Friday, August 28, 2009

Which Mike Myers Is More Horrifying?

This weekend the much anticipated sequel to the HALLOWEEN remake by Rob Zombie debuts. But strangely, no matter how much Rob Zombie seeks to add horror to his HALLOWEEN Michael Myers films can he ever match the sheer horror of the films by comic Mike Myers. How about that stinker, THE LOVE GURU?
Interestingly, both the comic and the horror films involving the same namesake could be considered to be some of the most horrible of all films. Rob Zombie and Mike Myers both seek some grossout appeal in their own way. And while both have their fans, critics have not always been kind to either.
So let's have an open debate topic here. Which Mike Myers is the most horrible?

Monday, August 24, 2009

THE FINAL DESTINATION Looks Like Great Gory 3D Horror Fun

The latest chapter in the FINAL DESTINATION line of films looks to be great 3D horror movie fun. With a huge $43 million dollar budget, this film should have the greatest scenes ever filmed in this great gory series of terrible mishaps to innocent victims. The huge scene that supposedly was shot at McKinley Speedway was actually filmed at Mobile International Speedway in Irvington, Alabama. In 3D, the audience will likely be ducking from the flying tire scene and crash sequence. It will certainly be great fun.
Director of FINAL DESTINATION 3 , James Wong had to drop out the project because of a scheduling conflict, however the director of FINAL DESTINATION 2, David R. Ellis was so impressed with the 3D experience of this project that he decided to return and do another film in this series. The audience is not likely to be disappointed. Ellis did a fine job on FINAL DESTINATION 2.
While the first three films were shot in Vancouver, Ellis convinced the producers of the film to use New Orleans to film the latest episode in this great horror series. This no doubt brought a nice cash influx into that city so ravaged by the flooding. Millions of dollars spent there can't hurt.
Fans of this great horror franchise should love the great storyline where a horrific crash at a stock car race triggers a series of unfortunate events. Other movies in the franchise used a traffic crash and an airliner accident. Compared to so many cheaply made horror flicks, the FINAL DESTINATION films always feature a great storyline and bigger sets. And this is the biggest and best of the series, although both FINAL DESTINATION 1 & 2 have classic story-lines. In 3D the huge accident at the stock car race should be awe inspiring.
Fans of horror genre films should have a real gem here. Strangely, THE FINAL DESTINATION will have to compete at the box office this weekend with Rob Zombie's HALLOWEEN 2. It is strange to have two major horror films open the same weekend for the non-Halloween season. Also strangely, neither film has allowed advanced viewing by critics so far. But both films are highly anticipated and should be excellent entertainment.
While the FINAL DESTINATION 3 DVD allowed the viewer to play God and choose who lives or dies with a great interactive feature, the fourth film in this series should become the first 3D horror film ever issued on DVD ever when the disc is released. It should become a huge hit. In the meantime, the film hits the theaters this weekend and should become a huge box office hit.
This weekend looks sure like great horror movie fun.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Business & Marketing: The Marketing Of Natural Cigarettes

American Spirit cigarettes have scored a direct hit with the marketing of natural cigarettes with the public at least in the Northwest section of the United States. Interestingly, cigarette smokers somehow feel more comfortable with these brands of natural cigarettes that avoid additives than many traditional brands. In sales, American Spirit often easily outsells many traditional brands by wide margins at many retailers now due to concentrated marketing effort in local newspapers that carried their message of additive free products.

Another natural tobacco brand of similar high quality produced by Native Americans, Smokin Joes, haven't proven nearly as successful in sales, although they are likely every bit as good in quality as the natural American Spirit brand of cigarettes. Smokin Joes sell for about one third less than the American Spirit brand, yet the success of American Spirit in the marketplace can probably be placed with so many effective ads placed in local newspapers. But both Smokin Joes and American Spirit both market on a similar theme of natural tobacco. Somehow many consumers see this as more healthy, providing a less guilt-free enjoyment of smoking.

The success of these natural brands of cigarettes, which also includes the high priced and high end products produced by Nat Sherman has really reshaped the market for cigarettes, leaving many traditional brands with declining market shares. Certainly brands like Marlboro and Camel continue to capture decent market share, but the growth of sales of the natural brands has put real pressure on the traditional brands. No doubt some of these companies may someday compete with their own new brands of natural cigarettes.

Another marketing claim of the natural brands of cigarettes are that they are somehow less addiction free. However, this seems a little difficult to imagine considering that nicotine which is contained in tobacco is known for being a highly addictive drug. Yet, the marketing claims of the natural brands seem to strike a real chord with the buying public. Many buyers seem to both like the taste of the natural brands as well as feeling good about the additive free content of the brands.

Cigarette companies struggle these days with rising health concerns, government regulations and increasing taxes. However, the natural tobacco brands seem to have carved out a decent new market share for themselves. It has to be credited to part of the genius of some advertising executives who managed to create such a strong market share for these natural tobacco brands.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Business & Marketing: Lay's Potato Chips Introduces 99cent Recession Busters

While Lays potato chips might rank as some as the best quality produced in the United States, many retailers are reporting sales declines of snack foods this year compared to last due largely to the recession . In fact, snack food sales might have declined as much as nearly 40% this year compared to last according to some retailer's reports. All of this has inspired Frito Lay to respond with some new creative packaging with new smaller 99cent versions of many of their popular snacks.

