Month: September 2017

Movie Review – Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Category : Movie Review

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Starring: Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Mark Strong

Year: 2017

I was shocked that I liked the first Kingsman so much, and I still have trouble recommending this movie to friends.  They don’t believe that it’s good, despite its success and its high ratings; they just can’t get past the fact that it shouldn’t have worked, they can’t allow that it did.  I understand, I was surprised myself by how much fun I had simply sitting in the audience, how well the ridiculous story worked when it shouldn’t have been able to be so silly and yet so cool.  Taron Egerton was the secret ingredient we didn’t know movies needed, and the kid has exploded onto our screens since this role, so a ton of the success of the film has to be credited to his talent.  But it wasn’t just him, it wasn’t just the farce element, it wasn’t just the gore.  Kingsman was a well-rounded and well-planned feature, it’s much better than I had expected, and a sequel was inevitable.

So Eggsy is the new Galahad, the Kingsman saved the world, and they stand as Britain’s defense against the darkness that is sure to threaten us again someday, in some form.  Eggsy also has a girlfriend, the Princess of Sweden, so he’s balancing being a badass superspy with meeting the parents, which is exactly as hard as it sounds.  Meanwhile, a drug queen named Poppy, who also happens to be certifiably insane, has a plan to make her business legitimate, taking the entire planet hostage with a strain of recreational drug that cause death, and for which only she has the antidote.  The Kingsman will have to stop her before it’s too late, but they need help from their American counterparts that they didn’t even know existed; the Statesman.  United with these whiskey barons from Kentucky, a formidable force is created, one that might just win the day once again.

Again, and based purely on the smell test, Kingsman shouldn’t be as awesome as it actually is.  The over-the-top fight scenes, the unbelievable antics, the wacky gadgets, the crazy villains; it’s so mad that there can’t possibly be a method.  But, surprise, there is, and it really shouldn’t be that shocking, since Bond and other spy movies have been this ludicrous for years, we just accepted them without question.  What Kingsman does is deliver us the same recipe, boosting the flavor up a notch, and daring us not to find it delicious.  The second installment works just as well as the first, and I think it’s fair to say that they’ve found a niche that audiences didn’t know they needed filled.  As long as the franchise keeps just one toe on the ground, this is something I can see working for a future third film, and perhaps even beyond.

The sequel was never going to be quite as good as the original though, and when held up next to Oscar-contenders, it does make you question the idiocy that you just enjoyed, but that doesn’t mean watching The Golden Circle can’t make for a delightful evening.  Taron Egerton has the ‘it’ factor, Mark Strong is solid, and Colin Firth is back from the dead, which won’t be a shocker since he’s in all the trailers.  The new villain is Julianne Moore, who I liked as the psychopath who wants to control the world.  And here’s the fun celebrity addition; Elton John.  No, really, Sir Elton, he actually has a big part and is wonderful, go figure.  I do think movies are using ‘Country Roads’ too frequently, the Americans really sucked (Channing Tatum, Halle Berry, Pedro Pascal) with the exception of Jeff Bridges, and the movie was simply too long, so it was far from perfect.  But hey, have a good time, blow up some henchmen, destroy a lovely suit, see computer images in your glasses, knock yourself out.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆








Movie Trailer – Isle of Dogs

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Wes Anderson

Starring: Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Bryan Cranston

Release: March 23rd, 2018

It just struck me that ‘Wes Anderson’ is an ill-fitting name for a director like Wes Anderson.  We take it for granted because, well, it’s his name, but it’s the opposite of quirky and it just doesn’t go.  Anyway, what more can I say about Anderson as a director: he’s my fav.  Fantastic Mr. Fox is fun, but it isn’t spectacular, and I wonder if Isle or Dogs is going to follow that path or if it will top it.  I love this trailer, I’m fascinated to watch this film, I just hope the story was made with us in mind and not done simply to be self-gratifying.

Movie Review – Mother!

Category : Movie Review

Director: Darren Aronofsky

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem

Year: 2017

Aronofsky doesn’t fuck around, and so neither should we when we talk about his films.  Pi, Requiem, The Fountain, The Wrestler, Black Swan, Noah, Mother!; this is his filmography, these are some of the most deeply discussed and contested films of the last twenty years, the man is an unapologetic genius whose creations we don’t always understand or appreciate, but who should be someone we admire based on sheer unrelenting artistry in the face of an industry that can’t wait to squash it down.  For my money, Black Swan is his best, and actually I’d go so far as to call it one of the greatest cinematic accomplishments of the past two decades, as near to perfection as you are likely to get.  But he challenged himself with Mother!, a movie that goes far beyond the screen, the theatre, the audience, that pushes us down a  dark and desperate path into which we rarely peak.

