikes, circumstances change, and plans get modified. Helen’s death is a temporary annoyance for the Graysons. Daniel’s learning how to be as horrible as his parents. Victoria and Conrad plan to frame Fake Amanda for the murder of Helen. Daniel objects because of Amanda’s Charlotte’s half-sister. Daniel, though, gives into the plan after less than a little bit of coaxing. His parents are old pros. They blamed a horrific plane crash on David Clarke without missing a posh party in the Hamptons. The Graysons play-act throughout the episode, especially when another Initiative member appears to investigate Helen’s disappearance. The Initiative plot has actual potential with the addition of the new guy, Trask, as portrayed by The Hour’s Burn Gorman. Gorman’s made it an art to not smile. He was terrific on The Hour, and terrific in his small role in The Dark Knight Rises. Gorman definitely adds a threatening presence to the show–a presence the show lacked with Helen Crowley.

Fake Amanda’s set-up to take the fall for the Graysons; however, Fake Amanda dies in Emily’s arms as the Amanda sailboat burns and sinks behind her. The tall, angry Ryan brother wanted to kill Fake Amanda and Jack for screwing up his deal with Conrad. Nick makes threats, waves his gun, make demands, but nothing happens until Jack and Fake Amanda try to escape. Conrad made Nick a new deal to get rid of Fake Amanda, get her laptop, and give it to him. Jack’s shot during the escape attempt. Fake Amanda stays on ship. Nick knocks her out. Emily eventually finds the boat. Nolan and Emily went to find her after Emily saw a picture with Nick’s head in the corner of the frame. Emily’s completely badass once on the boat. She basically kills Nick, the boat explodes, and she and Fake Amanda try to keep afloat on the life raft. Fake Amanda dies, though. Briefly the women’s close bond and friendship returns. No one will recall this except for me but I wrote a rather long thing about the sexual overtones between Emily and Amanda during Fake Amanda’s first episodes. I kept waiting for a reveal about their sexual relationship. There was something there, and that something returns in their final scene together. Emily cradles her, and they look like they’re going to kiss on the lips for the final time, like they used to, but they never did. Anyway, Fake Amanda dies, which strengthens Emily’s resolve for revenge.

Indeed, Emily needed a push to return to the revenge plan. The writers seemed like they fell in love with the Initiative and just went with it. Emily’s been trying to get close to the group. I mean, she should since they’re involved in her father’s demise. Emily hasn’t been pissed off in a long time. When she’s pissed off, Revenge is better. Jack’s life hangs in the balance, but he’ll live. The Graysons stand out on the upstairs balcony and celebrate their own brilliance in pointing Trask towards Fake Amanda. They don’t know she’s dead. I can’t see how Trask will be content with that. I can’t see how Fake Amanda’s death gets the Graysons off scot-free. The bad folk don’t succeed twice on night time soap-operas.

Meanwhile, Aiden spends time with Padma and talks Initiative issues with her. Padma tries to play hard-ball with Trask in telling him she won’t do what he, or they, want until she has proof that her father’s alive. I don’t remember what the result of the story was. I don’t know. I don’t care about all of The Initiative plot.

Revenge is trying to pull everything together, it seems. Certainly, the A story is the turn of the season. I remember what happened after the turn of episode fifteen last year, when the Fire and Ice mystery was resolved: Daniel turned heel, the narrative jumped forward, and the show sucked even more. Given the poor quality of the second season thus far, one hopes the final eight episodes of the season will be good.

Other Thoughts:

-Jack told Fake Amanda that she slept in. I threw my hands up in the air in exasperation. I understand characters need dialogue. Jack’s sleeping in line was a complete waste. He could’ve said so many different things. Maybe a comment about the beauty of the sea, the color of the sky, etc. Also, we’re to believe Nick didn’t make a single sound? He was holed up in a wall pretty much as Jack and Fake Amanda made love for many hours.

-Emily Vancamp’s grown into her role as badass ass kicker. She rocked it in her scene with Nick.

-Declan failed to fix the air conditioner in the bar. He had a line about time of death which was meant to mean something else to the audience given what was happening to Declan’s brother. I don’t think that line’s intent landed.

-New episodes of Revenge return on March 10.

-Mark B. Perry & Joe Fazzio wrote the episode. Stefan Schwartz directed it.

Photo Credits: American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

ted and jeanette

HIMYM returned last night with another new episode. They won the time slot for the second straight week, along with a big win in among 18-49 year olds, the demographic most sought after by advertisers. However, ratings came up a little short of my prediction of having the most viewed episode of the series last week.

The episode started off as many HIMYMs do with us seeing what happens at the end of the story. Ted and the gang are sitting on the curb and there are flames raining down from the building above them. This is no doubt the result of something Ted’s new girlfriend, Jeanette, had done. Older Ted tells his kid that Jeanette was the most important girl he dated, because it was her that made him realize he was ready to settle down.

