Month: September 2022

Sports – NFL Picks 2022, Week 4

Category : Sports

Here are my NFL Week 4 Picks

(9-7 last week, 28-20 for the season)

Bye teams: none

 

Mia @ Cin

Min @ NO

Cle @ Atl

Buf @ Bal

Was @ Dal

Sea @ Det

LAC @ Hou

Ten @ Ind

Chi @ NYG

Jax @ Phi

NYJ @ Pit

Ari @ Car

NE @ GB

Den @ LV

KC @ TB

LAR @ SF


Movie Review – Moonfall

Category : Movie Review

Director: Roland Emmerich

Starring: Patrick Wilson, John Bradley, Halle Berry

Year: 2022

You know what you’re getting when you sit down in front of a Roland Emmerich movie, so you’ve got no one to blame when it turns out to be an epic disaster.  Well, sometimes it’s not, sometimes it’s fun, maybe *while* being an epic disaster, but still a fun time.  Moonfall lands in the bad category though, one of those films that’s such an embarrassment to watch you can’t imagine what it must be like to have been a part of making it.

So the Moon has gone out of orbit, which spells big trouble for all of us down here on Earth.  The Moon is coming closer and closer, until disasters wreak havoc on every continent, the oceans rise up, and even gravity isn’t what it once was.  Disgraced astronaut Brian Harper, his old partner Jocinda Fowler, and crackpot conspiracy theorist KC Houseman will travel into space to find out what, or *who*, is messing with the Moon, and hopefully fix it before our entire planet dies.

So, I would have been OK with a ridiculous disaster movie, those are fun.  We’ve seen them before from Emmerich, he knows how to have a good time, that’s not the problem at all.  Give me space and danger and cheese and aliens and adventure, I’ll eat it up, it’s all in good fun.  But what I don’t like, and what I was shocked by, were the story lines back on Earth; anyone who had anything to do with the plot or the characters or the acting as it relates to the story down home while the heroes were in space should be ashamed & fired.  I can’t begin to explain how bad Charlie Plummer, Michael Pena, & Co. were, how stupid that story was, and how it ruined anything entertaining that the rest of the film might have had to offer.  But, really, all the acting was bad, the three mains were hideous, this movie is complete trash, and may god have mercy on our souls.

My rating: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

 


Book Review – Nothing to See Here

Category : Book Review

Author: Kevin Wilson

Year: 2019

I don’t read much modern fiction (except Stephen King), but my wife made* me read Nothing to See Here, and I guess I don’t hold it against her.  It is an interesting book with something to say, but, unfortunately, that takes up about two chapters and the rest is just filler.  Nothing new under the sun, right?  It’s all been done before, so even if you think of something slightly new, a point to make that hasn’t been brought up before or in a while, that’ll only take you so far before you run into well-trod paths and forget what it is you were trying to say.

A young girl, whose life has gotten completely off track, hears from an old school friend about a job opportunity and thinks, why the hell not.  The pair were roommates together at a prep school, but went their separate ways when one took the fall for the other in an expulsion incident, which tore them completely asunder.  Now, when help is needed, they are pulled back together, but for a very strange reason; someone discrete has to watch a future-President’s kids because they are very different and may cause problems.   Well, specifically, they catch on fire when they get upset, and that’s not good for anyone.

It’s a unique premise with a simple explanation, and the characters in the book treat it as moderately normal, which only helps solidify the metaphor of the unwanted, the troublesome, the different, the difficult, and the untimely.  The point is made early and the main character is extremely likeable because she is so flawed, and that’s where the book gets it right.  Where is gets it wrong is its lack of other ideas, especially for such a short novel; it should never feel inflated with the unnecessary.  Keep it simple, stupid, right?  A short story might have been better, a second path or point may have been needed, because Nothing to See Here is good, and it’s oft-read, but that doesn’t make it needed.