A couple, who are living a secluded life by choice, enjoy each other’s company and their lovely house as the universe moves on without them in the chaos that is the outside world.  He is a successful writer/poet who needed to get away from it all to contemplate his next words, to mold his thoughts into the creation of something beautiful.  A fire gutted his family home some time before, destroying all that he had created, and he has been blocked ever since.  His young wife, much younger in fact, is rebuilding the home while he works, painting the rooms, choosing the decorations, carefully planning each detail of their future by listening to the house itself, feeling the color palette before applying the brush.  But their idyllic existence is disturbed when an abrasive couple drops by, a man and a woman who bring noise, disorder, and unwelcome guests.  He wants them to stay, she wants them to go, and no one is prepared for what happens next.

Black Swan, Noah, Get Out, Enemy; those are the four movies that come to mind when I attempt to force Mother! into a box that will at least make it easier to transport, if it still cannot possibly contain it for long.  Black Swan for the visuals, Noah for the biblicals, Get Out for the comedic horror, and Enemy for the complete WTF moments you have multiple times throughout the viewing.  If a combination of those films doesn’t sound like something you’d enjoy, then you need to get as far away as possible from Mother!; it is the caustic cornucopia of many movies, and the willingness to go beyond them.  I saw someone describe it as “bonkers”, and I think that description fits; no one in their right mind would make/watch/enjoy this final product.  But that didn’t stop Aronofsky, and it won’t stop me; I loved every minute of it.

Here’s why, and I’ll start with an example to pave the way.  If you’ve read The Giver, you know that the meaning changes as you age.  When you were a kid, you thought it had a happy ending, when you grew up, you experienced something completely different.  And that’s how it is with Mother!, but with metaphors.  When I realized that the story wasn’t exactly going to make sense, I looked deeper.  At first I saw artistry vs the comfortable, manic vs structured, the battle between the two.  Then I was convinced that we were inside an artist, seeing his visions, watching the world attack him, never leaving him in peace.  By the end, the overarching allusion is plain to see, though I won’t point it out here in case doing so would be a spoiler.  But the metaphor isn’t tricky once you see it, it’s obvious, you just didn’t notice it at first.  Once you do, everything changes, and that’s when the magic happens.  Those looking for a JLaw horror flick will be sorely disappointed, even though she’s pretty great and there are some scary sequences.  That’s just not the point, Aronofsky takes us on a dark ride beyond that genre, weaves a theme that we didn’t see coming, and leaves us with more questions than answers.  You just have to want that result.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆







Movie Trailer – All I See is You

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Marc Forster

Starring: Blake Lively, Jason Clarke

Release: October 27th, 2017

It’s like they watched The Ticket, heard the criticism, and decided to make the same movie, but to alleviated some of the boredom they’d make it into a thriller.  And not just a little thriller, but a hyper-thriller with adultery and mystery and murder and everything we don’t really need.  Forster is a good director, Clarke is a good actor, but putting Lively in the spotlight is a bad idea, and so probably is this film.

Movie Trailer – November Criminals

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Sacha Gervasi

Starring: Ansel Elgort, Chloe Grace Moretz

Release: November 7th, 2017

I’m tired of all these YA novels making their way on screens, dragging themselves along although they were dead before they even started.  I hate to chop down a genre, but these books aren’t actually good, they’re just catchy, and so we shouldn’t be surprised when their film versions can’t cut it.  And really, high schoolers?  Elgort is 23, CGM is 20; they need to grow up and find adult roles if they think that they’re talented enough to earn them.

Sports – NFL Picks 2017, Week 3

Category : Sports

Here are my NFL Week 3 Picks

(12-4 last week, 19-12 for the season)

Bye teams: none


LAR @ SF – It’s early, but so far the 2017 Rams have been fairly impressive.  Not Broncos impressive exactly (had to sneak that in there), but impressive all the same.  They took care of business at home vs the inept Colts, then lost at home vs the Redskins, have looked solid all around, putting up points in a way they couldn’t last season.  Goff has improved, Gurley looks good, the defense has potential, and this team isn’t a pushover in any way.  Now, they’re just 1-1, it’s not like they’re on fire, but expectations were low for this team, and they could be on their way to rising above them.  I had hopes for San Francisco as well, although I knew perhaps it was too early to hope for much.  They’re in the middle of turning the franchise around, they’ve got a lot of work to do, and I think they hired the right guys to do it, it’ll just take some time.  But you can’t give them too much slack, the offense should at least be able to score some points, and so far they’ve got 12 after two games.  That’s pitiful, there’s no other way to say it, and I’m going to have to see much more from San Fran before I pick them to win a game again.