Going back to an earlier moment, the gang tells Ted that Jeanette is crazy, and that he has to break up with her. He knows they are right, but is afraid what the consequences will be. He decides that he’ll take her to a public place where she wouldn’t be able to anything too crazy. However, when he takes her to a Nets game, the whole public place thing doesn’t seem to be much of a deterrent. She is threatening the refs and other people at the game.

The next day Barney and Marshall come over to Ted’s place. It turns out that the guys have turned Ted’s apartment into a clubhouse of sorts. Anything that Lily or Robin won’t let them have, they bring over to Ted’s place. Ted says that he has to step out for a second. While he is gone, Jeanette shows up unannounced. When Ted returns, he finds out that Jeanette has locked herself in his bedroom. Ted confesses to Barney and Marshall that he started to break up with Jeanette, but he began to hesitate halfway through because of how crazy she was being. Ted goes into the bedroom to finish the job, only to find Jeanette wearing just lingerie and his red cowboy boots. Of course, instead of breaking up with her, they have sex.

By far the best part of this episode was the side story involving Robin and Lily. In classic HIMYM fashion, the story is revealed bits and parts at a time. It turns out that at eight months old, Robin had still never held Marvin, and was afraid to do so. When Lily and Robin are out with Marvin, Lily forgets Marvin’s favorite pacifier on a bus, and decides to chase after it, leaving Marvin with Robin. Lily comes back a while later with the pacifier, and asks if Robin had any problems. She says no and they move on. They flash forward to a few years later with Robin and Lily chatting over some glasses of wine. Robin confesses that there was more to that story. She says that Marvin started crying and that she was still afraid to pick him up, so she let an old lady pick him up and calm him down. “I’m sorry I let a stranger pick up Marvin,” Robin says. Lily forgives her. Later in the episode, it flashes forward to an ever later date, when Robin again confesses to Lily that there was more to the story. Apparently, at one point the stroller nearly rolled out into the street. Robin was clearly shook up, and the stranger recommended that they go to a nearby restaurant and settle down. Flashing forward once again, Robin tells Lily that the place that they went to was a strip club, and for the final twist, the old lady wasn’t actually an old lady… it was Mike Tyson.

This was another episode written by show co-creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas. The main story with Ted was only ok, but the side plot made the episode. Their signature style was clearly stamped on the Mike Tyson story. It was definitely fun to see that one get slowly revealed and have the real Tyson guest star. Tune in next week to see how Ted and Jeanette’s relationship literally goes down in flames.

The legend continues Mondays at 8/7c on CBS.

Photo Credits: CBS

Top Gear

After looking for the nation’s toughest trucks, the guys of Top Gear are now on the hunt for America’s toughest car. There are only two rules for this search: each car has to be at least 20 years old and cost no more than two grand. Other than that, anything goes…of course, because this is Top Gear.

Before we get into tonight’s episode, let us wish a very happy birthday to Adam Ferrara, who celebrated his special day last Saturday – by freezing his behind off in Iceland filming another segment for the show. Happy birthday, Adam. The things you do for our entertainment will never cease to amaze.

Now let’s get to the action. Our heroes meet in San Bernardino to compare their choices for the contest. Rut arrives in a ’90 Volvo wagon, which Adam describes as a “piece of crap.” Adam’s selection is a ’92 Chevy Caprice, “another old person’s car” according to Rut. That leaves Tanner, who shows up in a cloud of dust behind the wheel of a 1987 Toyota Corolla, which he has to enter through the passenger’s door.

The first challenge is, obviously, a drag race – a practical must for any Top Gear head-to-head-to-head matchup. Tanner takes an early lead and cuts off Adam, while Rut just kind of hangs back and contemplates his Volvo’s lack of power. Adam eventually passes “Race Boy” and wins the race, while Tanner gets bleeped. His ego might be a little bruised after that.

Challenge number two takes place at the shooting range of San Bernardino Sheriff’s Training Facility, which Tanner lovingly describes as “a bullet strewn hellhole.” As you can guess, this task requires shooting each other’s cars with a shotgun, and seeing what happens. Tanner has way too much fun blowing out windows on Adam and Rutledge’s cars, so Adam gets his revenge by annihilating the Corolla’s driver’s side window and putting a few holes in the driver’s door, too.

But it gets worse for these veteran vehicles. A guy from the bomb squad (or at least that’s what his shirt says) arrives with explosives to see if the cars can survive being blown up. Awesome fireballs ensue to go with the shooting damage. The challenge goes down as a draw. Our heroes still have to drive their newly remodeled vehicles on to their next challenge, and they shockingly all start, although they’re much less pretty than they used to be.

1 of 2Next pagePhoto Credits: History

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