Author Archives: ochippie

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Movie Trailer – The Babysitter (2017)

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: McG

Starring: Judah Lewis, Samantha Weaving, Bella Thorne

Release: October 13th, 2017

Already out on Netflix, I was intrigued when I saw this movie pop up, but I’m less so after seeing the trailer.  I’m frustrated with movies simply recycling other movies, and I know that sounds whiny, but legitimately, what we want are original ideas, fresh concepts.  We don’t want the same genre flicks done again with the hope that we’ve forgotten what they looked like before.


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Movie Trailer – The Tribes of Palos Verdes

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Brendan & Emmett Malloy

Starring: Maika Monroe, Jennifer Garner, Justin Kirk

Release: December 1st, 2017

I’ve seen both Monroe and Garner attempt to be serious and strong, and they both failed.  I liked Monroe a lot when she first appeared, but the more I’ve seen from her, the less I think she has real talent.  Garner, on the other hand, I’ve always known was a fraud.  She’s awful and will be predictably awful in this film.  It doesn’t look like a very compelling story, just something we’ve seen before and didn’t like then either.


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DVD Review – Spirited Away

Category : DVD Review

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Starring: Daveigh Chase, Jason Marsden

Year: 2001

With the presence of Studio Ghibli, and with the emergence of Laika Entertainment, there exists real competition with Disney/Pixar for the animation market.  Disney will always be a hit with kids, delivering epic fantasies and stunning princesses.  Laika has taken a darker road, using stop-motion to tell us spooky tales.  And Ghibli, which has been producing in Japan for 30 years, gives audiences a unique perspective that the more artistic will appreciate while children will delight.  Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, Ponyo, The Secret World of Arrietty, The Wind Rises, When Marnie Was There; these are some of the most widely known and successful animated movies across the globe, and Ghibli’s contributions to even American entertainment can’t be denied.

The Movie

Young Chihiro must follow her parents to a new home, new town, new school, leaving her friends and her past behind.  She’s a timid girl, scared of everything, and not near up to the task of starting life anew in a strange place.  Her parents try to convince her that this is all an adventure, that wonderful new experiences await her around the corner, but she can’t see that, the pain of leaving is still too raw.  Chihiro can’t accept her changed life, but she will soon be forced to look around in a way she has never done before.  Taking a shortcut, her father drives the family up a forest road, which dead ends at an ancient-seeming building that is actually not as old as it seems.  As the family enters to explore, they cross the line between fantasy and reality.

An abandoned amusement park lies on the other side of the gateway, Chihiro demanding to leave immediately, her parents anxious to discover.  They trek through empty fields, a man-made river that was never filled, a fake town where people used to come for entertainment and festive food.  Actually, someone is cooking something, and Chihiro’s parents follow their noses until they find an unparalleled feast, gorging themselves on delights until they begin to resembled pigs rather than humans.  Chihiro finds herself in a world inhabited by spirits, a world in which her parents are fattened up for the slaughter, a world in which little makes sense and danger lurks around every corner.  She’ll make new friends who will help her on her mission to rescue her parents and to leave this magical world, but in the end she will have to find the courage to save herself.

Spirited Away is one of the most stunning films you will ever watch, with visuals that will burn themselves into your mind and will stay with you forever.  I know that sounds dramatic, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen still images like this, the screenshots from this film becoming a gallery of brilliant paintings with vast imagination as their origin, imagination that I can’t even fathom.  I hope these pictures do the movie justice, or simply do a search and see your yourself’; every scene is beautiful and original, every character worth turning into a statuette and placing on a shelf to view for years to come.  The visuals are by far the best part of this film, the artwork and the time put in to creating it are both vastly impressive.

The story, unfortunately, doesn’t hold its own.  I know that this film is highly regarded, and I don’t mean to suggest that it shouldn’t be.  I just couldn’t immerse myself in the story the way I wanted to, the way I though that I would be able to, not like I have with other Ghibli features at least.  Ponyo and Arrietty had plots that I just adored, whereas Mononoke and Spirited Away were more scattered, more chaotic, and probably a little more anime.  That’s not my genre, I won’t claim to know a ton about it, I just assume that I like my Ghibli slightly more American, and I’ll tale the blame for being conditioned by Hollywood animation into becoming so ethnocentric.  But I won’t insult myself completely; I love Ghibli, I love what they do, I guess I just enjoy some more than others.  This film is still spectacular, in a very literal sense, with music and mood and moments that will blow you away.  You just may need to discover which Ghibli style suits you best so you can enjoy their amazing movies to the maximum.

