App Life: Boom Beach Updates Features New Treasures and Ice Cold Additions

 

I reviewed Boom Beach for Arcade Sushi back in late March, and it’s currently the most played app on my iPad. This week’s recent update from Supercell is a total winner, as players can now build a yellow submarine to search the waters for new treasure. Whether it’s retrieving more gems, iron, or gold coins, having a submarine at your arsenal is a great addition to Supercell’s free to play title.

If you don’t have enough resources to build a submarine, not to worry. With the new update, you receive daily rewards for your various victories at seas. The game’s goal is to travel to different islands with your naval arsenal and rid various captive islands from their respective enemies. To build your armies, weaponry, as well as defend your home base, you’ll need a plethora of stone, iron, wood, and currency in your coffers, and until the update the resources were only available by winning your battles or through freemium purchases. Daily rewards, whether they’re in app form or applied to our daily lives, are always a good thing!

Boom Beach (Supercell)

Boom Beach’s appearance has also experienced a slight improvement this week, as the islands you’ll visit don’t simply center on tropical based warfare. Combat is now available on icy terrain, giving the app much needed visual dimension. Ice power stones, a new resource available to Boom Beach fans, can be collected after a victorious campaign on these lands.

Boom Beach (Supercell)

Since this is a free to play title, Boom Beach’s main goal, amidst its addicting game play, is to get you to pay for a few premiums. Considering I’ve spent countless hours building up my island and invading different islands, paying the good folks at Supercell a few of my hard earned bucks is understandable. Still, if you’re short on cash, Boom Beach is still a great app to play – even if it’s harder to conquer various territories with no money to spare.

No matter how many daily rewards you collect and resources you hoard, they will be spent financing your troops and customizing your home base. To save time and win your various battles in an expedited fashion, shelling out cash for in-app purchases is a necessary evil. But if Supercell continues to dish out excellent upgrades to Boom Beach, throwing some money at the company’s ever expanding empire is totally understandable. Until then, I’m just hoping my submarine finds enough treasures to save me a few bucks in the process.

Boom Beach (Supercell)

You can download Boom Beach at this Apple Store link.

 

 

Billy Crystal Still Fools ‘Em With Audiobook of the Year Audio Award

Legendary entertainer (and diehard Los Angeles Clippers fan) Billy Crystal was honored last night with the Audiobook of the Year at the 2014 Audies Gala in New York City for his work “Still Foolin’ ‘Em: Where I’ve Been, Where I’m Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys? (Macmillan Audio). Organized by the Audio Publishers Association (APA), the honor goes to the audiobook that “through quality, innovation, marketing, and sales, has had the most impact on the industry.”

The fellow audiobook nominees were The Things They Carried (narrated by Bryan Cranston) and The Testament of Mary (narrated by Meryl Streep).

“Wow! Three’s the charm! I am so proud to have been chosen as the Audiobook of the Year and to win the other two categories as well against such great audiobooks,” said Crystal, whose film credits include When Harry Met Sally, Mr. Saturday Night, and Analyze This). “I loved writing and performing this book and turning parts of it into a live comedy album like the ones that inspired me growing up. Beautifully recorded and produced by Scott Sherratt and Laura Wilson with music by Freddy Khaw. It’s great to finally get that Meryl Streep monkey off my back. Many thanks to Macmillan Audio for believing in creating a total listening experience. Oh by the way, Father’s Day is coming…”

In the following audio clip, Crystal explains why, although he wasn’t the most diligent student, his concentration was focused on more creative pursuits:

TV Review: “Undateable” Scores In All The Right Places

Undateable, on a pure first impression level, didn’t move my meter, as watching a bunch of guys learning how to score with the ladies, all within the confines of a sitcom, has a been there, done that feel. But how many original stories can one truly come up with? Writers and actors are just a few of the elements that can turn a series in the right direction, and one can never underestimate the elusive notion of chemistry.