Another problem for the snack food industry in general is that some persons might be cutting back on snack foods for health or weight control reasons. The slightly smaller sized 99cent chips might be a reasonable compromise for some persons to still enjoy their favorite snacks, but to consume less at a time. The smaller size portions might just be wise marketing for a number of good reasons, both economic and health oriented.
One other future potential problem that the snack industry might be facing are new tax schemes to pay for health insurance coverage by taxing certain products. There is currently one proposal to tax sodas by 10cents to pay for the federal health insurance reform proposal. However, a 10 cent tax on sodas would nearly equal half of the wholesale price of some economy priced sodas. Some economy priced sodas wholesale close to just 22-25cents.
The snack food industry is under siege on many fronts right now. However, creative marketing as well as lobby efforts to control excessive new taxes on the industry might be able to fight off some real threats to the industry. However, potato chips aren't likely to disappear any time soon. They might come in slightly smaller portions. But they'll still be around, and they'll still taste just as good.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Business & Advertising: Detroit's Damaged Economy Closes All Major Supermarkets

In the average American city newspaper print or electronic advertising, ads for major grocery retailers flourish, except for one large American city so damaged by the recession, Detroit. According to a recent report by CNN and other business news sources, the city is now without a major grocery retailer such as Safeway or Kroger. CNN even reports that hunger and poverty has become such a problem that guards dressed in combat fatigues have to protect grocery shipments to smaller neighborhood markets which become the only source of groceries for many residents.

In most American cities with lower unemployment rates, thick Sunday morning newspapers with rich grocery coupon sections are always present. In Detroit, such ads just don't exist. And Safeway and other retailers are missing in action from the airwaves. Grocery shoppers largely have to depend on small neighborhood markets for basic food supplies. Often these small retailers cannot compete with the buying power of the larger retailers, although they often purchase through large grocery wholesalers such as Cash & Carry which was formed from the older United Grocers grocery merchandising company.

Poverty conditions in the city are approaching the same devastating levels as before the War On Poverty programs during the 1960's Johnson Administration programs, due to the high unemployment among auto workers as the recession worsened, and as Detroit's middle class began to vanish, it forced many large grocery retailers to give up on the city. Now only many neighborhood stores remain to service the public in the city.

Food Stamp applications have soared in the city, but even that wasn't enough to keep many large grocery retailers in business in the city. As the Detroit economy worsened, large retailers were forced to close as the bottom line worsened.

The grocery business is difficult enough. But in a large city like Detroit where the buying power of many residents has collapsed, even the slick advertising promotions by advertising firms on the behalf of the major grocery retailers just weren't enough to keep many large companies in business. They were forced to quit business in the city.

In many ways Detroit has become something like the film MAD MAX. Instead of gangs looking to plunder for gasoline, hungry persons in Detroit often create huge shoplifting or theft problems for retailers there as many people now have only limited money to purchase food.

While all people need to eat or drink to live, poverty has created a huge business crisis in Detroit for grocery retailers. This recession may forever change the business landscape for many cities. creating a permanent market re-alignment in many business sectors.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Les Paul: The Godfather Of The Electric Guitar

When electric guitar legend Les Paul passed away yesterday at the age of 94 from complications related to pneumonia, guitarists the world over shared in both sorrow as well as praise for how his invention of the electric guitar revolutionized music and made the rock and roll era of music possible.

Yesterday on CNN, some modern day guitar supermen such as Steve Miller shared their reflections on how Les Paul changed their lives. And certainly some guitar legends past and present such as Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Alvin Lee or others would have lived far different lives without the great invention of the electric guitar.

Les Paul, you rocked the world. Rest in peace.

RENO 911 Canceled

Comedy Central surprised more than a few fans of reality-TV police parody when it announced today at 1:30pm that it was canceling the 6 season long series, RENO 911. Interestingly, the long running comedy series was largely premised as a parody of COPS with absurd police response incidents and goofy situations.

Strangely, due to the surprise announcement by Comedy Central today, the recent July 8 season finale episode now becomes the series finale episode as well, as now no new episodes are planned. However, all 88 past episodes will likely be available on DVD as individual seasons.

In many ways, the series was always controversial because it became like one long running joke that could easily have become a single skit on MAD TV or SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, yet filled six seasons. The series may never have the most popular program ever aired by any means, but it had a following of fans who will certainly miss the series. Rest in peace, RENO 911.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Criss Angel Death Rumors Prove False

Recently, on the same day that both Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett had died, silly wrong rumors that actor Jeff Goldblum had also died circulated on the Web. Now, it seems that master illusionist Criss Angel has also had a round of wrong death rumors surrounding him this past weekend.

The reality appears to be some wrong information circulating on both Twitter and AOL due to the season five debut of the new series of Criss Angel shows set to debut August 12 on A&E. In the new series, Angel avoids death in five episodes. In addition, some shows that reveal how illusions are done keep raising the bar for master performers like Angel to either invent or purchase new illusions to keep up. But Criss Angel continues to among the elite class of master illusionists, always inventing new angles on illusions or else some new death defying stunt.
Each season Angel manages to really raise the level of awe factor by a few notches with better and better stunts and illusions, so the new season looks very promising for the viewer.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Unemployment Improves Ever So Slightly

New unemployment figures improved slightly in July to 9.4% from 9.5% in June. However, at the same time it should be noted that the economy still continues to lose jobs. Two different surveys conducted by the Labor Department are the reason the two figures do not necessarily match each other.
And statistically, the figures probably are not really significant in measuring slight differences, but rather in indicating long term trends. So in reality, the figures may not indicate an actual declining unemployment trend as of yet.
But some controversial programs such as the Cash For Clunkers have boosted motor vehicle sales by a quarter million units recently, which may signal some possible improving employment trends in the automotive sector.
Generally employment figures tend to be a lagging indicator of economic improvement, so even if the business sector should witness some improving trends, such as improving sales or stock prices, unemployment is still likely to lag as much as six months behind these factors.