Monthly Archives: August 2017

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Movie Trailer – Daphne

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Peter Mackie Burns

Starring: Emily Beecham, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, Geraldine James

Release: September 29th, 2017

This is Burns’ directorial debut, of a feature film anyway, and I think you can tell.  It’s indie, it’s quirky, but isn’t it also a bit like a thousand movies we’ve seen before?  The weird girl who has so much more to her soul then we can see, blah, blah, blah.  I hate to be so cynical, but maybe come up with something else?


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Movie Trailer – Downsizing

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Alexander Payne

Starring: Matt Damon, Christoph Waltz, Jason Sudeikis

Release: December 22nd, 2017

There is Oscar talk surrounding this movie, so much so that some people are putting it as the #2 contender for Best Picture.  Obviously that’s premature, the movie won’t even be released until Christmas, but the buzz is good and that’s something.  This is only a teaser, we don’t get much, but if the intention was to create curiosity, consider me a proverbial cat.  Also, Payne directed Sideways and Nebraska, which are two excellent films, in my book, so I’m on board.


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Thought – 2018 Oscar Preview

Category : Thought

Of course it’s too early to make Oscar predictions; the nominees are months away from being announced.  Some of what may be the best films of the year haven’t even come out yet.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t talk about it anyway and make guesses based on almost nothing.  At the very least, here is a list of movies that deserve a watch, as they might be in the Oscar conversation soon.

This is the AwardsCircuit.com

ranking of top possible Academy Award contenders:

  1. The Post
  2. Downsizing
  3. Darkest Hour
  4. Mudbound
  5. Dunkirk
  6. Phantom Thread
  7. Blade Runner 2049
  8. Last Flag Flying
  9. Battle of the Sexes
  10. Call Me By Your Name
  11. Detroit
  12. Suburbicon
  13. The Shape of Water
  14. Wonderstruck
  15. Goodbye Christopher Robin
  16. Coco
  17. Mother!
  18. The Greatest Showman
  19. Wonder Wheel
  20. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  21. The Beguiled
  22. The Florida Project
  23. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  24. Molly’s Game
  25. Victoria and Abdul
  26. Wind River
  27. War for the Planet of the Apes
  28. Logan
  29. Mary Magdalene
  30. Murder on the Orient Express

Snubbed: The Current War, Lady Bird, Get Out, Frantz, Split, A Cure for Wellness, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, The Meyerowitz Stories, I, Tonya, Good Time, A Ghost Story, Cars 3, Wakefield, The Glass Castle, It Comes at Night, Okja, The Little Hours, The Foreigner, Thor:Ragnarok, The Big Sick, Betting on Zero, Take Me, The Lost City of Z, Berlin Syndrome, Crown Heights, Baby Driver, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Wonder Woman, Graduation, Win It All, The Trip to Spain, War Machine, Beauty and the Beast (2017), Life (2017).


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Movie Trailer – Killing Gunther

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Taran Killam

Starring: Taran Killam, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bobby Moynihan

Release: 2017

I’m not sure what to think about this, whether to laugh or look around the room to make sure I’m not on Candid Camera.  I also don’t know if I want to ridicule this movie or actually watch it.


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Movie Trailer – Mark Felt

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Peter Landesman

Starring: Liam Neeson, Diane Lane, Josh Lucas

Release: September 29th, 2017

Apart from Liam Neeson, this cast is b-list, and that’s what will spell its doom.  That, and the fact that the story, as true as it may be, probably won’t translate as very exciting to the screen.  I think we’ll be bored, the acting with be second-tier, and this movie will clunk along unnoticed.


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DVD Review – Band Aid

Category : DVD Review

Director: Zoe Lister-Jones

Starring: Zoe Lister-Jones, Adam Pally, Fred Armisen

Year: 2017

Let’s just call Zoe Lister-Jones ‘ZLJ’; it saves time and it’s super cool.  So, ZLJ directs, writes, and stars in Band Aid, a film that is completely her and completely indie.  She’s a budding indie darling herself, having acted in more than a few, written a couple, but never tried her hand at directing.  She takes on every job in her latest project, and the result is as you might expect; mixed.  The pressure placed upon someone who is attempting to single-handedly sculpt a feature film cannot be overstated, and ZLJ might have sunk a bit under the weight.  But you gotta get your feet wet some time, she doesn’t founder completely, and I think there is reason to expect that she might be back and better than ever in the not-too-distant future.

The Movie

As Bob Wiley would say, “Simply put; I have problems.”  In this case, Anna and Ben have problems, but at least they’re as honest about it as Bob, and at least they know that they’ll have to face their issues before their issues completely ruin their marriage.  Anna and Ben fight constantly, and even though sometimes the fights turn into jokes, that’s not always the case, and it is probably always unhealthy, either way.  A recent traumatic event has only made things worse, made the bickering constant, and forced down some real emotions that desperately need to come up for air.  The dishes, the nagging, the sex, the future; there really isn’t anything that this couple has figured out, and it’s about to be the end of their relationship.

That is, until they stumble upon a brand new mode of therapy that seems to have an immediate benefit; music.  No, it’s not recommended by a therapist, the pair simply pull out their old guitars one day, rock out in the garage, and realize that they can still have a good time together without arguing.  Actually, what’s even more helpful is that they start turning their fights into songs, belting out their rage and highlighting their petty differences until they become funny.  At the same time, their love grows stronger as they realize how little their squabbles matter.  But not all problems are small, and they’ll still have to face their larger issues head on, without gimmicks and without turning tail to run.

ZLJ exhibits more than competence as a director, writer, and star in Band Aid, though perhaps not excelling at any one role enough to be called ‘great’.  Her direction is simple, she lets the characters and the story tell themselves.  Her writing is solid, there are more than a few laugh-out-loud moments followed up by poignant thoughts.  And her acting is pretty good, showing off a Zoe Kazan 2.0 sort of vibe, but not in a way that makes you want to scream ‘copy’.  She’s a talented woman, can take on all these roles, deserves multiple shots after this solid effort, I just wouldn’t go so far as to say that the film itself was a complete success.  Bravo for making it happen, and almost entirely on her own, but I’m interested to see how her next project goes.

Band Aid relies a little too heavily on the stereotypes surrounding marriage to be considered original/thoughtful/brilliant.  There are times that the actors are just reproducing the most commonly held beliefs, they aren’t creating new content all their own.  Men are lazy, women are uptight, sex is only rarely pleasurable for both parties; we’ve moved past this, right?  The relationship between Anna and Ben is a vehicle, I get that, so it won’t be perfectly believable.  But I think ZLJ could have written in a bit more variety, instead of assuming that every love life is the same.  Still, that’s not a point every audience member will be bothered by, and there’s enough to enjoy that you might just choose to overlook it.  Pally is well cast, Armisen is a welcome addition, the comedy throughout is clever, and the story has plenty to say that’s both important and relevant.  I look forward to more from this talented filmmaker, because I think she has more to offer.

The Blu-ray

Video – With an aspect ratio of 2.40:1 (Widescreen), the video quality of the Blu-ray disc is a step above your normal indie DVD, a step below your standard HD action film.  The color and clarity are fine, but there’s no reason to get a movie like this on anything other than the cheapest possible format; there isn’t anything to gain from watching a dramedy of this style in high definition.

Audi0 –  The disc was done in 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio surround, with an option of 2.0 DTS HD Master Audio stereo.  Subtitles are available in English and in Spanish.  That’s it for the audio, and there isn’t a reason to hear this film in HD either, even though there is a ton of music showcased throughout.  The soundtrack is pretty cool, clever songs and rocky beats, but they definitely won’t blow your mind or stay with you after turning off the TV.

Extras – There are a few special features on the Blu-ray if you’re thirsty for more.  A music video is available, 6 minutes of comedy and a song performance.  There are seven deleted scenes, a total of 10 minutes of bonus footage.  You can watch a few outtakes, 3 minutes total.  And the last extra is a theatrical trailer for the film.

Final Thoughts

RecommendedBand Aid is a peek at the potential of an up-and-coming artist, a voice that I hope to hear more from in the future.  ZLJ is a great filmmaker in the works, though she hasn’t arrived there quite yet.  She filled her film with too many cliches and easy choices, clinging to standard formulas too often.  That’s enough to get us to chuckle a few times, and her chemistry with Pally and Armisen was strong enough to earn some outright laughs, but the story reverted back to stereotypes too frequently for my to stand up and applaud.  For a Blu-ray disc, the video, audio, and extras were just OK; you don’t need to watch this movie in this format.  But as an overall experience, Band Aid is a cool, quirky, indie winner, it just doesn’t reach the heights that you can tell are possible; hopefully we’ll see that level the next time out.

☆ ☆ ☆ – Content

☆ ☆ ☆ – Video

☆ ☆ ☆ – Audio

☆ ☆ ☆ – Extras

☆ ☆ ☆ – Replay

 

 

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Movie Trailer – Last Flag Flying

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Richard Linklater

Starring: Bryan Cranston, Steve Carell, Laurence Fishburne

Release: November 3rd, 2017

I wanted to like this movie much more than I actually liked the trailer, which is a shame.  Linklater is a great director, these three actors are all top-notch, I can enjoy a little comedy with my grief; I just think the trailer watched horribly.  I have to hope that the movie will be much better, that someone just made a poor advertising decision.


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Movie Trailer – Little Evil

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Eli Craig

Starring: Adam Scott, Evangeline Lilly, Owen Atlas

Release: September 1st, 2017

I like Adam Scott, I have Netflix, and that’s just enough to get me to sit on my couch to watch this movie, but perhaps just barely.  This idea is so juvenile and so unoriginal; sure it looks kinda funny, but that’s only because we’re all 10-year-olds somewhere deep inside.  Anyway, I’ll still watch it, but with very low expectations.


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Movie Review – Death Note

Category : Movie Review

Director: Adam Wingard

Starring: Nat Wolff, Margaret Qualley, Lakeith Stanfield

Year: 2017

The latest film to move to the top of the white-washing backlash list is Death Note, an American remake of the popular Japanese animated series.  It seems that there is always one project in the news that took its idea from Asia, recast the characters as white, and so has been designated to receive the ire of culturally sensitive fans.  I don’t have a firm stance on the issue, I guess filmmakers can re-do movies from any place on Earth and cast whoever they want in the roles, but ignoring an original story’s base and origin just doesn’t seem like a smart move to me.  It alienates fans, creates negative buzz, and people prepare themselves to dislike your project.  So here’s a thought; how about coming up with a new plot yourself instead of stealing one from another country?  In order to avoid dealing with any negatives protests, make an original film that is also good.  Death Note is neither, which is the problem.

High school student Light Turner isn’t having an easy time coming of age.  His mother died in an avoidable accident in which the rich, guilty man got off completely free.  His father is an emotionless cop who doesn’t understand his intelligent son.  And the other kids at school view him as someone to pay if you want your homework done for you, not as a singular personality who could use a friend.  But all this is about to change when Light finds a strange book, dropped from the sky, with the title ‘Death Note’ emblazoned on the cover.  When Light writes a name on one of the pages, that person dies, and he can even decide how and when.  He wants to use his powers for good, for getting rid of any scum who might have escaped justice, and a kindred spirit from school named Mia joins him as an accomplice, and soon as a girlfriend.  But that much power corrupts quickly, and the death demon who works the magic of the book soon becomes thirsty for more blood.

A cross between Idle Hands and Final Destination, Death Note resembles bad Y2K flicks more than it does the critically-acclaimed anime series that it was supposed to mirror.  I haven’t seen the original series, but this movie has got to be a slap in the face to those who have.  It’s almost too stupid to describe properly, like something you have to see to believe.  It starts out well enough, with Light finding the book, meeting the demon, testing his powers, and convincing Mia to join his side.  But that all happens almost instantaneously, and the rest is almost vertically downhill.  The story goes wild, the world believing that a god-like force is killing the wicked, Light using the internet to basically decide the future of the planet.  It’s insane, and then Lakeith Stanfield shows up, and it gets worse.  His character ‘L’ is one of the dumbest on-screen personas I’ve ever had the displeasure to watch.  His acting, his mannerisms, how the film doesn’t prepare you for him to enter the story, how his background is described like a 5-year-old would create the origin of a pretend villain they made up on the spot; holy shit.  It gets worse & worse as it barrels along, like someone forgot they were making a movie that actual people would see.  Death Note is a disaster, in so many more ways than one, and you should leave it the hell alone the next time you turn on Netflix.

My rating: ☆ ☆

 


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Sports – PlayDraft.com

Category : Sports

Drafting A Fantasy Football Team This Year

In some office spaces talk of the upcoming fantasy football draft takes up more conversation than anything related to work. People get very excited this time of year about putting together their team and competing with their friends, co-workers, family, or even strangers from around the world. In order to be as successful as possible, it is a good idea to take a look at some of the particular elements of this year’s draft.

A Look At Some Of The Most Valuable Players

The first round of a fantasy football draft can often turn out to be the most important round of all. Those who get the opportunity to snap up some of the best players in the league have a good chance to come out ahead. This is why we want to look at players that are projected to be among the most valuable in all of the drafts for this year.

· Jay Ajayi

· Aaron Rodgers

· Rob Gronkowski

Each of these players has potential to make a big impact on the final scores week to week for those who are in fantasy football leagues. They all have different attributes that could make them a valuable addition to any team.

Jay Ajayi

A running back from the Miami Dolphins might not normally make a lot of headlines coming into the season, but Jay Ajayi is no normal Dolphins running back. He has the ability to turn out very strong numbers on the ground. Some are concerned because the Dolphins are moving to Quarterback Jay Cutler who is likely to throw the ball more, but others suggest that this only plays to Jay Ajayi’s qualities.

Aaron Rodgers

It is practically impossible to not know at least a little about this guy, even if you are not a sports fan. He is all over the television promoting this product or that. He generates huge numbers on the field on a regular basis, and he is an all-around fan favorite.

Rob Gronkowski

When it comes to Tight Ends, not a lot of teams use theirs very effectively. That is not the case with the Patriots though. Tom Brady is always a threat through the air, and Rob Gronkowski is always there to catch a least a few passes in a game. Those passes are often touchdown catches as well.

Playing on Draft

Draft is a website that players like to do their fantasy football playing on. This is because it enables them to play in small leagues with a small amount of money on the line. It is easy enough to get involved with these leagues and start winning a little money here and there.

Use this app to compete against friends, family, or anyone that you want to prove your superior fantasy football skills to. It is more exciting to have a little money on the line as well as the bragging rights.

It is possible to do daily drafts on this website, so you do not have to wait around for an entire season to go by before you get rewarded for your ability to pick a very strong team. You can get in on the action and start reaping the benefits almost immediately.