Living an arrested development charged life is a seductive notion, and for 29-year-old Danny Burton (Chris D’Elia) is a likable womanizer who is still, at least in his opinion, living the life of Riley. His new roommate Justin (Brent Morin) is a bar owner who, like his friends Shelly (Ron Fuchs), Burski (Rick Glassman), and Brett (David Flynn), has a nonexistent dating life. With a new bar at his disposal, as well as newfound friends to share his love tactics, Danny’s dance card is definitely filled.

Executive produced by Scrubs mastermind Bill Lawrence, Undateable has a ton of promise. Danny isn’t just a one night stand kind of guy with a kind heart – he also has a solid and candid relationship with his sister (Biana Kajlich), a divorcee who needs some fun of her own. Although he jokes that his married friends are dead and buried, a part of Danny wants a committed life, and he also needs a new batch of buddies to carry him through bachelorhood.

Although D’Elia is expected to carry most of the jokes, Brent Morin also stands his ground as the socially awkward Justin. Since looks are usually deceiving, Justin isn’t as helpless as advertised. He may have a puppy dog crush on the bartender he employs and belt out corny pop tunes, but Justin isn’t a total lost cause. The pilot suggests that Justin, even sans the lack of female companionship, has more ducks in a row than Danny.

Since most of the actors come from a stand-up background, Undateable has a ton of one liners that easily hit their mark, but thankfully this sitcom isn’t just a contrived, forgettable joke fest. I’m hoping NBC and the audience give this show a chance, since each cast member of the show get their chance to shine in the pilot.

Based on the book Undateable: 311 Things Guys Do That Guarantee They Won’t Be Dating or Having Sex, this comedy may come off as a sitcom on how to get laid, but it sneaks in a few moments of resonance along the way. Plus, D’Elia and Morin have tons of chemistry, so maybe Undateable‘s true love story will center on these seemingly mismatched roommates. We’ll have to see how their second date goes.

In the video below, Morin and D’Elia talk about their passion for doing stand-up comedy:

Undateable premieres tonight on NBC (9 pm et/pt).

 

“The Sacrament” Director Ti West on Advantages of VOD Experience

The Sacrament is a feature that should please enthusiasts of horror filmmaker Ti West’s previous work (The Innkeepers, The House of the Devil). Even if you’re not familiar with the director’s oeuvre, The Sacrament stands entirely on its own as a nail biting and inspired thriller about a seemingly idyllic community named Eden Parish.

AJ Bowen and Joe Swanberg are Vice Media reporters who travel to this tucked away location at the behest of Patrick (Kentucker Adler), a guy who’s attempting to find his missing sister Caroline (Amy Seimetz). The trio’s journey to Eden Parish leads to the introduction of the cult’s charismatic leader, the sunglass donning Father (Gene Jones). Father’s hypnotic effect on his followers, which includes Caroline, is evident, but once he starts losing control of his cult, Eden Parish travels down a tragic and ultimately violent path.

Gene Jones, AJ Bowen in The Sacrament – Magnet Releasing

During last week’s press conference for The Sacrament, I asked West about shooting his movie in a docu-style fashion. Although he prefers film over digital filmmaking, the type of visual aesthetic is secondary to one’s own mastery of storytelling.

“You adjust to it before you even start,” says West, who shot the film with the Canon C300. “A lot of people ask me, ‘what’s the challenge of shooting movies that way?’ It’s really just the same as any traditional thing – it’s about what you show and what you don’t show and the ratio of what’s scary and what’s not scary – and sort of milking that. I tell people it’s sort of like you could tell a joke and all your friends laugh and your friend can tell the same joke and it just bombs. There’s a sense of timing you intrinsically have in being able to read the situation.”

