Author Archives: ochippie

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Sports – 2019 Fantasy Football: QBs

Category : Sports

With the preseason beginning and many fantasy drafts planned for the next few weekends, it’s time to prep for your 2019 Fantasy Football team. Here is my advice/predictions as it relates to quarterbacks:

  • Numero Uno – There is no better QB prospect this season than Patrick Mahomes, the stud who lit up the league last year.  His numbers were incredible, and while there’s no way he repeats them this season, even a significant and/or unexpected step down would still land him on the top of the list.  Pick Patty and a slew of other Chiefs to start for your team; you’ll be thanking them during your playoffs.
  • Teamwork – While you don’t want to get too many players from one team in case they have a bad game, a lot of top tier QBs have a top tier wideout to go with them, and picking the pair might not be a bad idea.  Mahomes-Hill, Watson-Hopkins, Rodgers-Adams, Ryan-Jones, Mayfield-Beckham, Roethlisberger-Juju, Luck-Hilton, Brees-Thomas; you could do much worse than to have these duos on your team.
  • Believeland – And speaking of BA-KER-MAY-FIELD, there’s reason to be optimistic about the Brownies this season, and that could mean fantasy relevance.  Mayfield has a lot to prove still, he’s not quite Mahomes, but the talent around him has definitely improved, and he could score a ton of points this year.  Also, he may drop a few rounds because owners might be scared to pull the trigger; just make sure you’re not.
  • Father Time – But now for the bad news; not every famous QB deserves a spot on top of your fantasy depth chart.  The older they get the more their skill falls off, that’s just proven fact, so be mindful of the senior class.  Brady is going to take a step back this year, I think that’s inevitable, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Rivers and maybe even Drew Brees step back with him.  Guys like Carr, Dalton, and Stafford are already falling off the radar and they aren’t even that old; father time is undefeated.
  • Bounce Back – There are a few signal callers who aren’t as coveted as perhaps they once were, but there’s a chance they bounce back up to the top, so be there to nab them if you think they might trend upward.  Luck had a resurgent year last season, but he’s not a surprise any longer, so someone will take him too high; get one of the guys who might come a little cheaper.  Newton, Wentz, Prescott, Cousins; you could do worse than someone from this group, just be willing to wait a while before making the move.
  • The Untouchables – Unfortunately, every year there is a group of guys who you just simply can’t draft, at least not until they’ve proven themselves surprisingly worthy, and in that case you just pick them up from the waiver wire.  Foles, Fitzpatrick, Manning, Keenum; they don’t have enough talent around them to score enough points for you to consider.  I’ll add Joe Flacco to that list as well, although I think Denver does have talent; we just can’t be sure what Flacco will do with it.

 


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Movie Review – Rounders

Category : Movie Review

Director: John Dahl

Starring: Matt Damon, Ed Norton, John Malkovich

Year: 1998

Rounders gets low critic’s ratings on both IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes, and I can only assume that those people didn’t understand the 90s.  This film is so dated it hurts, but in the best way possible, and watching it is like traveling back to a simpler time when every single plot outline hadn’t already been recycled a million times.  Some standard recipes were still fresh, and directors knew just how to manipulate them enough to convince audiences that what they were watching was pure gold.  But we should let ourselves be convinced, let ourselves be swept away, because that’s the joy of the movies, isn’t it?  Rounders is a 90s icon with great acting to propel the story and predictable events that chug along in a perfectly lovely and comfortable way, making this smooth ride nothing short of genius.

Mike McDermott is a poker player, that’s what he was born to do, and taking the game away from him is like cutting off an arm or a leg; you know it’s gone but you can still feel the tug.  After he loses a giant pot to the sinister Teddy KGB, which represents the loss of his dreams of going to Vegas and making it big as a professional gambler, Mikey swears off the game, hitting the books to become a lawyer and trying to forget poker.  But that’s impossible, and when his best friend Worm gets out of prison and asks Mikey to become his gambling partner once more, it’s hard to say no.  Now he’s back in over his head and owing money to some dangerous people, but the call of the cards is stronger than ever, because he knows that he has what it takes to play with the big boys, and that winning isn’t merely a matter of luck.

The narration, the angst, the dark dens, the petty violence, the notable hotties; it’s a 90s dance party and we’re all invited.  It might have come out in 1998, but Rounders is a summation of the decade and of this type of drama; people really ought to respect it more than they do.  Its delivery is near perfect, and its characters are gold; what else are you looking for than a cool crime movie about underground poker that succeeds around basically every corner?  Thrills, defeat, grit, growth; check, check, check, and check.  And then there’s the cast: Damon, Norton, Malkovich, John Turturro, Martin Landau, Famke Janssen.  That’s quite a group, all in their respective prime, you don’t see that every day, and that’s just another reason to love what we’re watching.  Rounders is not just a drama, not just a gambling movie, it’s a pot we’ve already won before we even sit down to ante up, a gift given to us by the cinema gods that shan’t be taken in vain, so help me, amen.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Cloverfield

Category : Movie Review

Director: Matt Reeves

Starring: Michael Stahl-David, Odette Annable, TJ Miller

Year: 2008

You know, I’ve seen Cloverfield Paradox and 10 Cloverfield Lane, but never the original Cloverfield, so I thought it was time to remedy that.  I always figured it would make me motion sick, even though that usually doesn’t affect me, and I was kinda right, but that’s not really the reason I didn’t end up liking it though, it was probably because it was mostly crappy.  I’m glad sci-fi and horror can be created in new & interesting ways, and I think we owe this movie some applause for its guts and longevity, but that doesn’t exactly mean that we can watch/enjoy it now.  Looking back, it’s just a stupid and poorly-acted mess of shaky cameras and shaky acting, which, I mean, isn’t what we should want.

Rob is taking a job in Japan, so his friends throw him a going-away party.  Among them are his brother Jason along with his girlfriend Lily, his idiot best friend Hudson along with the girl he likes Marlena, and then Beth, who Rob loves and has a tenuous relationship with.  They get into a fight and Beth leaves, which makes Rob sad, but he’s got bigger problems to deal with; all of a sudden some sort of creature erupts into New York City, rips the head off the Statue of Liberty, and begins destroying Manhattan.  Capturing the action on videotape for future generations, Hudson chronicles the group’s attempts at survival as they search the city for Beth, who they just can’t leave behind.

TJ Miller saves the film with his organic comedy, but even he can’t make up for what is otherwise a one-trick pony.  There’s the monster and the shaky cam, so I guess two-trick, but that’s it, the rest is really bad amateur horror that wouldn’t stand up without its dual props.  And I didn’t even like the camera work; I get that it makes the whole thing authentic but it also made me queasy, so I’d rather a director just make a good film, like 10 Cloverfield Lane for example.  Miller and his friends gallivant around the city avoiding death (or do they) and we see a monster from different angles; I guess I don’t exactly understand how this one movie spawned a franchise.  Hats off for trying something big, I guess it kinda worked, Cloverfield at least made its mark, I just wouldn’t recommend going back to watch it after all this time has passed; it wasn’t built strong enough to last.

My rating: ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – The Red Sea Diving Resort

Category : Movie Review

Director: Gideon Raff

Starring: Chris Evans, Michael Kenneth Williams, Alessandro Nivola

Year: 2019

The Red Sea Diving Resort is about as far from one-of-a-kind as you can possibly get while still holding your head up and professing that you created something anywhere near original.  This is a formula we’ve seen a hundred thousand times, over and over and over again; recently Operation Finale and 7 Days in Entebbe come to mind.  You know the story and the drama as soon as it steps on dry land, and you wave as it swims away back where it came from, glad to know that you’ll see it again rather soon.  What pushes this movie up one step is Chris Evans’ earnest goodwill, a force that it definitely to be reckoned with and that you can feel flowing like life blood through an otherwise very tired (and very average) true-ish story.

