Monthly Archives: August 2017

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Movie Trailer – The Florida Project

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Sean Baker

Starring: Willen Dafoe, Brooklynn Prince, Bria Vinaite

Release: January 12th, 2018

This movie reminds me of a combination of Bottle Rocket and American Honey, a bit more like the latter with just some influence from the former.  And I do respect what Sean Baker is doing with his filmmaking, which makes this story all the more appealing.  It looks to mirror the ultra-real style of others that have come before, but I don’t fault it for that, and I think it could turn into something special.


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Movie Trailer – The Death of Stalin

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Armando Iannucci

Starring: Jeffrey Tambor, Steve Buscemi, Jason Isaacs, Michael Palin

Andrea Riseborough, Paddy Considine, Rupert Friend, Olga Kurylenko

Release: October 20th, 2017

This movie really does have an Alan Partridge feel, but with a bit of Christopher Guest thrown in for good measure, minus the documentary-style interviews.  And I like that it’s also loosely based on history, gives it a solid base, and we all know that actual events can be just as fucked up as fictional ones.  I’m looking forward to this comedy done by this cast, I think it could be great.


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Sports – 2017 Fantasy Football: RBs & WRs

Category : Sports

With the preseason beginning and many fantasy drafts planned for the next few weekends, it’s time to prep for your 2017 Fantasy Football team.  Here is my advice/predictions as it relates to running backs and wide receivers:

RBs

  • David the Goliath – David Johnson is by far the most solid running back pick this season.  He might be the most solid pick period, of any position, as the top QBs are aging, the top WRs depend on them, and the top TE is injury-prone.  Apart from something completely unexpected, David Johnson will set records this year and will launch many fantasy teams into Championships.  He’s a gifted runner, a good receiver, he wants the ball, and his coach is willing to give it to him.  With Palmer not getting any younger, Johnson will see the ball constantly, and his stats will reflect this attention.  Get this guy with the first pick, you don’t even have to worry about anyone else.
  • Bell Cow – Le’Veon Bell might be the only other running back worth such high consideration.  Freeman & Ajayi are not far behind, but Johnson and Bell are the top guys without question, so consider yourself lucky if you can get one of them.  Bell is holding out so he doesn’t have to play this preseason or even train much, but that shouldn’t affect his ability when the games that count actually start.  You may worry about him getting hurt, that’s definitely possible, but that’s also a risk most fantasy owners will be willing to take.  I’d pick Johnson over Bell, but you really can’t go wrong with either.
  • Zeke – The biggest RB question mark this year is Ezekiel Elliott.  Last year Zeke has the same issue, but for a different reason; we just didn’t know if he was going to be as perfect a fit in Dallas as he appeared to be before the season started.  He was, he was a huge boon for fantasy teams, and he’d be a Top 3 back this season, if not for his latest issues.  Right now, he’s suspended for 6 games.  That might be reduced, it might be pushed back, we just have no idea right now, and so Zeke’s draft value is up in the air.  If he plays right away, draft him right away.  If the suspension holds, he’s still worth stashing, and should probably rank in the Top 15 RBs still.
  • Middlemen – If you miss out on the top guys and the best at the position, there are many running backs in the middle of the pack who can still carry the load for you.  Paul Perkins, Carlos Hyde, Spencer Ware, Mark Ingram, C.J. Anderson; these guys aren’t the most exciting prospects in 2017, but they will still score and could be sleeper candidates.  Just don’t overpay if these are the backs who you’ll be starting every week; they aren’t worth an extremely high selection.  Let them come to you and you’ll see their value.
  • Brownies – It’s a gamble, but Isaiah Crowell might be the only Cleveland player who scores on a consistent basis, and so he might be the only Cleveland player who’s worth drafting.  And I’ll go one step further; you might even consider him one of the Top 10 RBs this year.  He might just reach double digit TDs or top 1000 yds, and who knows, maybe he’ll do both.  I wouldn’t nab him early, but the team who gets Crowell might just be flaunting the fact at the end of the season.