The Sacrament, which is currently available on iTunes, VOD, and On Demand, will have a theatrical release on June 6. Although The Sacrament, if released twenty or thirty years ago, would have had a wider release, filmmakers such as West sees the value of having his work seen on streaming formats. Click on the media bar below to hear the director discuss the benefits of VOD:

“Maleficent” Star Elle Fanning Sees Angelina Jolie As A “Perfect Role Model”

Actress Elle Fanning (Somewhere, Twixt) lands her highest profile role to date as Aurora, the somnolent beauty who becomes the target of Maleficent’s titular character (Angelina Jolie). Aurora was a coveted role that Fanning landed after a meeting with director Rob Stromberg and scribe Linda Woolverton.

“It was a really special thing, and also, (it was the) first meeting that I had, because I heard that there was going to be a Maleficent movie, so I was like, I know it’s going to be from the villain’s point of view, but that means there has to be a Sleeping Beauty in it,” said the actress. “So my ears perked up, but then, Rob wanted me to come in for a meeting – he and Linda. From there, that meeting they gave me the part, and that handed over the script. And that was kind of like handing over the crown…That ride home, I was reading it in the car. I kind of got motion sickness reading (the script), but I was still reading it. I was so excited!”

Elle Fanning – Maleficent (Disney, CR: Frank Connor)

Here’s Disney’s official “boilerplate” summary of the film:

“Maleficent” explores the untold story of Disney’s most iconic villain from the classic “Sleeping Beauty”and the elements of her betrayal that ultimately turn her pure heart to stone. Driven by revenge and a fierce desire to protect the moors over which she presides, Maleficent cruelly places an irrevocable curse upon the human king’s newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Aurora is caught in the middle of the seething conflict between the forest kingdom she has grown to love and the human kingdom that holds her legacy. Maleficent realizes that Aurora may hold the key to peace in the land and is forced to take drastic actions that will change both worlds forever.

Fanning was also excited to go toe to toe with Angelina Jolie, a colleague she describes as “the perfect role model.” To hear the teenager talk about working with Jolie, click on the media bar below:

Maleficent opens May 30.

TV 2nite: “The Night Shift” Interview with Jill Flint & Eoin Macken

 

THE NIGHT SHIFT -- Pilot -- Pictured: (l-r) Jill Flint as Jordan Alexander, Eoin Macken as Dr. T.C. Callahan -- (Photo by: Lewis Jacobs/NBC)

The Night Shift is a new drama set at San Antonio Memorial, where a group of dedicated and unpredictable doctors burn the midnight oil. Merlin actor Eoin Macken is T.C. Callahan, a military vet whose medical talents doesn’t include safely navigating through politics. With his ex-girlfriend Dr. Jordan Alexander (Jill Flint) serving as his shift boss and the hospital’s leader Michael Ragosa (Freddy Rodriguez) solely concerned with the financial bottom line, T.C.’s job is filled with its share of headaches.

 

The Night Shift (CR: NBCUniversal)

Rodriguez understands the various compromises Ragosa must make, even if he comes off as a complete jerk to the rest of his staff. “Can you imagine having to look at a patient or a doctor and to have to tell them that they have to turn this patient away,” said the actor, whose previous TV work includes the HBO series Six Feet Under.  “Or they can’t treat this patient who is dying, whose kids are waiting to see if their father or mother are going to survive, and you have to be the (person) who says, ‘they can’t be treated.’ It’s not that it’s coming from a personal place, it’s coming from a business place. It’s simply their job.”

In the following video, Jill Flint talks about how she learned to drive in preparation for her work on The Night Shift, which shoots in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Since she’s a New York resident (she adds that she’s “Brooklyn all the way”), Flint talks about how she avoided left hand turns during her drives to and from work. Co-star Eoin Macken is amused by her story:

The Night Shift, co-starring Ken Leung (Lost) and Jeananne Goossen, premieres tonight on NBC (10 pm et/pt).