Bal @ Jax – I happen to think that the Ravens are for real, despite the fact that their competition level so far this season has been absolutely horrid.  They got the Bengals and then the Browns; not exactly scary.  But the point is that they handled their work, they did they job, they completely dominated lesser teams, exactly the way they should.  This at least shows that Baltimore is a team that is taking this season seriously, and although we haven’t seen much yet, I think we can count on them to be in the think of things come playoff time.  So far, in two games, their defense has allowed 10 points total.  They run the ball, they kick FGs when they need to, they shut down the other team’s offense; sounds like a winning strategy to me.  This game, I should mention, is being played in London, where Jacksonville is used to competing, so you can look at it as an away game for both teams, or you can say that the Jaguars have the edge, but either way, I’m not sure it matters.  Jax has been OK so far this year, they haven’t embarrassed themselves, but I don’t think they’re up to Baltimore’s level.


Cle @ Ind – Oof, this is going to be some bad football.  The Browns are starting a rookie quarterback, are winless, and it’s starting to seem like they haven’t been good since 1962.  I don’t know what more can be said about how terribly pathetic they are, like a lost puppy trying to cross the same street every day of its life.  Cleveland just can’t turn it around, and it’s almost time for someone to forcibly do it for them.  Lend me the organization for a year, I’ll change the uniforms, actually draft some good players, and you can thank me when I hand it back with box seats at the stadium.  This season anyway, the Colts aren’t any better, as each year they put all their eggs in their quarterback’s basket with none left for the rest of the team.  Luck goes down and it’s like no one else in the locker room or front offices has ever heard about football before.  Now, they did make a good move in going with Brissett over Tolzien, that was a no-brainer, so maybe they have a chance to move the ball behind the new guy.  But Luck can’t get back soon enough, and until he does this squad is as sad as the Brownies, which is saying something.


NYG @ Phi – Geez, I hate to go on like this, but here’s another terrible team in the Giants, the only difference being that we did not see this coming.  Something is definitely wrong in the Big Apple, as the GMen have completely turned around for the worse, looking nothing like what I and many others predicted.  They should have one of the best defenses in the league, they should have one of the best receiving corps in the league, they should have one of the best QBs in the league: where the heck did they go?!  Odell has been hurt, Marshall can’t catch, Eli is running scared, the ground game isn’t working like it was supposed to, the defense can only do so much with their offense never on the field; it’s a complete disaster.  NY has only scored 13 total points in two weeks, and I’m getting tired of thinking that they can turn it all around.  I’ll hold out hope, but I won’t pick them to win here, as the Eagles go to Philly for their home opener and should walk away with a win.  They played the Chiefs hard, and there’s no shame in losing in KC, so count on them for a good performance here, where they’ll move to 2-1 and keep the NFC East lead.


Mia @ NYJ – Cutler returns with a flourish, and the Dolphins win their first game of the season.  On the road, new QB, a bye Week 1 for the hurricane, an away game in San Diego; that’s a pretty impressive win, and Cutler deserves a lot of credit.  Now, how far this team will actually go is anyone’s guess, but perhaps they didn’t take that much of a step back from last year when they were forced to make the switch at quarterback, and perhaps they’re in the playoff conversation in a few months when the time is at hand.  Let’s see how they do in their second game, another road contest, vs a team we can expect them to beat.  The Jets, like the Colts, completely collapse when you remove a talented QB from the equation.  McCown isn’t the answer, obviously, and this team will continue to lose all season long.  What they need to do is too complicated to accomplish in one year, even two, and so it’ll take some time before this franchise is back on track and winning games.  They do get to play at home for the first time this season, they do have an extra game under their belts, but I still think they lose to the JayJay combination of Miami.