In the 1980s, Ethiopian Jews were being killed in incredible numbers as the country warred with itself.  Their Jewish brethren in Israel knew that they needed to help, and Mossad agents were sent deep inside Ethiopia to bring those people in danger to safety, often making journeys of hundreds of miles to safe ports where they could be evacuated.  Ari Levinson, born a Jew, rescued in England, raised in America, sees it as his personal mission to continue to go back, no matter how dangerous, until the last man, woman, and child is saved.  His newest scheme to smuggle humans out of a country that wants them dead; an abandoned diving hotel that makes for the perfect cover story.  He and his team operate the resort like a full-functioning inn, all the while sneaking out at night to shepherd souls across the sea to safety.

Melodrama like this just isn’t good enough to force into a format that facilitates this true story.  It’s too important for this much of a lackadaisical effort, for this throwaway a formula, to be treated like a million movies we’ve seen before and will see again.  The crazy mission, the wacky team, the troubles they encounter, the people they meet along the way; it’s just too much, too done, too easy.  And what’s more, the actors play down to their parts, they don’t elevate their characters, and you start to wonder why you liked these people in other roles: Alessandro Nivola (Disobedience), Michiel Huisman (Guernsey), Ben Kingsley, Greg Kinnear, and don’t forget Haley Bennett, the worst actress to ever grace a screen.  The film is saved by having a heart-breaking true story, and by convincing us that we can make a positive difference in the world.  Also by Chris Evans, who you can tell put his heart into this movie, even if he would have been smarter taking his talents elsewhere.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

 


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Movie Trailer – The Hunt

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Craig Zobel

Starring: Betty Gilpin, Hilary Swank, Emma Roberts, Justin Hartley

Release: September 27th, 2019

Craig Zobel has made three movies: a throwaway comedy when he was just getting started, Compliance, and Z for Zachariah.  Now, Z for Z is spectacular and no one has seen it, which is a mystery to me, because it’s so amazing and has such incredible actors starring in it.  Go see it right now if you haven’t, but I’m not sure I can vouch for the rest of his ideas.  Compliance is about force, corruption, and humiliation, which seems to be the path chosen for The Hunt as well.  I don’t think that’s where I want to walk, especially not with this cast, so I pass.


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Movie Trailer – The Irishman

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Martin Scorsese

Starring: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci

Release: September 27th, 2019

I really just want to type a shocked face emoji.  How are other movies going to compete with this?  It has to be the hands down favorite for Best Picture, and it’s right on Netflix for all to see!  My god.  And man am I looking forward to seeing this team together, and the rest of the cast filling in.  I can hardly wait.


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Movie Review – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Category : Movie Review

Director: Quentin Tarantino

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie

Year: 2019

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood might be Quentin Tarantino’s worst movie and it’s still better than 70% of all other movies ever made.  That’s what we expect from, and what is always delivered by, this genius of the art form; superior films and excellent storytelling.  Even when the product isn’t perfect, we can still easily see the talent behind it, as Tarantino’s is unarguably one of the strongest voices we’ve ever heard in this convoluted industry.  You may not like all the blood, you may not like all the characters, but you can’t deny the power of his pictures, as they land in our laps one by one and demand our attention.  Again, this isn’t even one of his best, it might even be at the bottom of the list, but it still packs a punch, especially at the end, and you still have to see it, especially if you ever want to show your face around a group of cinephiles again.