 

 

 

 

 

“America’s Got Talent’s” Howie Mandel & Mel B Discuss Show’s Chemistry

 

America’s Got Talent begins its new season May 27 (NBC, 9 pm et/pt), as judges Howie Mandel, Mel B, Heidi Klum, Howard Stern and host Nick Cannon are on hand to witness another parade of talented, and hopefully unpredictable, artists and performers strut their stuff.

Mandel, a hardworking showbiz vet who seems to be constantly working, understands America’s Got Talent’s bread and butter lies in its entertainment value. Still, the project is also beneficial for acts trying to find their way or just in need of a bit of advice. It’s a little slice of mentoring that Mandel would have welcomed during his early years in the entertainment industry.

 

Nick Cannon, Heidi Klum, Howard Stern, Mel B, Howie Mandel – AGT (NBC, Justin Stephens)

“What great opportunity for a young talent, or a new talent to be in front of true professionals in different walks of entertainment and to hear constructive criticism,” said Mandel. “I wish I had somebody that was coaching me and had that opportunity.”

Along with the diverse acts and Cannon’s energetic personality, America’s Got Talent also features an innate chemistry among the judges. In the video below, Mel B and Mandel talk about their mutual respect for one another. It’s a funny clip which eventually has the pair bantering back and forth. Check it out and tell us what you think!

James McAvoy & Patrick Stewart Talk X-Men: Days of Future Past Encounter

It was a huge opening for X-Men: Days of Future Past, as the film took in over $111 million at the domestic box-office. That’s the fifth best Memorial Day weekend to date, right behind last year’s Fast & Furious 6 ($117 million). The franchise’s next installment, X-Men: Apocalypse is set for a 2016 debut on the same calendar weekend.

One of the many memorable sequences of X-Men: Days of Future Past features a disillusioned Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) getting a few moments with his more mature (and future) self – Professor X (Patrick Stewart). The film’s theme of hope amidst adversity and tragedy is best exemplified in this sequence, and although it’s a dramatically charged moment, Stewart claims he and McAvoy didn’t over analyze the scene.

Click on the media bar to hear Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy talk about working together in X-Men: Days of Future Past on the sequence that, according to Stewart, took just 40 minutes to nail down!

“American Ninja Warrior” Co-Host Jenn Brown On Competitors’ “Mental Toughness”

Broadcaster/reporter Jenn Brown (NFL Network) serves as a co-host on American Ninja Warrior, the popular competition series which starts its sixth season tonight (NBC, 9 pm et/pt). Although no U.S. participant has conquered the seemingly indomitable Mount Midoriyama, people continue to work hard for their shot at glory. It’s a pretty inspiring journey for any person who tries to overcome their fears and personal obstacles, and much of our brief chat with Brown centered on this very aspect.

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Do you think one of the reason for the show’s success lies in the actual stories behind the competition?

I think you hit the nail on the head because it is a great competition show and you love to see different athletes come out and put their physical prowess to the test, but I think what really the viewers enjoy about watching the show is these storylines. You kind of watch the show and find someone you can relate with and be inspired by. You’re sitting at home, and maybe you’ve had a loved one pass away from breast cancer and you’ve been inspired to run a marathon. Or maybe you’re a little overweight and you’re looking for that little incentive to get back in the gym so you can be more healthy and play with your kids.

There’s kind of something for everybody to identify with and find someone to root for. A lot of the other shows out there – the competitors are pitted against each other for the most part. With (American Ninja Warrior), there’s a lot of camaraderie between the competitors. It’s really them against the course.

American Ninja Warrior – (Credit: NBCUniversal)

Why is there such a demand to compete in American Ninja Warrior since no one has yet to complete the entire course?

Like you said, we haven’t had anyone had success. Not any Americans, at least. It’s amazing that year after year, we’re having more and more competitors. The level of playing field has increased.

Every year a competitor makes it further. The fact that we are seeing the skill level stepping up and we are seeing competitors making it further each season. When you sit back and take an analytical look at it, you are a bit surprised that so many people want to come out and try their chances.