WRs

  • Off the Top – There isn’t a very large drop off between the best WR and the 8th best WR, so don’t worry about picking these guys in the first round.  I know what you’re thinking, Antonio Brown is amazing, you can build a fantasy team around him, but I don’t see it that way.  While his numbers should be very good (9 TDs, 1400 yds), there are too many other wideouts right behind him statistically; he’s just not on a level all his own.  I wouldn’t draft him in the first round based solely on the fact that his numbers won’t set him aside by much at all by the end of the season.
  • Contemporaries – So who do I think is right up there with him?  The list in long.  Jordy, Julio, Odell, Mike Thomas, Mike Evans; these guys will score relatively the same points and so you don’t need to reach for any of them.  Do you want one on your team, of course.  If you could get two, that’d be great.  Just don’t expect them to finish on a fantasy island, and don’t over pay for someone who is part of a large group, wait for other owners to overreact.
  • Speed Demon – Tyreek Hill is a player to watch this season, based mostly on the absurd things we saw him do on football fields last season.  I don’t love Andy Reid, but the guy is smart enough to watch film, to see that Hill is the ultimate mismatch, and to figure out some ways to utilize him even more this year.  If he had seen more action in the playoffs, I think the Chiefs could have easily handled the Steelers in what was a FG game that didn’t have to be that way.  I just think Hill emerged this season, scores points in weird ways, and can be a plus to the lucky team that lands him.
  • AFC West – Other than Hill though, I wouldn’t target other AFC West WRs very early.  They come in pairs, is the first problem.  Denver: Thomas & Sanders.  Oakland: Cooper & Crabtree.  Los Angeles: Williams & Allen.  The Raiders have the best QB which means that their WRs have the best chance, but still, who gets the TD on any given day?  Who emerges as the biggest threat?  I just think there’s a lot of risk involved here, either because of unanswered questions or too much competition for catches.
  • Decker – I’ve had Eric Decker on my team multiple years, and all the guy does is catch redzone TDs.  But this year he’s got a new team, the Titans, so who knows how things will shake up.  Tennessee likes to run with Murray and throw to Walker, that’s their gameplan.  How Decker will ultimately fit into that scheme we have no idea, but Mariota is improving and balls thrown Eric’s way are a possibility.  I see him as the first player on my Watchlist, as a FA who could make a big impact on my team if he shows up in the way we know he can.

Fantasy Players To Watch – presented by The Fantasy Footballers

Visit thefantasyfootballers.com

for the best fantasy football rankings each week.

RBs – Keep an eye out for the guys who don’t just run, but catch as well.  This dual threat gives you double the chance of getting points from your starting lineup, so make sure to draft fast, young backs who can handle the ball on multiple downs.  Also, get guys on high scoring teams.  That seems like a no brainer, but is it?  Gillislee for the Pats, Ingram for the Saints, Coleman for the Falcons; even if these guys have competition for the ball, their teams score enough that they’ll also see their fair share.

WRs – Try to make tiers when ranking your players, but especially WRs.  There might be a group of ten guys who are all relatively the same, who will probably get you the same amount of points total on the season.  That group exists at the top, but it also exists in the middle as well, so understand when you need to grab a guy and when you can wait, grab a guy ten spots down the list, but basically get the exact same value.  The WR group this year is especially comparable, with large blocks of similarly-ranked players, so use that to your advantage.


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Movie Trailer – Rememory

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Mark Palansky

Starring: Peter Dinklage, Julia Ormond, Anton Yelchin

Release: August 24th, 2017

I haven’t seen Dinklage in too much, but I’d be willing to watch him in this, what looks like a Black Mirror episode turned into a thriller film.  Also, I’ll sit through anything for a glimpse of Anton Yelchin.


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Movie Trailer – Gun Shy

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Simon West

Starring: Antonio Banderas, Olga Kurylenko, Mark Valley

Release: September 8th, 2017

I get that this movie is supposed to be tongue-in-cheek, but still; what the actual fuck.


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DVD Review – Brannigan

Category : DVD Review

Director: Douglas Hickox

Starring: John Wayne, Richard Attenborough, Judy Geeson

Year: 1975

I consider myself a fan of 70s movies, at least for someone who was born a decade later and so never had the opportunity to see them as they were meant to be seen, to love them as they came out instead of twenty years later when I had grown up enough to appreciate them.  Not to be too clustering, but 70s films have a certain vibe, a dated atmosphere, a specific style that of course doesn’t apply to each one, but that is apparent enough in enough of them that you can pick one out of an era lineup at a hundred paces.  But although I really enjoy the time frame in general, some duds do happen, and Brannigan is one of them.  It’s the worst 70s flick I’ve seen since Quintet, a piece of junk that ought to have been discarded long ago.