The Blu-ray

Video – With an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 (1080p HD Widescreen), the video quality of this Blu-ray version of Spirited Away is among the best you will ever watch.  Its visuals are mind-blowing, and a reason alone to watch the film.  The color and the clarity are brilliant, as are the choices behind every scene and image.  The Blu-ray disc is exactly the media on which to watch this movie, but the film itself brings the beauty to the screen.

Audio – The Blu-ray was done in English 5.1 DTS HD, with an option of Japanese 5.1 DTS HD or French 5.1 Dolby Digital.  Subtitles are available in English SDH, English, or French.  The film is dubbed from its original Japanese, but it loses nothing in translation.  The dialogue is simple and sometimes stilted, but that can be forgiven, and the soundtrack that backs the film is very strong.

Extras – The special features on this disc are few, and also self-explanatory.  Feature-Length Storyboards, Behind the Microphone, Original Theatrical Trailers, and TV Spots.

Final Thoughts

Recommended.  I might be in the minority in claiming that Spirited Away is not amazing, but perhaps I need to clarify exactly what I mean.  Because the film did amaze me, how anyone could create such a world and then put in on my screen, that is purely unbelievable.  The images will stay with me, the music was delightful, the characters so diverse and special.  But I just couldn’t accept the story, couldn’t find the entertainment that so many others have found, and so I wasn’t mesmerized by the film as an entire entity.  I hope that how much I appreciated this movie shines through, and I also assume that you will understand your own taste level and expectations, that personal knowledge leading you to the right Ghibli film.  The video is outstanding, the audio is great, and there are a few special features to enjoy, so the technical aspects won’t disappoint.  Watch with confidence, enjoy something brilliant, and feast your eyes.

☆ ☆ ☆ – Content

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Video

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Audio

☆ ☆ ☆ – Extras

☆ ☆ ☆ – Replay

 

 

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Movie Trailer – Wheelman

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Jeremy Rush

Starring: Frank Grillo

Release: October 20th, 2017

Oooh, Netflix chooses poorly.  And they’ve been on such a hot streak lately too, pumping out the hits like a real studio.  I don’t think this movie is what they want to produce, not anymore anyway.


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Movie Trailer – Replicas

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Jeffrey Nachmanoff

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Alice Eve, Thomas Middleditch

Release: 2017

It is impossible for Keanu Reeves to play a scientist, he just doesn’t have it in him.  A surfer, a quarterback, even an assassin; sure, he can do certain things.  They tried making Kevin Bacon and James Franco geniuses; that didn’t work, and this won’t either.  Apart from Keanu, the movie itself looks awful, like a spoof of a serious sci-fi flick, not something actually attempting to slide into the genre.


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DVD Review – Ponyo

Category : DVD Review

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Starring: Frankie Jonas, Noah Lindsey Cyrus

Year: 2008

My first experience with Studio Ghibli was watching Princess Mononoke.  I had never seen Japanese animation before and was unprepared for the style, the action, and the dubbing.  It was an art form that I wouldn’t appreciate until years later, even though the studio was becoming famous worldwide.  Mononoke, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, Ponyo, Arrietty, The Wind Rises, When Marnie Was There; these are some of the most widely-known and successful animated movies of all-time, though Americans continue to prefer Disney, Pixar, and other local animation studies.  But the power of Ghibli can’t be denied, as their films are an artistic medium all on their own and continue to amaze us with wonderful stories brought to life with dazzling talent.

The Movie

Loosely based on The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen, Ponyo is a tale of love breaking all boundaries.  Sosuke is a young boy who lives near the sea with his mother & father.  His mother works at a nearby retirement home, his father is a sailor.  Sosuke happily relies upon his own independence and imagination, but when he happens to find a goldfish along the shoreline, he’s overjoyed to finally have a companion.  The trouble is, the fish he names Ponyo isn’t a fish at all, but the daughter of a powerful sorcerer and the Sea herself.  They need her to return to the ocean, to keep the balance between life on land and life under the sea, but Ponyo’s love for Sosuke is too powerful a thing to be set aside for the survival of the world as we know it.

Ponyo’s magic delights her new friend, but it also releases the forces of nature in ways that she cannot control.  Ponyo’s transformation into a human girl throws off the balance of the Earth, and causes the Moon’s misalignment, resulting in a storm the likes of which Sosuke’s tiny shipping village has never seen before.  Her mother and father are desperate to take her back to her home before total destruction ensues, but they also know that they cannot rip apart her love for this special little boy, or for a human world that is so full of delights.  Ponyo and Sosuke will have to work together to prove that their love for each other is stronger than the gravity that wishes to pull them apart, and that they are willing to fight for what they know feels right.

Studio Ghibli makes another masterpiece; what else is new.  Ponyo is just another beautiful depiction of a classic tale, a reimagining of a story we thought we knew so well.  It’s very, very different from Disney’s Little Mermaid, holding tight to the original content in some ways, and creating something completely new in others.  It’s as if that tale happened in modern Japan with children as the protagonists, the result becoming something better than you might predict.  The color, the brilliant artwork, the stunning visuals; breathtaking all.  And the cast was pretty impressive, apart from the two youngsters, who we’ll root for to make names of themselves as well.  Tina Fey, Liam Neeson, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Cloris Leachman, Betty White, Lily Tomlin; top that if you can.

I might have liked Arrietty just a touch more than Ponyo, appreciating its slow pace, deep moments, and phenomenal music.  But Ponyo held its own, will delight children, and impressed me as a singularly unique film in a world of recycled time-wasters.  It’s very different from Ghibli’s more mystical features, like Mononoke or Spirited Away, and always feels directed at children, with their interests at heart.  But I don’t see that as a bad thing; an animation studio, no matter how deep and adult their themes, should always remember the passion with which children appreciate animation, which is perhaps why adults can continue to love it no matter how old they get.  This is a powerful art form, Ghibli wielding its tools with fine and magical precision.

The Blu-ray

Video – With an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 (1080p HD Widescreen), the video quality of this Blu-ray version of Ponyo is among the best you will ever watch.  Animated or not, this film is a spectacle to see, a marvel to sit down in front of.  The color, the imagination, the backdrops, the characters; it’s perfection all-around.  One of the most beautifully draw features you will ever see, Ponyo‘s visuals will blow you away.

Audio – The Blu-ray was done in English 5.1 DTS HD, with an option of Japanese 5.1 DTS HD or French 5.1 Dolby Digital.  Subtitles are available in English SDH, English, or French.  The film is dubbed from its original Japanese, but it loses nothing in translation.  The dialogue is simple but clever, the voice-overs work in every way, the stars that got on board should be commended, and the music will delight you for years to come.

Extras – The special features on this disc are among the most numerous I have ever come across.  There are so very many, but thankfully they are also self-explanatory.  Feature-Length Storyboards, The Five Geniuses Who Created Ponyo, The Locations of Ponyo, Press Conference: Theme Song Announcement, Theme Song Music Video, Interview with Hayao Miyazaki, Interview with Toshio Suzuki, Opening Event at Hibiya Scala-Za Theater, Hayao Miyazaki Press Conference at the Foreign Correspondent’s Club of Japan, Behind the Microphone, Creating Ponyo, Ponyo & Fujimoto, The Nursery, Producer’s Perspective: Telling the Story, Scoring Miyazaki, Original Theatrical Trailer, and TV Spots.

Final Thoughts

Highly Recommended. If there’s a more delightful modern animated flick out there, I’d like to see it, because Ponyo is currently the claimant to the crown.  It’s so magically delicious, and it broadcasts that joy to audiences of all ages.  It’s not the animation that Americans are most used to, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be open-minded, and that doesn’t mean that some other form can’t be just as great as what comes out of the studios that we’re used to.  The music is something that stands out as well, a common theme woven through a soundtrack that will live in your brain for days, but you won’t want it to leave.  The video is amazing, the audio spectacular, and the extras more than numerous, so the technical aspects live up to the content.  For my money, this is one of Ghibli’s best, something for every age group, and a film that will simply brighten your day.

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Content

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Video

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Audio

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Extras

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Replay

 

 

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Movie Review – Blade Runner 2049

Category : Movie Review

Director: Denis Villeneuve

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas

Year: 2017

Denis Villeneuve is Hollywood’s current premiere director.  In the past four years, he has created four films that have each been independently excellent.  Prisoners, an emotional wreck that you can’t help but fall deeply into.  Enemy, a metaphorical labyrinth that you enjoy being lost in.  Sicario, one of the best visual experiences you will have at a theatre.  Arrival, science fiction turned on its head in just the right way.  But while each of these films have been incredible on their own, they have also exhibited Villeneuve’s style with perfect precision, allowing audiences to watch and recognize the director for the talent that he is, to come away wanting more from the same mind, no matter what story he chooses to craft next.  Blade Runner 2049 is different in that it is a sequel to a different director’s work, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, of course.  But it is also another is an unbelievable string of home runs from a filmmaker that I can’t wait to see more from.

Thirty years have passed since the ex-cop Deckard came face to face with the fine line between humans and Replicants, fleeing from the knowledge of whether he himself was a faux person.  In the interval, Replicants have risen up and subsequently been defeated, the old models waging a war against mankind only to lose.  A new series of androids have been produced by a new maker, Wallace taking over where Tyrell failed.  These new models are faster, stronger, smarter, and are tasked first with finding the aging, hiding Replicants and “retiring” them.  K, an L.A. cop and a Replicant himself, meets an ancient model named Sapper Morton who won’t come in peacefully to be shut down.  This encounter begins a series of confusing events for K, as he learns that Morton and his allies are hiding a secret so vital that it could pull apart the tenuous fabric of human existence.

Blade Runner 2049 blows Blade Runner out of the water.  I know the cult classic has its fans, and I’m not here to pull it down; it’s a pillar of dystopian sci-fi, a genre that I love.  But going back to watch the original, it’s so dark and wet and dreary and odd, without the alleviating moments that a film like that requires to sit well in the stomachs of audiences.  The sequel had the same bleak appearance, but Villeneuve was able to fill the gaps with small, magical moments that helped lift the entire film into rarefied air.  He infused humor when you least expected it, humanity when brutality was all around, love when hate filled the night.  He was able to keep the balance between a story that could easily become a burden and a movie that could easily become nothing more than an action flick, walking the fine line between styles in a way that exhibited his talent to the fullest.

I think the key ingredient in the film, and what made it possible to be both sometimes funny but often violently dark, was Ryan Gosling.  He filled the role of K perfectly, coming off as cool, confident, worried, humorous, powerful, swimming through a variety of emotions, which is only more impressive when you remember that he’s not even supposed to be human.  He, along with a great cast, steered this wild ride in the right direction, keeping it from becoming something none of us wanted it to be.  Ford was great in a smaller role, de Armas is as talented as she is sexy, and the side actors were all of them solid: Dave Bautista, Robin Wright, Sylvia Hoeks, Jared Leto, Mackenzie Davis, Lennie James.  My only criticisms are that the film is a bit longer than it needs to be, the dialogue isn’t perfect, and although I enjoyed the quiet moments immensely, they led to startling moments when the characters actually talked, like “oh right that’s Harrison Ford, let me try to get back into the groove of hearing his voice.”  Blade Runner 2049 isn’t the best picture of the year, but it will probably be the best sci-fi flick, and it is another Villeneuve success from all angles.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 

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Movie Review – The Meyerowitz Stories

Category : Movie Review

Director: Noah Baumbach

Starring: Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman

Year: 2017

The Meyerowitz Stories is Baumbach’s best film since The Squid and the Whale, his collaborations with Greta Gerwig never being by favorites, always preferring his Wes Anderson-style movies, of course.  This is also Adam Sandler’s best role since Punch-Drunk Love, one of the rare occasions where he actually shows off his immense talent, a well-kept secret that is bafflingly treated like an embarrassment.  Baumbach knows New York, he knows sly comedy, he knows family dysfunction, while Sandler knows awkward conversations, timely laughs, and how to make audiences relate to the bumbling fool.  Together, these men, their coworkers, and this story, combine to delight indie drama aficionados with a film that may quietly sneak toward the top of this year’s list.

The Meyerowitz family is fucked up, to say the very least.  The pater familias, Harold, has been married multiple times, has three odd children, was once a semi-famous sculptor, and now spends his days watching the Mets and feeling slighted for his lack of current success.  His eldest son, Danny, is a stay-at-home dad whose usefulness is completely worn out; his wife left him and his daughter is off to college.  The middle child, Jean, is shy, strange, alone, and fairly uninteresting.  While the youngest, a half-brother named Matthew, has had all the good fortune and is a wealthy wealth manager.  The group reunites when Harold books a small potatoes show for his art and has a health problem, the events working to bring the family together but not helping to alleviate the decades of bitterness that stand between them.

Netflix may have just distributed their finest film to date.  They have been steadily improving, and to book a talent like Baumbach, to produce a movie of this caliber from a director and a cast of this level, is no small feat.  I still feel like I’m somehow cheating the system, I’m watching excellent features from my living room the day that they are released, and they aren’t hitting safely any more, they are swinging for the fences every time.  The Meyerowitz Stories is a standard Baumbach dramody, but aged in such a way that is shouts its improvement, giving us what we want from this talented director by taking every aspect to the next level.  Hilarious in random moments, heart-breaking as it concludes, fraught with dystopic family dynamics that we can all relate to; the film is a pocket-sized, one-dose emoti-bomb.  Sandler was unstoppable, Stiller was in rare, serious form, Hoffman was the perfect fractured father figure, and the supporting cast was cool in its cameoed structure; Emma Thompson, Judd Hirsch, Adam Driver, Grace Van Patten, Candice Bergen.  For those who appreciate the genre, this is A-grade work, and should be considered one of the best films never to be in theatres.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

 


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Sports – NFL Picks 2017, Week 6

Category : Sports

Here are my NFL Week 6 Picks

(7-7 last week, 40-37 for the season)

Bye teams: Bills, Bengals, Cowboys, Seahawks

 

Phi @ Car – Finally, a Thursday Night matchup of equally excellent teams that could actually make for a great game to watch.  The Thursday Night idea has basically been a disaster; the scheduling is weird, the games are never entertaining, and the time frame throws off the players, leading to their under-performing.  Maybe this changes this week, because these teams are strong, these conference contests are important, and these quarterbacks are hot.  Let’s just hope everyone doesn’t come out flat, but I’m confident that they won’t.  The Eagles are scorching right now, they look unstoppable behind young Carson Wentz, but it’s never easy to head out on the road into a hostile environment.  The Panthers are just as hot, Cam seems to have shaken off the rust, and their defense is playing stout football.  I think we could see the most evenly matched game of the year, so I have to give the edge to the home team, if just slightly.

Chi @ Bal – I just can’t seem to pick games right this year, but one thing at least seems certain; the Bears are going to lose.  In a year in which even bad teams like the Jets can win on any given Sunday, Chicago keeps losing, and that helps keep me sane.  They have won one game this year, but that won’t happen very often, and they didn’t even win last week at home vs a team playing their backup QB & RB.  They had to resort to trick plays, and they were surprisingly successful, but the Bears still didn’t win, and they won’t this week either.  The Ravens have been a bit up & down lately, but they are 3-2, are tied atop the AFC North, so all is not lost.  With Pittsburgh struggling with consistency as well, Baltimore can move into the lead, and there’s really no reason that they shouldn’t.  They’re defense is playing well, the offense just needs to step up a bit, something we might see right away, as the Ravens get the easy win.

Cle @ Hou – The Browns are so bad that they lost to the Jets at home and benched their rookie QB in utter despair.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; they just need to quit playing football.  Or change towns or names or something, Jesus, anything to stop being exactly what you’ve been for the past 20 years; terrible.  In their modern history, or since 1999, they’ve had a season with a winning record only twice and have made the playoffs only once.  Actually, if I’m reading this right, 1950 was the last time the Browns won two playoff-style games in a row.  They’re ineptitude is just sad, and I’m tired of them existing.  The Texans, on the other hand, have something to play for, and their rookie QB is playing great, he’s not sitting the bench because he sucks.  Houston is only one game out of first place, and even losing JJ Watt won’t derail their forward momentum, so I’m picking them to win at home in what should be a blowout.

GB @ Min – I’m mad because this lost me my fantasy game, but the dumbest fan could have told Jason Garrett that he needed to run out every second of the clock before attempting to score last week during the final minute, because any time you left for Aaron Rodgers was an open invitation for the Cowboys to lose.  How they didn’t know this, how they threw an incomplete pass, how they left time on the clock for the Packers to score; someone needs fired.  I won’t have won my fantasy game if Rodgers hadn’t has that final drive; the guy is amazing, you knew he was going to throw a TD.  He’ll assuredly throw more this week; the Vikings defense is good, but they aren’t that good.  They also don’t have their starting QB or RB, and I think they’ll be in panic mode pretty early in this one, so it’s hard to see them getting the momentum switched to their side.  The Pack should travel well and get the win in Minnesota.

Det @ NO – Matt Stafford tried to come back against the Panthers last week, but it was too little too late, and the Lions got their second loss.  He’s banged up as well, and the magic might have worn off a bit; even the defense isn’t playing quite as well as they were at the beginning of the season.  I don’t know, I like the Lions, but they’re showing me that they might not be the shockingly elite team that they looked like earlier on, and it might be time to jump off the bandwagon.  I definitely will if they lose in New Orleans, something that I’m pretty sure is about to happen.  Drew Brees dominates coming off bye weeks, and I think he’ll revel in the fact that the Saints are fully rested and are back at home.  They are going to put up some points in this one, but I also think NO is going to play some actual defense.  They allow 20 points a game, which is few enough for Brees to win it with his arm on the other end.

Mia @ Atl – Matt Cassel vs Jay Cutler last week and the Titans lost that battle of the …well …Titans …and Tennessee can’t wait for Mariota to get back on the field.  Cutler and the Dolphins aren’t doing too poorly, they’re 2-2, but still they don’t score very much, their defense stepping up to keep their team in games that they maybe should lose.  Miami will be exposed eventually, they aren’t great in any way, and this could be the week that the flood gates open and Cutler throws 9 INTs in desperation.  The Falcons got their first loss and then had a bye week, so they’ve had time to sit on their anger and to let it eat away at their souls.  I can’t imagine anything else other than a complete dominating performance out of Atlanta in Week 6, as they let all that frustration loose on the Dolphins.  The Falcons are back at home, they have something to prove, and they will win this game going away.

NE @ NYJ – WTF is up with the Patriots defense?  They allow the most points in the league (except for the Colts) and they are basically embarrassing themselves.  This isn’t what we are used to, I’m not sure what has changed, but something has got to be fixed.  Tom Brady can’t win these games all on his own anymore, he’s getting old and he’s getting hit.  He’s hurt coming into this week, and he could be one sack away from calling it a career, who knows.  Protect Brady, play solid defense, and this team could still make it to the Super Bowl.  Meanwhile, as it is, the Pats are tied with the Bills and the Jets atop the AFC East, which just shows you that the world has lost its mind.  The Jets for Pete’s sake, the Jets are winning the division, and they allow far fewer points than the Patriots.  They also score far fewer, which will ultimately be their downfall, both during this season and during this game.

SF @ Was – We know how bad the Browns are, we delight in discussing the plight of the Giants, but we forget that the Niners are also 0-5, that they are also one of the worst teams in the league.  But I guess we understand that this is truly a rebuilding year, that it’ll take some time to turn things around, which is funny, because weren’t they in the Super Bowl a few years ago?  And isn’t the QB they had then still available?  Hmm, you think they might pick him up and try to win with him before they draft another guy next year, but no, that’s crazy, I heard he knelt down or something equally sinister, better not invite him into a locker room or something political might happen.  Speaking of politics, I can’t take the Redskins seriously until they change their ridiculously offensive nickname.  But I do think they’ll win this game at home vs one of the worst teams in the league, so let’s just leave it at that.

TB @ Ari – The Bucs haven’t exactly started this season the way that many of us thought that they would.  They’re 2-2, they have only won at home, they haven’t been as lights out on offense as predicted, and they’re falling behind the Panthers and the Falcons for the division.  They need to fix some problems right away before they fall deeper into this hole, and a win here would go a long way toward climbing out.  This is a winnable game, but it won’t be easy, TB will have to sure that they are capable of finding their problems and fixing them; we’re about to see what kind of team the Bucs really are.  We’ve seen what the Cardinals have become without David Johnson, and I’m not sure what else there is to learn.  Now, they did just pick up Adrian Peterson and release Chris Johnson, so maybe they’ll play at home with some renewed vigor, I think they have a solid chance.  It’s just that TB has a higher ceiling, so I’ll pick them here.

LAR @ Jax – The Rams are an interesting team, one that I did not see coming.  They score the most points in the league (other than the Chiefs) and are tied for the NFC West lead with the Seahawks.  That’s good company both ways, and I did not think they would be this tough a team when I made predictions before the season started.  They did lose last week, they aren’t dominant at home, and they do allow too many points to be considered elite.  But LA is undefeated on the road, they score points in bunches, and I wouldn’t want to be the team to face them this season.  Unfortunately for the Jaguars, the Rams are coming to town, and I would be concerned.  Jacksonville is a similar team; scores, plays well on the road, is doing surprisingly well.  But I imagine that their wheels will fall off sooner rather than later.  They’re a little inconsistent, and I don’t trust Bortles at all.  The D is great, but it will only take them so far.

Pit @ KC – Big Ben Roethlisberger sounded pretty defeated after last week’s loss and after throwing 5 INTs, so there’s reason to wonder if his heart is in the game or not, if he can successfully steer this team toward the playoffs.  He’s been hinting at retirement, and you have to assume it’s crossing his mind right now, even though the Steelers have a winning record and are tied at the top of their division.  I don’t know, it’s weird, and no one knows but Ben.  Pitt can still win games down the road, they have some immense talent on both sides of the ball, I just wouldn’t pick anyone to go into Kansas City right now and leave with a W.  The Chiefs are the league’s best team, the league’s only undefeated team, and they’re playing well enough right now to still any questions or doubts.  They score like crazy, if the defense steps up they’ll be unstoppable, I just hope they stumble a bit before my Broncos have to play them.

LAC @ Oak – Here are two of the other teams of the AFC West, both with their sights set on the division, but only one with any real chance.  And it’s not LA, that’s for sure.  They won their first game of the season last week, but this team is no good, one win shouldn’t fool us into thinking that anything has changed.  Rivers is still an idiot, there is still no fan base to support them, and I’m very confident that they will lose this game in Oakland, maybe by a lot.  Derek Carr is back for the Raiders after sitting one week with an injury, and I imagine he’ll be slinging the ball and scoring multiple touchdowns.  Oakland scores more, allows less, is playing at home; this is pretty much a lock.  Division opponents always play each other fiercely though, so there’s always a chance that the Chargers pull off something tricky, I just wouldn’t bet on it.  No, the Raiders will dominate and keep working toward the top of the division.

NYG @ Den – Hit with impossible injuries last week, the Giants can now be completely counted out.  I was all about them coming into the season, I thought they had the best WR trio in the league, I thought they would win the NFC East.  Well, they were bad before they lost all their wideouts, and they’ll be much worst now.  Odell and BMarsh and one other guy all left last week’s game with season-ending injuries in a game that completely devastated New York, leaving them with literally no one to throw to.  They were awful and just got worse; I almost feel bad for what the Denver D is about to do to them.  I don’t want my guys feeling overconfident, but they should dominate the GMen from the first snap to the final whistle.  The Broncos are better on every side and should be able to score with ease.  They should also be able to crush poor Eli on Sunday Night football, in their all blues, for the whole world to see.

Ind @ Ten – Andrew Luck is inching closer to returning, but meanwhile the Colts are struggling, though they have pieced together enough to go 2-3.  They aren’t awful exactly, they just aren’t a great team without their stud QB, and they need him back in a big way.  TY Hilton has been impressive, Brissett has been serviceable, but the Colts are just OK, and probably won’t win many until Luck returns.  The Titans actually have the same record, but should be a far better team than they’ve shown so far.  Now, last week Mariota was hurt and the Titans lost under Matt Cassel.  That would have gone the other way had Mariota played, so thankfully he’ll be back this week vs Indy on Monday Night Football.  Tennessee’s defense needs to step up in a big way; they’ve been extremely disappointing so far this year. But I think Marcus will play well, I think so will the defense, and I’d say this game won’t really be that close.

Fantasy Players To Watch – presented by The Fantasy Footballers

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QBs – Joe Flacco vs the Bears.  DeSean Watson vs the Browns.  Drew Brees vs the Lions.  Matt Ryan vs the Dolphins.  Kirk Cousins vs the 49ers.  David Carr vs the Chargers.  Trevor Siemian vs the Giants.  Marcus Mariota vs the Colts.

RBs – Mark Ingram vs the Lions.  DeVontae Freeman vs the Dolphins.  Mike Gillislee vs the Jets.  Todd Gurley vs the Jaguars.  DeMarco Murray vs the Colts.

WRs – Kelvin Benjamin vs the Eagles.  Jordy Nelson vs the Vikings.  Willie Snead vs the Lions.  Julio Jones vs the Dolphins.  Mike Evans vs the Cardinals.  Amari Cooper vs the Chargers.  Emmanuel Sanders vs the Giants.  TY Hilton vs the Titans.

TEs –  Kyle Rudolph vs the Packers.  Rob Gronkowski vs the Jets.  OJ Howard vs the Cardinals.  Delanie Walker vs the Colts.

Ks – Justin Tucker vs the Bears.  Mason Crosby vs the Vikings.  Matt Prater vs the Saints.  Matt Bryant vs the Dolphins.  Stephen Gostkowski vs the Jets.  Brandon McManus vs the Giants.  Ryan Succop vs the Colts.

DEFs – Baltimore vs the Bears.  New Orleans vs the Lions.  Atlanta vs the Dolphins.  Washington vs the 49ers.  Denver vs the Giants.  Tenessee vs the Colts.

 

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DVD Review – Killing Hasselhoff

Category : DVD Review

Director: Darren Grant

Starring: Ken Jeong, David Hasselhoff, Jon Lovitz

Year: 2017

Ken Jeong has been steadily climbing the comedy ladder over the last fifteen years, but I have to wonder if he recently fell off the other side.  He started on TV with bit parts, received small roles in a few silly films, got his break with The Hangover, seemed to be picking up steam in Community, but since then everything he touches tanks.  Dr. Ken is the worst television show I’ve ever had the misfortune to accidentally watch, and Killing Hasselhoff is not much better; a weird, cameo-driven pseudo-thriller that doesn’t have an original bone in its lifeless, laughless body.  I think we might need to face it; Jeong isn’t actually funny.

The Movie

Chris is part of a very strange betting pool, in which each member forks up five hundred bucks each year, the pot growing to an astounding 500k.  What are they betting on?  Which celebrity will die first.  Chris has David Hasselhoff, who he is also hosting an event for at the night club that he owns, so it’s a wacky situation, helping a famous guy who you also hope will kick the bucket.  But it’s all in fun, no one means anyone any harm, and Chris is happy with his life.  He has a beautiful girlfriend, great buds, he loves his job, and things are looking up in the City of Angels.  What could possibly go wrong?

Well, Chris also owes a lot of money to a dangerous loan shark, and when a misunderstanding at the club leads to a scandal, Chris loses his money, his friends, and his girl.  The shark wants to collect, his friends have lost their minds, his girlfriend leaves him, and Chris’ options have suddenly vanished.  How can he get a whole lot of money very quickly, enough to smooth over all the life-altering problems that just popped up at the same time?  Why, by killing David Hasselhoff, of course.  Hasselhoff is cool, sure, but his death is worth half a million, so Chris will have to grow a pair and off the ageless wonder that is the Hoff.

I just watched Baywatch, so it was fun to see Hasselhoff yet again, when I hadn’t really expected to see him any more for the rest of my (or his) life.  But he keeps appearing, which I’m actually glad of; the guy does have a special quality that is still likeable after all these years.  He doesn’t take himself too seriously, which is quite refreshing, and his enjoyment of his own career makes us enjoy it too.  He’s the highlight of this film, along with an extremely funny kiwi, Rhys Darby, who steals the show in his few scenes.  Will Sasso also makes an appearance, and I’ll never forget his MADtv performances, so he was also a welcome sight.

You know who wasn’t?  Ken Yeong.  I don’t think it’s even arguable, the guy just isn’t funny.  It’s like he’s not even trying to be funny anymore, like he’s decided to be a straight man with comedians around him.  Problem is, he can’t act, either, so I really have no idea what he’s doing here and who’s paying him to be on camera.  Jim Jeffries was equally terrible, and those two were lucky that the cameos saved their bacon, at least to some extent.  WWE Studios made this movie, which is weird, but it actually suited it, because you can’t take either seriously, and both are a waste of your time.  If the Hoff hadn’t saved the day, Killing Hasselhoff would have been a complete and utter failure.

The DVD

Video – With an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, the video quality of this DVD is mediocre at best.  Absolutely no attention was paid to the quality of the picture or the integrity of the visuals; it’s an average DVD, filmed in an average manner, with nothing special about it.

Audio – The disc was done in English Dolby Digital 5.1, with subtitle choices in English SDH, Cantonese, Mandarin, French, and Thai.  That’s it for the audio, and it’s about as nondescript as the video.  The sound is passable, the soundtrack is forgettable, and no cares were given.

Extras – The only special feature is an 8-minute collection of deleted scenes.

Final Thoughts

Rent It.  This film needed a different lead, and then probably a different writer and director.  The concept was humorous, the Hoff was badass, there were a few funny scenes, but ultimately there wasn’t enough done right to make this a watchable movie.  Ken Yeong may have already peaked and may be on his way down, which is too bad, because he seemed to have some potential.  Maybe he needs to switch to writing, but I’m not sure that would help.  The video here is not outstanding, the audio is only OK, and the extras fail to impress, so look elsewhere for technical marvels.  Actually, look elsewhere for comedy too, unless you are ready, willing, and able to be in a very forgiving mood.

☆ ☆ – Content

☆ ☆ – Video

☆ ☆ – Audio

☆ – Extras

☆ – Replay

 

 

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