Den @ Buf – I hope the Broncos play all season with a sense of disrespect, because that sure can be helpful, and they sure are entitled to feeling that way.  Everyone and their brother thought the Broncos would lose to the Cowboys, despite playing in the rarefied air of the Mile High City.  Not many people saw what I saw in that game vs the Chargers; a dominant performance that was overshadowed by a blown call & a fluky play that led to an INT and then to a closer game that it should have been.  Denver creamed San Diego, the score just didn’t indicate that, and then they creamed Dallas even more, the score helping to tell the story this time.  That they aren’t seen as an elite team right now is insulting, and should push them to be even better/angrier/more determined.  Now, I say all that knowing that if they lose to Buffalo I and they will both look pretty foolish, but I have to say it because it’s true, I can’t worry about what might happen.  I’m confident that the Broncos can take care of business on the road vs a far inferior team, I just hope my boys are thinking the same thing.


NO @ Car – It’s ridiculous, but the Saints always start out 0-2 or 0-3, that’s just how they do things.  As Brees ages, you feel more & more concerned that he won’t be able to turn things around before it gets out of hand, but I’m not giving up hope in New Orleans yet, their offense is too good to be held down for long.  Eventually, Thomas & Ingram will start scoring TDs, the team just needs to get in a groove first, snap out of this funk that they’ve started with.  I don’t know what it will take to make that happen, but maybe a third loss to a division opponent and the realization that the season is slipping away far too fast will do it.  The Panthers are in their own doldrums, but again, you have to assume that they’ll pick up their feet sooner rather than later.  As bad as they’re playing, especially the offense, Carolina is currently undefeated, which is nothing to sneeze at.  It’s their defense that’s holding their heads above water right now, holding opponents to an average of 3 points a game.  Wow, and the offense will match that intensity at some point, as soon as Cam knocks off the rust and realizes that this team is pretty great.


Pit @ Chi – The Steelers are putting in the work right now, plain and simple.  Like their namesake, they are down in the suck gritting it out, not looking like the flashiest team, but fighting every game.  First Cleveland then Minnesota; these aren’t pushover defenses, and it’s not easy to put up points in any game in this league.  The Steelers just seem determined to beat you, no matter how they have to do it, and that’s gotta be frightening to other squads, that kind of resolve to win.  I’ve always liked Big Ben, I think he’s great, and I think we can count on him to lead Pittsburgh deep into the playoffs at least one more year.  The Bears aren’t going anywhere any time soon, so count them out now so that you don’t have to worry about them in December.  Glennon or Trubisky; I don’t really think it matters, this team took a nose-dive down the standings a long time ago and they aren’t anywhere near climbing back up.  Really, since Urlacher, Chicago has been sad, and how it takes so long to turn that around is beyond me.  They’ll lose this game, they’ll probably lose a dozen more, and they won’t be relative for some time to come.


Atl @ Det – Battle of two NFC unbeatens, and it should be one hell of a game to watch.  The Falcons took care of the Packers at home last week, in a statement win.  They are dangerous still, and we all know that they should have won the Super Bowl last year.  Really, all they had to do was run the ball instead of calling the play that got Matt Ryan sacked, and they would have won the game.  It’s that simple, and how an NFL coach and an NFL player could make that mistake is beyond me.  I still think the dreaded Hangover might hurt them eventually, but so far they are proving me wrong.  The Lions are demanding attention as well, beating the Cardinals and the Giants, teams that were supposed to be among the best in the NFC.  That they don’t look wonderful doesn’t reflect badly on Detroit; they took care of business the way they should.  Stafford is playing well, the only other QB to throw 6 TDs in the first two weeks of the season is Siemian of the Broncos, so things are off to a good start.  If the defense can hold their own, this is a team that can win a lot of games, including this one at home vs a tough opponent.


TB @ Min – Tampa starts off the season with an easy win, heralding good things to come for this young team.  The offense could be great, the defense could shut you down, and the Bucs could be playoff-caliber.  They won at home vs the Bears, so it’s not a complete test, this week will go a lot farther in showing just what they can do.  I trust them to win games though, with Winston throwing to Evans, with a strong homefield advantage, we just need to see if they can win the hard ones as well as the easy ones, and here’s Week 3 to answer the question.  The Vikings were beat up last week vs the Steelers in part because Sam Bradford had a surprising knee injury.  I mean, it’s not that surprising, we just didn’t know about it this time, but as I’ve always said, Bradford will collapse at some point, either physically or in his play, it’s just a matter of time.  Keenum looked terrible, of course, and whether or not Bradford comes back this week, I think the team needs Bridgewater to return if they’re to have a legitimate chance at the division.  I don’t like this team, despite their defense, until they get rid of Bradford; his isn’t a winner.


Hou @ NE – This game looks good on paper, but it might be a complete blowout.  Houston won last week in Cincinnati, making it look pretty easy, but that’s Andy Dalton, he’s not very scary.  He’s probably about as good as Savage or as Watson, so no matter who the Texans threw out there, they had to know that they had a pretty good chance of winning the game, despite their own offensive inadequacies.  The Texans only score 10 points per game, so any offense that can beat that should be able to beat them, even though their defense is solid.  It’s just not solid enough to make up for such a bad offense, and I’m not sure how long it will take Watson to really come into his own.  Too long I guess, since the Patriots are now on the schedule.  New England bounced back in a big way last week, which was perfectly expected, we all knew they would do exactly that.  They took their frustration out on the Saints, and they proved that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this team.  Another win would solidify that idea, and I think the Pats will get it with relative ease, assuming that Brady stays off the turf.


Sea @ Ten – Here’s a sneaky good game, two of the better defenses in football squaring off and counting on their offenses to show up as well.  Seattle has been pathetic on offense, scoring one TD through two games.  They can’t run, they can’t block, and all they can do is hope that Wilson can escape the pocket, that the defense can hold that side of the ball down while the offense gets a couple of field goals.  I don’t think that formula will last long, so they had better find a way to score, and quick.  Neither of these teams wants to drop to 1-2, so look for a desperate fight, but I think Tennessee comes out on top.  They found their scoring game last week, after an embarrassing home loss Week 1 to the Raiders.  I think they’ll defend their turf this time out, and I think maybe they’ll be able to score some points.  Maybe not many, it’s the Seahawks after all, but this run game is solid, and it could be the difference in this matchup.  Seattle is completely confused as to what it should do with its running backs, but the Titans have no such problem.  They’ll pound the ball, will play well before their fans, and will walk away with a victory.


Cin @ GB – Oh gosh, this might be a slaughter.  The Bungles are earning that nickname this season, starting 0-2, failing to score a touchdown, firing their OC, and only scoring 9 total points on the season.  The defense is OK, but not when kept on the field as long as they have been, and not when the offense completely drops the proverbial ball.  Dalton looks worse than ever, the new speedsters aren’t speeding, no one seems to know what they’re doing, and I’d be delighted if they would finally fire Marvin Lewis, something that’s needed to happen for over 5 years.  The Packers should completely annihilate the Bengals, and I’m not sure I can watch, as the guy I’m playing in fantasy has Aaron Rodgers and my security blanket, Jordy Nelson, is hurt.  ARod might be insane this week, especially after being frustrated by the Falcons on Sunday Night in Week 2.  That was embarrassing, and it’s not a product that GB shows to its home crowd.  In Lambeau, the Pack are hard to beat, and I can’t possibly see them dropping this game; not to this team, and not after a loss.  This one might end up 6-36.


KC @ LAC – The AFC West is a meat grinder, every team undefeated except for the Chargers, who are winless.  The Chiefs, the Raiders, the Broncos; I wouldn’t want to play any of these teams right now, not the way they’re dominating, and poor LA has to play them each TWICE.  The Chiefs are on a roll, and they look even tougher than last year when they should have gone deeper into the playoffs.  Hunt is the real deal, he’s running wild, and Andy Reid looks like a genius.  But the deal with him is that he doesn’t know how to coach a Super Bowl caliber team, they’re always good but not great.  Is this the year that it finally comes together?  I don’t know, I picked the Pats to win the SB and I’m not changing that any time soon, but KC has potential.  The Chargers don’t, they find new ways to shoot themselves in the foot every single week, and I wouldn’t count on them to find a way to win more than 4 or 5 games all year.  That said, you hate to go to a division opponent’s backyard, that always seems to backfire, so the Chiefs better be cautious, I just think they’ll still find a way to win.


Oak @ Was – Sunday Night football, with another AFC West juggernaut going on the road.  The Broncos to Buffalo, the Chiefs to LA, the Raiders to Washington; will they all escape undefeated?  That would be something, and they all SHOULD because they’re the better team, but it’s hard to deny that homefield advantage has its perks.  Oakland seems immune to that though, they can go anywhere and do anything, regardless of who they play.  It’s something in their genetics, they just scrap through the problem and laugh at you while they’re doing it.  The Raiders are a wild card, always have been, and I like that they’re finally strong enough to be a real threat.  Washington will give them a run for their money though, and they’ll look to defend their house.  The Redskins won last week, they’re an OK team, they won’t be making a big impact on the NFC this season, but they’re good enough to be concerned with.  You can assume that the Raiders know that the Redskins aren’t pushovers, will prepare, and will come out playing their best ball.  We could see a close game, one that comes down to the wire and is really fun to watch.


Dal @ Ari – The Cowboys were destroyed by my Broncos last week, and that bitter taste could not have been fun.  They were exposed, and sometimes when a blueprint gets out there, it’s hard to overcome other teams’ knowledge of how to beat you, to find other ways to win.  Dallas will slump this year, that was always my prediction, and now that will be even harder to stop from happening.  All you have to do it stop Zeke, make Dak throw, frustrate this squad by out-balling them on every snap.  Sounds hard, is hard, but Denver did it, and I have a feeling that Arizona can do it too.  They didn’t look half bad vs Detroit, but lost.  They struggled vs Indy, but won.  So it’s hard to say what kind of team these Cardinals are, whether they can return to their strength of these past few seasons.  Palmer is getting old, Johnson being out hurts, but this defense is pretty solid, and I wouldn’t rule them out of posing a big threat to Dak & Co.  If they can stuff up the line, they can get to the QB, they can win this game, and then the Cowboys go to 1-2 and we all start asking tough questions.  We’ll see, should be a nice Monday Night in the desert.


Fantasy Players To Watch – presented by The Fantasy Footballers


for the best fantasy football rankings each week.


QBs – Jared Goff vs the 49ers.  Jay Cutler vs the Jets.  Trevor Siemian vs the Bills.  Ben Roethlisberger vs the Bears.  Matthew Stafford vs the Falcons.  Aaron Rodgers vs the Bengals.  Kirk Cousins vs the Raiders.  Carson Palmer vs the Cowboys.

RBs – Todd Gurley vs the 49ers.  Jay Ajayi vs the Jets.  Mark Ingram vs the Panthers.  LeVeon Bell vs the Bears.  DeVontae Freeman vs the Lions.  Mike Gillislee vs the Texans.  DeMarco Murray vs the Seahawks.  Kareem Hunt vs the Chargers.  Marshawn Lynch vs the Redskins.

WRs – Alshon Jeffrey vs the Giants.  Travis Benjamin vs the Saints.  Antonio Brown vs the Bears.  Marvin Jones vs the Falcons.  Mike Evans vs the Vikings.  Devonte Adams vs the Bengals.  Amari Cooper vs the Redskins.  J.J. Nelson vs the Cowboys.

TEs – Julius Thomas vs the Jets.  Coby Fleener vs the Panthers.  O.J. Howard vs the Vikings.  Rob Gronkowski vs the Texans.  Delanie Walker vs the Seahawks.  Martellus Bennett vs the Bengals.  Travis Kelce vs the Chargers.

Ks – Justin Tucker vs the Jaguars.  Brandon McManus vs the Bills.  Will Lutz vs the Panthers.  Matt Bryant vs the Lions.  Stephen Gostkowski vs the Texans.  Mason Crosby vs the Bengals.  Dan Bailey vs the Cardinals.

DEFs – LAR vs the 49ers.  Philadelphia vs the Giants.  Pittsburgh vs the Bears.  New England vs the Texans.  Green Bay vs the Bengals.






Movie Trailer – Tomb Raider

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Roar Uthaug

Starring: Alicia Vikander, Daniel Wu, Walton Goggins

Release: March 16th, 2018

Uthaug’s last movie was The Wave; he’s more than capable of making this story sing.  Vikander’s last movie is irrelevant; she’s amazing in every single thing she touches.  I can’t think of a better Lara Croft, and I think they’ll do the game justice.  My only fear is that they go a Tarzan route, and that film sucked, so they are better served swerving away from it by miles.

DVD Review – Diamond Cartel

Category : DVD Review

Director: Salamat Mukhammed-Ali

Starring: Karlygash Mukhamedzhanova, Armand Assante

Year: 2017

Diamond Cartel is what you would get if you combined Sharknado with The Expendables and set it in Kazakhstan.  I’m not kidding, it’s that horrible of a concept, and how anyone in their right mind could want to turn it into an actual movie is beyond me.  The director is Kazakh, this is his second attempt at a feature film, and his first also writing and producing the flick.  It’s safe to say that he might not know exactly what he’s doing, although the same can surely be said about the minds behind the worst cinema in history, and that might not always be accurate.  Regardless, this is 100 minutes of pure torture to anyone with taste, a complete waste of footage that should have been scrapped the moment it was imagined.

The Movie

Ultra-rich casino owner and diamond enthusiast Mussa just purchased a giant stone for 30 million dollars, the transaction just needing to officially take place.  But you know how these deals between criminal overlords go; someone always ends up hurt.  And this meeting is no exception, as tensions are high when the items are brought to trade, and as each side comes heavily armed and not so mentally stable.  However, it’s a third party who breaks up the high-priced deal, taking the diamond and the money after killing everyone involved in the brokerage.  Who is this band of masked men and sexy, machine gun-wielding ladies?  We are about to find out, but the story isn’t a simple one.

Aliya, a former employee of Mussa, has been plotting against him for a long time, waiting to seek her revenge for a slight that can’t be forgiven.  Also, she has two lovers who she’s using toward her own ends, a big bad mob boss who never lets anything stand in his way and a young romantic who will always wait for Aliya to find him again.  She teams up with various underground personas, steals the treasure, and makes off with it, a ton of crooks hot on her trail.  But what’s her ultimate goal and who does she really love; these are the questions that will haunt the plot as we journey across Asia with stolen goods and evil assassins, hoping that the end will finally bring some peace.

I’ll give the filmmaker one bit of credit; this is a twisted, twisty story that you haven’t seen before, a cast of crazy characters that you’d never want to meet.  Problem is, there was absolutely no reason to turn this idea into an actual movie, and absolutely no talent to help pull off the feat.  The plot makes no sense whatsoever, the characters don’t do anything resembling normal human activity, and by the end I had no clue what was going to happen, not because I was tricked, but because it seemed like the facts were being created on the spot.  This was less a movie and more a spectacle, a chance to blow things up and cut off limbs, but without an actual reason for doing so.

And I have to say, when they did try something gross like stabbing someone through the mouth or something big like blowing up an SUV, it looked so dumb that you would laugh if it weren’t also so pathetic.  That’s how it reminded me of Sharknado; it went full circle past b-movie, back around to actual movie, but forgot to do any of things that would make it watchable.  The last straw was the cameos, which made no sense and were simply insulting to both the actors and to the audience.  Armand Asanta, Michael Madsen, Peter O’Toole, and the guy who fought Jean Claude in Bloodsport; excuse me, why?  Nothing about this film was credible or even plausible, and not even silly enough to warrant any sort of fun on our part.


Video – With an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and no other video details available, the picture quality weighs in as perhaps the best thing about the film.  The visuals were fine, the color was saturated, and there was an attempt at some artistic detail.  The problem was, the CGI explosions and blood were so horrible, you almost wished you couldn’t see them as clearly as you could.

Audio – No audio information is available, and the sound quality of the film confused me from start to finish.  It seemed dubbed, with dialogue lagging behind mouth movement in a way that felt like the movie’s natural audio wasn’t what we were hearing.  But I definitely recognized some actors’ voices, though it sounded like it wasn’t coming from their live performances, so it was very strange.  Perhaps the film was dubbed after the fact for an unknown reason, or perhaps only the non-English speakers were covered over, and then sound effects added in after the fact.  Also, there was a good 10 minutes where I heard an echo that I believed was placed there on purpose, for some insane reason.

Extras – The special features on the disc are a Music Video featuring DMX & Blackburner, a Slide Show, and a Trailer.

Final Thoughts

Skip It.  I wouldn’t recommend this movie to my sworn enemy.  It’s one of the worst films I have ever seem, top to bottom, and I can’t imagine every individual involved not being completely embarrassed by what they just worked on.  A paycheck is a paycheck, but who put up the money for this story to be put on camera, what sadistic mind wanted to torture us like that?  It’s over-the-top, it’s nonsensical, it’s foolish, it’s scattered; I have rarely watched anything that was as unbelievably bad as this movie.  The video was alright, the sound was entirely off, there aren’t any great extras, so don’t imagine that the technical aspects will save the day.  Really, I did you a service by watching this so you don’t have to.

☆ – Content

☆ ☆ – Video

☆ – Audio

☆ ☆ – Extras

☆ – Replay








Movie Review – Berlin Syndrome

Category : Movie Review

Director: Cate Shorland

Starring: Teresa Palmer, Max Riemelt

Year: 2017

I just wrote a review in which I ranted about British people being forced to do American accents in Hollywood movies, because apparently we want English stars but we want them to play down-home characters.  I get it, we’re pulling from the pool beyond the pond, but we want them to slide into Yankee screenplays, it makes sense.  But the problem is, these actors are thinking about speaking the entire time, they aren’t throwing themselves into their roles like they need to in order to be successful.  It’s something that bothers me, and I’m overjoyed every time a Brit/Scot/Aussie is allowed to be themselves on camera.  You really see their true talent, and Teresa Palmer’s performance in Berlin Syndrome is a prime example.

Young tourist Clare finds herself in Berlin, on a mission to, well, find herself.  She’s from Australia, has never really been on an adventure, has a talent for photography, but wants to experience life a little before she settles down in a career.  So she travels, and here she is in a city she knows very little about.  She rents a room, meets some locals, walks the streets, takes pictures, and actually runs into a very handsome stranger, a German man named Andi who seems both eccentric and romantic.  The two begin a quick, fiery love affair, proclaiming deep feelings in bed like only youth can procure.  But one morning when Clare wakes up, she finds that she can’t leave.  The doors are locked, the windows are re-enforced, and Andi isn’t being quite so nice.

This film is a thriller done well, a genre flick that avoids the pitfalls that have trapped so many others, deftly maneuvering them on its way to high quality.  There’s a somber mood and fierce anger being played in turns from beginning to end, and it almost wears you out like it was happening personally.  You hate Clare’s captor so much, but the director holds back from making him into a mindless demon; your distaste comes from a much deeper place.  And Teresa Palmer really does show off her best work here, being vulnerable when it’s needed, and strong when the time is right.  She’s allowed to be Australian, so she can completely focus on her acting, which is really top notch.  Max Riemelt delivers as well, and the pair of them feed off each other extremely well.  This is an upsetting drama, that’s for sure, but if you can watch it from a slight (mental) distance, the story will suck you in.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆



Movie Review – Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Category : Movie Review

Director: Tim Burton

Starring: Asa Butterfield, Eva Green, Ella Purnell

Year: 2016

May I live a thousand years and never hunt again!  If that oath is good enough for Prince Humperdinck, it’s good enough for me, and I likewise swear a solemn vow that I may immediately revoke to never watch an Asa Butterfield movie again, at least one where he’s forced to be American.  Really, I say this all the time, if you are the one person who reads this review and has read some of my others, you’ll know that I HATE when British actors are asked to drop their accent.  It’s such a little thing, but focusing so much on your voice takes so much away from your craft, and it shows.  Idris Elba, Naomi Watts; they lose everything when you take them out of their native dialect, when you force them to be somebody else pretending to be somebody else.  Asa Butterfield may be the worst, and I don’t support putting this gifted kid in terrible situations in which he comes across as a talentless assclown.

Jake is a regular young man, has a job, lives in Florida, isn’t happy, goes to a therapist, can’t get close to his dad, you know the story.  The only interesting thing about his life is his grandpa, an eccentric old man who left Nazi Germany as a child, and lived in a home for children in Wales to be safe.  But the way he tells it, the children there were special, were powerful, were Peculiar, and he lived among them for years.  When he is killed by a mysterious force, Jake begins to wonder if his fanciful tales were true, and so travels with his father to an island in search of Miss Pergrine’s Home.  But what he finds there goes beyond his wildest dreams, and he must protect the children with a strength he never even knew he had.

Miss Peregrine’s is horrendous from top to bottom, a complete embarrassment to the legend that is Tim Burton.  First, Butterfield is great in A Brilliant Young Mind, but don’t make him be American, because he just can’t do it.  Next, the adults they sent to support him were crappy beyond description, although they are obviously a talented bunch in a vacuum: Eva Green, Judy Dench, Samuel L. Jackson, Allison Janney, Rupert Everett.  But Burton didn’t give them anything to work with; a plot full of holes, a story that was basically stupid, characters that barely had time to be assimilated, and a rushed feeling like everyone just got their scripts, were sent to a sound stage, and told to be weird.  It was a complete collapse, one of the worst movies I’ve seen in recent years, at least when it comes to movies that were supposed to be good and have some talent behind them.  It’s one of those times that I’m absolutely flabbergasted, and can’t believe that anyone could watch this film and have a good time.

My rating: ☆