Imagine visiting Hollywood in 1969 and stepping into the shoes of a fictional, washed-up Western star as he navigates the autumn of his career with his stunt man/best friend and lives next to the rising star and imminent victim Sharon Tate.  Now stop wishing, because Quentin Tarantino will take you there, at least to his vision of there, with pieces of his patented style and elements of alternate history mixed in.  The Western star is Rick Dalton, a once-famous cowboy who can now get no other role than Aging Villain.  His buddy is Cliff Booth, a stunt man who has seen younger days, and whose fate is tied to Rick’s for good or evil.  On the periphery is Sharon Tate, a young actress on a meteoric rise who is married to Roman Polanski, will soon be having a baby, and has her whole life in front of her.  Paths converge and the future is uncertain, as all players face the unpredictable nature of a fickle industry and the unnerving, chaotic nature of mankind.

I’m not going to make a Top Tarantino list, we all have some we prefer over others, but I will say it one more time; Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is in no way one of his best.  He sacrifices his own, weird, wild, often shocking touch to do something a little different, and that’s fine, that’s great, that’s still better than most movies, but it isn’t a film that can stand next to perfection like Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained and claim to be as stunning.  OUATIH is simply an alternate style, and it’s also one that’s mostly boring for two hours, before it succumbs to Tarantino Town late in the story, which both makes the last portion excellent and raises questions as to why the rest of the movie wasn’t as good.  For the majority, we are transported to old Hollywood, left to sit inside the cars, listed to the music, see the clothes, smell the hippies, experience everything the era has to offer.  But we aren’t afforded much else, other than a few cools scenes to showcase DiCaprio and Pitt in their element, acting their asses off, which, honestly, didn’t happen nearly enough over the entire run time.

Counter point to …myself; the lack of excitement throughout lulls audiences to sleep, allowing the excitement at the end to be all the more impacting, which may have been what Tarantino had in mind all along.  The last 15 minutes crushes, is hilarious, is a bit of a twist, and makes you look back on all you’ve just watched and say, “Huh. I guess that was all buildup. And it was kinda fun. Huh.”  So maybe it wasn’t a complete disaster, maybe it was intended, which makes it more interesting in reflection, but still didn’t make those two hours of my life very fulfilling.  Although, how much can you really complain watching this cast do anything: DiCaprio, Pitt, Robbie, Margaret Qualley, Emile Hirsch, Timothy Olyphant, Dakota Fanning, Bruce Dern, Luke Perry, Damian Lewis, Al Pacino, Maya Hawke, Scoot McNairy, Kurt Russell, Michael Madsen.  It was a walk done memory lane as far as actors and plotlines were concerned, and the biggest bonus may have been the feel good ending, which you will not see coming.  Weighing out all the emotions viewers will leave the theatre with, I hold firm that this is a good movie, even a great movie, without quite reaching the standard we’ve come to expect.  It was often self-indulgent, self-congratulatory, over-shot, and showoffish, but there were also many key moments of magic, with a finale that works perfectly, so how much can you really complain?

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Trailer – 1917

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Sam Mendes

Starring: George MacKay, Dean-Charles Chapman, Colin Firth

Benedict Cumberbatch, Richard Madden, Andrew Scott, Mark Strong

Release: December 25th, 2019

This looks incredible, a perfect mix of history and heart that even Christopher Nolan couldn’t get exactly right in Dunkirk.  Combining that film with Journey’s End might give us some idea how 1917 will turn out, and I’m willing to predict “beautifully”.


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Movie Trailer – The Lighthouse

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Robert Eggers

Starring: Robert Pattinson, Willem Dafoe

Release: October 18th, 2019

Robert Pattinson & A24?  I’m in, that’s all you needed to say.


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Movie Trailer – The Nightingale

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Jennifer Kent

Starring: Aisling Franciosi, Baykali Ganambarr, Sam Claflin

Release: August 2nd, 2019

There’s almost too much hype just in this trailer to believe that the film could possibly be excellent, but yet I want to hope.  It looks brutal and sinister, but touching and tender as well, a weird mix of horror and history and heart that could go down really well, if the director and the actors know what they’re doing.  I’ll go in with optimism and cross my fingers that I can come out singing praises.