Maybe it’s just even getting here. Who knows if they actually really feel if they can successfully make it to Mount Midoriyama. But to have the payoff of that journey – training for that marathon, bike race, triathlon or playing a full game of tee ball with your kids. Whatever it is that you set your mind to, I think that’s what inspires people to come out and compete.

I’m sure it’s not hard to find workout motivation from interviewing people on American Ninja Warror or even the NFL Network.

I’ve been very blessed to work with athletes from across the board. From the highest level of sports to even the 69-year-old grandmother or Grandpa ninja (Kelvin Antoine) on our show, it is inspiring. It certainly makes me (motivated) on days when I just want to sleep in.

Even with American Ninja Warrior – we shoot from 6 pm to 7 am and we’re back at it. So it certainly pushes me. I tell my mom that all the time. We have a grandpa out there who has a six-pack. He may even have an eight-pack. So I don’t want to hear any complaining! You just watch our show and you see people pushing themselves to their limits. So it’s certainly inspiring.

As a sports broadcaster, you have a very natural and relaxed manner. How much hard work did it take to get to that place?

In terms of my craft, it’s something that I work hard on every day. For me, my driving force is always being prepared. My biggest fear when I started in this business was to come across like I didn’t know what I was talking about. Women have a little bit more scrutiny in terms of talking about sports.

That was the expectation I always put on myself to make sure I was never in a position wherein I was caught off guard and didn’t know something. For me, there’s a lot of hard work and preparation in getting to the point of when I’m on the sideline or when I’m on American Ninja Warrior talking to the competitors.

In terms of the comfortableness, I love to talk. My mom used to get notes that I couldn’t stop talking in class and couldn’t sit still. I’m certainly the kid who liked to talk and was very comfortable talking to anyone and anywhere. My mom said I never took naps. I’m just really interested in people and their stories and I love being able to tell stories.

Quick football question – are you surprised Johnny Manziel dropped down to the Cleveland Browns in the NFL Draft?

It did shock me. I didn’t see him making out of the top ten. I was really surprised and I think a lot of people were surprised. He’s a playmaker and he’s someone who’s going to go out there and we’ve seen what he’s done in college. I know people are questioning whether that translates in the NFL but look at Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson. These are playmakers who can get it done. I hope the Browns organization will take advantage of using that skill set because it would be a shame for him not to be able to go out there and show what he can do. I’m a Johnny Football fan, for sure.

To hear Jenn Brown talk about the importance of mental toughness on the show, check out the audio clip below:

Check out American Ninja Warrior, which also features co-hosts Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbaja Biamila, tonight on NBC (9 pm et/pt)

Chef Tim Love Fires Up Advice On Cooking The Perfect Steak

Ever had a great food idea that needs a bit of financial encouragement? Premiering July, the CNBC project “Restaurant Kickstart” has acclaimed chef Tim Love and restaurateur Joe Bastianich (MasterChef) investing their respective money on the next great food idea.

Each episode will have two teams pitching their concept to Love and Bastianich, with the chosen team given two days and $7,5000 to launch a pop-up restaurant. Culinary expert and fellow restaurateur Waylynn Lucas is also on hand to watch over the proceedings, which hopefully ends in an investment commitment to “kickstart” their culinary dreams.

Tim Love – Restaurant Kickstart (Photo: Ben Cohen/CNBC)

“I’m doing investments in people and ideas,” said Love, a proud Texan whose establishments include Love Shack, Queenie’s Steakhouse, Woodshed Smokehouse, White Elephant Saloon and Lonesome Dove Western Bistro. “I think these people, quite frankly, deserve an opportunity. “I didn’t have that chance. I wish I did. I’m now in the position where I can find and discover people and there’s an enlightenment in finding talent in people and giving them that opportunity to shine.”

During the interview, Love was asked how to cook the perfect steak, to which he immediately responded, “a hot fire, with lots of salt and pepper.” Click on the video below to check out Tim Love’s advice on cooking a tasty steak: