Monthly Archives: February 2019

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Sports – The Columbus Flight

Category : Sports

Any Madden NFL fan has made a few fantasy franchises, complete with uniforms and stadiums and personally-selected lineups.  Living in Columbus, OH, I’ve often thought about the possibility of my city hosting an NFL team, or perhaps the Bengals or the Browns switching locations and changing their name.  Because of our history in aviation and our moniker as the Birthplace of Aviation Engineers, I think the Columbus Flight is an appropriate name.  Humorously enough, there was a proposed team called the Columbus Flight in a proposed league called the North American Football League, which turned out to be a fraud and never left the ground.  That’s where I got the logo you see above, and it’s pretty cool, so I borrowed it to create my own new franchise, right here in my city.  If I could choose the best free agent at some of the major positions, my team would be pretty damn good, and it would look something like this:

 

QB – Teddy Bridgewater

RB – Le’Veon Bell

WR – Randall Cobb

WR – Devin Funchess

TE – Jared Cook

DE – DeMarcus Lawrence

DE – Dante Fowler Jr.

LB – C.J. Mosley

LB – Mychal Kendricks

S – Eric Reid

S – Tyrann Mathieu

CB – Jason Verrett

CB – Ronald Darby

 


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Movie Review – The Breaker Upperers

Category : Movie Review

Director: Madelaine Sami, Jackie van Beek

Starring: Madelaine Sami, Jackie van Beek

Year: 2018

When Taika Waititi recommends a comedy, you listen.  The Breaker Upperers isn’t his baby, but he did produce it, which means he found/provided the cash, and so got it off the cutting room floor.  He then campaigned for the pair of women who directed, wrote, and starred in the film, so give credit to the talent; we could have just seen the emergence of the next, great comedic duo.  In true Kiwi fashion, this movie is ridiculous, dry, weird, and wonderful, much in the style we’ve come to expect from the funny filmmakers of the region, but with a much-needed breath of fresh air and a nod to the movement of women within the industry and to any content that remembers that men are only half the viewing population.

Mel & Jen are not only best friends, but they also run a business together, albeit one that’s probably morality reprehensible.  If you’re in a relationship that you can’t seem to find your way out of, these are the ladies for the job, hire them on the spot, because they will deliver you from bondage, my friend.  They will lie, pretend, fabricate, dress up, do a bit; whatever you need to escape they will make happen.  Of course, they are ruining people’s lives by telling them that their husbands were lost at sea, instead of simply making the cowards face their problems, but hey, business is booming.  Or at least it was, until Mel falls for a client, befriends a victim, and starts to second guess her career choice.

Think Tina Fey/Amy Poehler combined with Taika Waititi/Jemaine Clement and you’ll have some idea what to expect from the newly-formed Madelaine Sami/Jackie van Beek.  Everyone is unique, I don’t mean to say they can’t have their own style, blah blah blah, but you get it; this is New Zealand’s version of buddy humor, where they get into sticky situations and only their friendship can ultimately bail them out.  This film would rival, and probably best, any American, throwaway comedy, like Sisters for example, since that’s what Fey/Poehler have the capacity to give us.  Waititi/Clement have more in the tank, at least as far as movies go, I’m a big fan; Breaker Upperers might not reach that level, but it comes pretty close.  If you’ve been around this style you’ll even recognize a few faces; Rime te Wiata from Wilderpeople, who is great, James Rolleston from Boy, who isn’t.  It’s his girlfriend, Ana Scotney, who steals the show, as do the pop culture references and the quickfire wit, which give the movie some balance when the poor acting throws things off a touch.  It’s a bit of a rocky ride perhaps, but an enjoyable one as well, which heart and humor for days, and a refreshingly pleasant mood that’s so easy to wallow in for 90 minutes you might want to stay a little longer.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

 


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Movie Trailer – The Kid

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Vincent D’Onofrio

Starring: Dane DeHaan, Ethan Hawke, Chris Pratt

Release: March 8th, 2019

You always know, when a potential, big-name movie passes in the night without a whisper, that someone already caught a whiff and doesn’t want us to catch the same.  This ought to be the biggest movie on our tongues, a Western starring Chris Pratt, but no one’s ever heard of it, and the reason isn’t too hard to see.  Heck, watch the trailer, you can tell that it’s all bluster, no business.  As much I love the genre, and many movies that these actors have been in before, I think I have to pass.


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Movie Trailer – The Highwaymen

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: John Lee Hancock

Starring: Kevin Costner, Woody Harrelson

Release: March 29th, 2019

This cast is terrible.  Costner & Harrelson have a very low ceiling, Kathy Bates is no good, I’ve completely lost faith in Thomas Mann; what in the world.  And Hancock only does simple movies, which is fine, there’s an audience for that, but that audience isn’t me.  Come on Netflix, you can do better.


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Movie Review – Into the Blue

Category : Movie Review

Director: John Stockwell

Starring: Paul Walker, Jessica Alba, Scott Caan

Year: 2005

I’m embarrassed to even be reviewing this movie, because that means I watched it voluntarily.  And it’s not the first time; I remember it coming out, and although I don’t think I ever saw it in the theatre, I’ve seen it on TV enough times and in pieces to qualify as having watched it all the way through at least one.  It’s the definition of a guilty pleasure, because, like fast food, I feel horrible after I consume it, because I definitely know I shouldn’t have.  Into the Blue isn’t even a b-movie, that would at least be something, and it’s far worse than that.  It doesn’t know it’s awful, it isn’t funny, it’s just plain bad, and we’re the saps who keep turning it on just because of some bods on the beach, which we should be mature enough not to fall for; “should”.

Jared & Sam are living the life in the Bahamas.  They have each other, they live simply, they soak up the sun, and they dream of someday combing the ocean floor for buried treasure that will make them famous, as well as very rich.  Jared’s friend Bryce, along with his newest girlfriend Amanda, come to visit to do some snorkeling and some drinking, the foursome borrowing a mansion and a yacht for a few days to blow off some steam.  But one afternoon, out for a cruise, they discover two interesting things under the water: a sunken ship and a downed plane.  The ship might be a legendary vessel lost at sea, but the plane belongs to a drug smuggler, and there’s a ton of cocaine still on board.  Which wreckage will make them rich, and which will put their very lives in danger?

If it wasn’t for Paul Walker (who some women find very attractive) and Jessica Alba (who this man thinks is gorgeous), I’m not sure there’d be a single element of Into the Blue that would justify its existence.  It still shouldn’t have been made, it’s a travesty to cinema, but at least there’s a little eye candy, because god knows there’s nothing else.  I don’t mean to objectify either Walker (rest in peace) or Alba (who runs a legitimate company now), I’m just saying that pretty people swimming is all this movie has to offer, there are zero other reasons to watch except taste torture.  The acting is beyond painful, the characters are beyond stupid, and Josh Brolin showing up out of the blue to be a villain only enhances how desperate this movie is.  I think this review will help me finally lift the curse and summon the courage to never watch this film again; it most certainly hasn’t warranted and doesn’t deserve my time.

My rating: ☆

 

 


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Movie Trailer- Rocketman #2

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Dexter Fletcher

Starring: Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell, Bryce Dallas Howard

Release: May 31st, 2019

I’ve warmed to the idea of this movie a bit since the arrival of the first trailer, and since it has to be better than Bohemian Rhapsody.  Taron is a true talent, and I believe he sings his own songs here, though don’t quote me on that, so, again, a step in the right direction.  I’ve become cautiously optimistic that this could work.


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Movie Trailer – The Souvenir

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Joanna Hogg

Starring: Honor Swinton Byrne, Tom Burke, Tilda Swinton

Release: May 17th, 2019

I mean, she’s not really an actress is she, not yet, she’s simply Tilda Swinton’s daughter.  And that’s fine, your mom can help you get your foot in the industry’s door, no harm in that, but we can’t be expected to line up for your overdramatic debut like it’s the second coming, can we?


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Movie Review – Arctic

Category : Movie Review

Director: Joe Penna

Starring: Mads Mikkelsen

Year: 2019

Two Mads movies came out this year, both with chilly titles, Arctic and Polar, but only one is worth your time.  Only Arctic is really about cold places anyway, Polar is about god knows what; I’ve seen it and I still don’t understand.  Mads has been delivering premier performances for a while now; Americans first became aware of the Danish actor in 2006 when he starred as Le Chiffre in Casino Royale, Daniel Craig’s first undertaking of the James Bond role.  Since then, the sky’s been the limit: Valhalla Rising, A Royal Affair, Age of Uprising, The Salvation, Doctor Strange, Rogue One.  The man, the myth, the actor everyone wants to be friends with and is also kind of intimidated by; Mads Mikkelsen is a Norse god sent to teach us how to enjoy movies again, and boy is he succeeding.

A man named Overgard is stranded in the Arctic after a plane crash, alone but not helpless, surviving on his wits and skill, hoping for rescue.  He knows the terrain but also knows he’s safer inside his downed plane; a trek across the frozen wasteland might spell his death.  So he stays close to the crash site; ice fishing, trying to catch a passing signal, scratching out messages in the snow for an imagined rescue attempt.  He thinks the day has finally come when a helicopter comes in low during a storm, but it only crashes as well, leaving him stranded anew, but this time with company.  A pilot survives and is now Overgard’s responsibility, as she clings to life battling a dangerous wound.  The time might finally have come for him to make his dangerous dash toward humanity, in order to save his new ward and his own sanity.

Mads is the man; my man Mads!  He’s seriously one of the better actors in Hollywood and he’s not even American; I don’t mean that to sound dismissive of foreign language actors, I just want to note how fantastic it is that he’s so incredible here and how much better he’s making US film culture.  It makes me want to be a Dane so I could appreciate him from that perspective too; I want a 360 degree look at Mads so I can love him all the more.  He single-handedly takes this movie to the finish line, and subtly, quietly, pulls off some incredible work.  The mood is so heavy, so sad, but he makes it seem believable and personal at the same time, like we’re right beside him rooting for him to live.  Polar is wacky, don’t watch that one, but Arctic is superb; a great survival flick that packs emotional punch and needs no frills to hold our attention.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – The Wandering Earth

Category : Movie Review

Director: Frant Gwo

Starring: Chuxiao Qu, Jing Wu, Jin Mai Jaho

Year: 2019

I sought out Wandering Earth because it looked to be a bigger deal than normal, a foreign sci-fi flick that has made its way to America and would force us to take notice.  Only one theatre is my city was playing it, but rolled the dice when normally I would let a movie like this slide by, because I thought there was a chance that this experience would be different, that it might just blow me away.  On that level, I guess I was disappointed, because Wandering Earth isn’t Interstellar, it’s more Armageddon, which is fun if you go in with the right attitude, but can be a let down if you expected something far greater.  There were times that this film touched a higher quality, but never with consistent, obvious, apparent skill, and I was left feeling that they, and therefor I, had missed out on a chance for something special.

As the Sun begins to act frighteningly, with increased solar storms and the engulfment of the entire solar system imminent, humanity is shocked to learn that it won’t be global warming that kills us, but our own star, the same bastion of heat and light that has given us so much.  Space travel isn’t perfected to the point of colonizing other planets yet, so that’s not an option, but how about moving the entire planet out of the Sun’s orbit, could that be possible?  Like never before, mankind joins together to make that fantasy a reality, to propel the still-inhabitable Earth away from the dying Sun.  A space station is constructed to serve as a guide and caregiver, and thousands of Earth Engines are created all over the world to push our planet out of harm’s way.  But years later, on our journey past Jupiter, we stray too close, and that gas giant begins to pull us toward our inevitable doom.  By this time, humans live underground to avoid the freezing temperatures of the surface, but Liu Qi and his sister Han Duoduo, along with help from their father Liu Peiquiang, who lives on the space station, must venture out and save the planet from destruction, before every living thing goes extinct.

Wandering Earth is like a combination of Geostorm, Snowpiercer, The Day After Tomorrow, a graphic novel, and a Chinese horror movie, with frigid temperatures, fiery explosions, over-the-top action, and oddly-placed comedy.  It’s an overwhelming burst of activity that makes two hours feel like a lifetime, in which, all the while, you are trapped on a frozen planet that is constantly about to blow up.  The shaky camera style and the frequent jumps in topic only highlight the frenetic pace and structure, as audiences barrel toward the end without anything to hold on to as they crash and burn.  It’s that insane, that wild, that different from the norm that we’ve become accustomed to, while also and obviously borrowing heavily from those that have come before, just taking everything up a notch, which is part brilliance and part madness.

I woke up with a raging headache after watching this film, and no wonder; I was just shaken nearly to death on the surface of an endangered planet, along with every other human on Earth.  That’s something positive that can be said about Wandering Earth; it forces you to be a part of the catastrophe, and it never lets you look away.  You see the death, feel the pain, root for the heroes, want to survive yourself; the experience is definitely that immersive.  But then there are odd jokes, a sinister A.I., story arcs that make little sense, scene changes every three seconds, and a million characters to learn the names of all at once; there were many writers turning this sci-fi book into a movie, and it showed.  Ultimately, I was as entertained as I would have been by a Hollywood summer blockbuster, I was just hoping for a little more than that, something to sink my teeth into that would last longer than walking out of theatre.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – High Flying Bird

Category : Movie Review

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Starring: Andre Holland, Zazie Beetz, Melvin Gregg

Year: 2019

Steven Soderbergh’s Netflix streamer seemed to be online before any of us even knew it existed, and there was a scramble to watch & enjoy it before the shine wore off.  The release of Cloverfield Paradox was similar in some ways, surprising us with a film before we could really decide if we wanted to watch it or not, catching us looking and daring us to turn away.  Cloverfield Paradox was a complete disaster and a dirty trick, but High Flying Bird, although looking very different on the surface, is equally bad and an equally large disappointment.  I have to believe that some of the positive hype about the movie comes from the way in which it was so quickly & easily consumed, because this many critics can’t be this blind.

Ray Burke is a New York sports agent whose newest hot client is an NBA rookie who’s ready to light the league on fire.  Problem is, the league isn’t playing, as a lockout goes into place when the owners and the players association can’t come to an agreement over money.  Most of the veteran players can take a vacation with their millions, but the young guys and the bench warmers need that cash, and so do guys like Burke, who depend on their client’s paychecks to make their own ends meet.  Ray’s rookie, Erick Scott, hasn’t even cashed in his first contract, so the pair of them are desperate for the league to start playing again, or for a revolutionary idea to take hold, a concept that might shake the owners out of their penthouses for good.

Soderbergh shoots another movie with an iPhone, which is cool, but not enough to make a great film.  One trick does not a circus make; I need much more.  Like good acting, that’s the first thing I need, and no one here except Andre Holland (who was incredible in Moonlight) does the job.  Beetz, Gregg, Sonja Sohn, Kyle McLachlan, Zachary Quinto; none of them phone in more than a passable performance, and sometimes it’s much, much worse.  And then there’s the delivery style, which is fast, wordy, supposedly witty, but just because you wrote zingers and are pretending that your characters are firing them off the cuff doesn’t mean we’ll believe you, them, or in your story.  I hated the method, the plot was extremely sleepy, there was almost no music, and everything dragged so hard that by the end it was tortuous.  The message, the guts, the nonconformity, that I liked, and saved High Flying Bird from being a complete waste of time.

My rating: ☆ ☆