The Movie

Jim Brannigan of the Chicago Police Department is about as rough a cop as you are likely to meet, and you’d be unlikely to survive the encounter.  He’s an old school tough nut, one that never cracks, and who always catches his man.  The criminal he’s after currently is a mobster named Larkin, a boss of the underbelly who is ruining the city one evil deed at a time.  He and Brannigan go way back, have a personal vendetta against one another, and would like to kill the other if the chance were to arise.  But they’ll have to wait a little longer, because Larkin just skipped town and Brannigan will have to track him down in order to bring him to justice.  The destination; jolly old London.

Brannigan comes with extradition papers to bring Larkin, who has been arrested but released upon bail in London, back to the States to stand trial.  Brannigan will team up with Scotland Yard while he’s there, aided by the veteran Commander Swann and the rookie Jenny.  All three want Larkin locked behind bars, but first they’ve got to find him.  While he was out on bail, he seems to have been kidnapped, and when a ransom note appears, the scenario seems straightforward.  But Brannigan sniffs a rat; he thinks Larkin had himself nabbed and is trying to wheedle out some extra cash.  But the truth may be more complicated, as chaos ensues and no one knows who they can trust.

Lieutenant Brannigan was one of John Wayne’s final roles, and you could tell he was an old man playing in a young man’s game.  That isn’t to say that you can’t age and still keep your talent; look at Richard Attenbourough, he was amazing no matter what year it was or film he was in.  But ol’ Marion Morrison has never been what you would call the greatest actor in Hollywood, his talents were appreciated in different ways, and they diminished as he approached the end of his career.  Maybe that doesn’t apply to Westerns, since The Cowboys and The Shootist are two of my favorite Wayne films and they both came when he was in his late 60s, but it certainly applies here, because he couldn’t elevate the terribly written lead role of this film with all the bravado and Colt pistols in the world.

Brannigan is stupefying from beginning to end, and I have a hard time imagining that it viewed better in the theatres in 1975.  Maybe I underestimate how much changes with time, but compare this film with something like The Sting and the former fails on basically every theatrical level.  Wayne’s acting is so shabby it becomes a joke right away, but the movie itself never helps him along, and even Attenborough’s immense skill can’t save this picture from certain doom.  The story makes very little sense, and when it does pan out you really, really don’t care at all.  Brannigan is sexist (which I’m sure fit the times), blustery (which is an American stereotype that’s just annoying to watch, even if it’s true), and unbelievable (which was the nail in the coffin for me).  The entire film feels made up on the spot, the action scenes are extremely lazy, and the dialogue is pathetically written.  This simply isn’t the classic 70s film you want as a part of your collection.

The DVD

Video – With an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, this film feels decidedly 70s, which means the quality won’t be amazing but you’ll see it coming a mile away.  For the time, and for the DVD transfer, the picture isn’t terrible, registering in as mediocre and dated, but not horrible.

Audio – The DVD is in English with optional English subtitles; that’s all you get in the audio department.  The music is ridiculously time capsule, with a band playing the silly soundtrack in accordance with what you’ve heard many times from this era.

Extras – The only special features on the disc are trailers: Brannigan, Thunderbolt & Lightfoot, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, Truck Turner, Cop, Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia.

Final Thoughts

Skip It.  This film’s only redeeming quality is its 70s vibe, that’s why I keep bringing it up.  Other than that, the rest is totally awful.  It’s more a skit than an actual film, more a story some guy you know wrote and put on in his basement, except he knows John Wayne personally.  The plot is so silly, the acting is so bad, there are literally no positives to hang onto except the general vibe and perhaps the appearance of Richard Attenborough, who I always enjoy seeing.  The video is fine for the time, the audio is the same if you can get over the cheesy music, and there aren’t really any extras to speak of.  For Wayne fans, for 70s cop movie fans, this is one to avoid.

☆ – Content

☆ ☆ ☆ – Video

☆ ☆ ☆ – Audio

☆ ☆ – Extras

☆ – Replay

 

 

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Movie Trailer – Leatherface

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Alexandre Bustillo

Starring: Nicole Andrews, Lili Taylor, Stephen Dorff

Release: October 20th, 2017

Oh my god no.


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Movie Trailer – The Wilde Wedding

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Damian Harris

Starring: Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Patrick Stewart

Release: 2017

This is why we can’t have nice things.


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Movie Review – The Exception

Category : Movie Review

Director: David Leveaux

Starring: Jai Courtney, Lily James, Christopher Plummer

Year: 2016

First-time director David Leveaux swings for the fences, if you’ll pardon the expression, with The Exception, a dramatization of history that features both eye-catching talent and cringe-worthy performances.  Well, actually, only one cringe-worthy performance, but that one is enough to derail the locomotive that is this picture, considering that it comes from the below-average talent of the main character of the film.  The Exception is a bit of war-time fantasy, a romance set among the bare bones of a true story, a movie based upon a novel that gives drama to the last days of a King.  Doesn’t sound too bad, isn’t too bad, but the final product is not the concise feature we would hope for.

Kaiser Wilhelm II, former King of Prussia, has been in exile in the Netherlands since Germany’s defeat in WWI and his removal from the throne.  Now that the Nazi party has taken over and is marching upon Europe, Wilhelm hopes to be reinstated into the monarchy, though the supporters of the worker’s party may not be of the same mind.  Captain Stefan Brandt has been put in command of the Kaiser’s personal guard, tasked with the mission of keeping him safe, so that Hitler can use him as he sees fit.  But a British agent is in the area, possibly to assassinate the old King, and tensions are high.  When Brandt begins a relationship with a Jewish housemaid named Mieke, he finds himself in over his head in dangerous waters, where one wrong choice could mean death.

Leveaux’s direction succeeds fairly well, and the movie itself ends up as a job well done, if not anything that deserves a standing ovation.  This story, fictionalized as it is, will still fascinate those interested in WWII, as it still paints a very interesting picture of the new German regime pitted against the old.  So the context is there and the execution is OK, but the pieces are judged on their own, and some are better than others.  Plummer as Wilhelm was excellent, as was his wife, played by Janet McTeer, the perfect pair to show us ancient royalty fighting against a modern world.  Lily James was the real star though, and she chose to go down a path many young actresses have tested before, embracing nudity and an adult role to show that she has absolutely arrived in the spotlight.  To be fair, Courtney was nude as well, which was probably the high point of his performance.  He’s not a good actor, that’s plain, and he couldn’t do a German accent, if that’s what he was trying.  He, as the lead, brought down the film, the others tried their best to boost it back up, the result being an uneven story that had its moments, but overall won’t wow anyone watching with a critical eye.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – The Iron Giant

Category : Movie Review

Director: Brad Bird

Starring: Eli Marienthal, Vin Diesel, Harry Connick Jr, Jennifer Aniston

Year: 1999

In an era of changing animation, movies like Iron Giant, Titan A.E., Atlantis, and Treasure Planet were in style; sci-fi adventures utilizing new technologies and old stories.  Warner Bros. tried its hand at the modernized genre, as an animation company that had only one success (Space Jam) but would go on to produce the Lego franchise of films fifteen years later.  That they were able to create such a timeless hit like Iron Giant is a miracle, and took an entire team of very lucky people to pull off; the author of the original story, the writer of the screenplay, and the director of the film.  Brad Bird would go on to do The Incredibles and Ratatouille, but he got his break here, with a movie that is as classic and American as apple pie, as strong a film as any animated great you set beside it.

In the 1950s, the nightmare scenario of nuclear war with Russia had even school children on the edge of their seats, with adults planning for the very worst and wondering if every unusual activity was a sign of imminent doom.  For Hogarth Hughes, life is one exciting mission after another; bringing home animals, wandering the woods, watching scary movies, and pretending that he’s the next great legendary hero.  But when he stumbles upon an actual adventure, being heroic might be more than he bargained for.  Hogarth finds a massive, metal-eating robot in the forest, one that doesn’t know why it’s here and doesn’t speak English.  The unusual duo become fast friends, but there’s still the question of what to do with a giant when it’s time to go home.  Government agents in town to investigate will cause even more trouble, and Hogarth will learn just how far his new friendship will stretch before it becomes dangerous.

Iron Giant is a special film, that’s the simplest way to say it.  Not many of this genre or of animated movies in general survive this long as a beloved story, or resonate this strongly even all these years later.  The base morals are important ones; love overcoming fear, words overpowering guns, reason defeating war.  Not all those ideals come true in our world, but in this story they can.  This film captures the 50s perfectly, complete with Red Scare comics and Duck & Cover videos.  It’s a blatant message, but a necessary one, and we need to hear it now more than ever.  The movie itself is just so wonderful, from the unique animation to the one-of-a-kind characters.  Vin Diesel is the voice of the Giant, coming off his first big role in Saving Private Ryan.  Connick & Aniston are a great pair, the kid sells the plot perfectly, and the love between the boy and his robot is touching beyond what I can describe.  Iron Giant is one of the best animated features that I have ever seen; if you haven’t watched it please remedy that immediately.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