My rating:  ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

 


Movie Review – Dawn of the Dead

Category : Movie Review

Director: Zack Snyder

Starring: Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, Jake Weber

Year: 2004

One of the best zombie movies of the past 25 years, Dawn of the Dead is a classic throwback and a modern gore fest, a real breath of fresh air in an otherwise stale genre.  Zack Snyder is a polarizing director, he’s had his ups & downs, and will always have his fans & haters, but he kept this film simple & relatively clean, leading to something that worked perhaps even surprisingly well.  No zombie flick is a movie made for everyone, but maybe this one is as close as you can get to a crowd-pleaser and a real nice gem.

In a Midwest town, an outbreak of the undead turns every human against one another, as flesh-eaters roam the streets and the temporarily alive flee for what’s left of their time remaining.  A small group gather in the relative safety of a multi-floor shopping mall, taking refuge high up and barred away, where there are plenty of supplies and places to bed down.  Among them are a nurse and a police officer, who try to fight for order within the tiny society but are buffeted by three security guards who think they run the show.  Danger within, death outside; life just got almost impossible.

Dawn of the Dead works for a lot of reasons; it has a classic feel, it has modern blood, it’s mostly set in one location, it has personable actors, and it’s, at its core, about people.  All these things and more combine to make a cool genre flick but also a pretty good film, one about how humans react to bad situations and to one another, while also being about just shooting zombie brains.  It could have gone deeper, it should have done that at the same time as being sexier and even more gritty, but hey, this was Snyder’s first feature, it took him some time to get things right, and he still doesn’t always.  But we are lucky to have such a nice piece of horror entertainment, even one that’s not perfect.

My rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

 


Sports – NFL Picks 2022, Week 3

Category : Sports

Here are my NFL Week 3 Picks

(10-6 last week, 19-13 for the season)

Bye teams: none

 

Pit @ Cle

NO @ Car

Hou @ Chi

KC @ Ind

Buf @ Mia

Det @ Min

Bal @ NE

Cin @ NYJ

LV @ Ten

Phi @ Was

Jax @ LAC

LAR @ Ari

Atl @ Sea

GB @ TB

SF @ Den

Dal @ NYG

 


Sports – NFL Picks 2022, Week 2

Category : Sports

Here are my NFL Week 2 Picks

(9-7 last week, 9-7 for the season)

Bye teams: none

 

LAC @ KC

Mia @ Bal

NYJ @ Cle

Was @ Det

Ind @ Jax

TB @ NO

Car @ NYG

NE @ Pit

Atl @ LAR

Sea @ SF

Cin @ Dal

Hou @ Den

Ari @ LV

Chi @ GB

Ten @ Buf

Min @ Phi


Movie Review – Jurassic World Dominion

Category : Movie Review

Director: Colin Trevorrow

Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Isabella Sermon

Year: 2022

After the nice nostalgia that was Jurassic World and the utter idiocy that was Fallen Kingdom, I guess we should have expected Dominion to be a combination of the two, a cool walk down memory lane amid some of the dumbest choices any characters & filmmakers have ever made.  Saved only by the return of a beloved trio (and I don’t mean Chris Pratt), this film is about as bad as you can get, a complete abomination much like basically ever movie in the franchise other than the original.  They should have known better & been less greedy and simply stopped when the peaked, which was in 1993.

Dinosaurs are now among us, and we’ve got to learn to live with that.  A giant tech company is attempting to make a refuge for the dinos, to study them, and to use their genes to further the advances of medical science.  Sounds good on the surface, but the crazy owner of the company is more a super villain than he is a super hero, and he’ll stop at nothing to get what he wants.  Meanwhile, Owen & Claire are protecting a clone girl whose DNA might hold some weird secrets, so they need to keep her from being eaten by dinosaurs and killed by tech billionaires, all while meeting the famous Grant, Sattler, and Malcolm.  It’s wild, it’s wonky, people will be eaten, but hey, it’s the new normal apparently.

So dumb, and with so little wiggle room for forgiveness.  The old guys coming back and being fun is really the only palatable part of the film; the rest is complete shit.  I thought Fallen Kingdom was terrible, and it was, dumb beyond degree, but Dominion might be worse, more ridiculous and more unhinged.  It at least has the saving grace of nostalgia, but that’s really it.  Otherwise, it’s all over the place, overly action-packed, the characters are awful, and there are literally times when the procedure of events makes no goddam sense.  This is one of the worst of the year, and you can go further; this franchise, going back to Lost World, is among the most hideous series we’ve ever had the misfortune to have thrust upon us.  Please never make another one, I beg you.

My rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

 


Movie Review – Where the Truth Lies

Category : Movie Review

Director: Atom Egoyan

Starring: Alison Lohman, Kevin Bacon, Colin Firth, Rachel Blanchard

Year: 2005

Noir is a tricky genre at the best of times, and seldom works the way that directors think it will in their minds.  Very few can get it just right, can do it in a way that’s not cheesy and stupid and completely out of date & touch.  I regret to inform you that Atom Egoyan is not one of these magical filmmakers who can bend the style to his will; on the contrary, this movie ate him up.  It’s a nonsensical emotional roller coaster from start to finish, with “twists” & turns and sex & murder galore, but without any real substance at all.  Where the Truth Lies is a film better left dead.

As a child with polio, Karen met two giant entertainment stars in the duo of Lanny & Vince, a pair of men who complimented each other perfectly and who America loved.  Now grown, she is set to write the definitive work on their legendary career, but she can’t help focus on one troubling detail; a girl named Maureen who turned up dead in their joint hotel room in New Jersey, and whose mystery was never solved.  Delving deep into their sordid affairs and uncovering secrets that all thought were buried, Karen gets too close to the duo, so close that she might be in danger herself.

On the surface, and out of the gate, this movie might seem pretty cool.  Telethon personalities, big stars, super famous, they split up, down the road we meet them again, and we dive into the story of how a girl ended up dead in their room, with no one telling the truth about any of the events leading up to her demise.  You’d think it would be sexy & fun & mysterious, but you’d be wrong; the life seems to have been sucked out of this film, until all that’s left is a neo noir shell that was destined to crack & shatter.  The problem is mainly Lohman, who isn’t in the acting business any more, and there’s a reason for that; she’s absolutely horrendous.  Bacon & Firth do their best, but they are stuck in a stupid plot with terrible lines and mangled mystery, with voice overs that will drive you insane with their inane idiocy.  The end is bad, the middle is muddled, the lead can’t act; not great ingredients when you’re trying to pull off a very tricky genre anyway, one that the director simply wasn’t talented enough to handle and shouldn’t have been allowed to serve to us.

My rating: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

 


Movie Review – This is 40

Category : Movie Review

Director: Judd Apatow

Starring: Leslie Mann, Paul Rudd

Year: 2012

I thought it would be a good time to watch This Is 40, ten years after it’s release, when I’m approaching the big 4-0 myself, and life sometimes really does seem like a whirlwind that should be captured in a film for all to see.  Well, maybe I didn’t quite wait long enough, or maybe This Is 40 just isn’t a very good movie.  It’s not believable, not realistic, not what most of us are going through, and doesn’t capture the true humor/despair of getting older and knowing there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it.

It’s been about 15 years since Pete & Debbie married & started a family, they’re both about to turn 40, and life isn’t exactly as full of wonder & beauty as perhaps they had imagined it.  Pete owns a tiny record label that is falling apart, Debbie runs a store that’s being stolen from, their teenage daughter is a nightmare, their finances are collapsing, and their love life just isn’t what it was.  Is this what growing up has become, one problem after another, with no end in sight, or does it get better on the other side of the hill?

This movie doesn’t hit correctly, it’s that simple.  I’m not sure if it’s tone deaf because it’s about a wealthy-ish couple who can cater parties with tents and own two businesses, or if it’s simply not accurate enough to what actual married folk go through on a day-to-day basis.  Apatow is often genius, always hilarious, but he gets this one wrong, with a story about people you can’t relate to even when that’s the only thing the film ever tried to do.  Mann is a very poor casting choice, she never seems authentic, and even makes Rudd seem rudderless, which is a feat, because we usually adore him with ease.  The side cast is funny, Albert Brooks is the star, but not enough goes right often enough to make This Is 40 palatable.

My rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

 


Sports – NFL Picks 2022, Week 1

Category : Sports

Here are my NFL Week 1 Picks

Bye teams: none

 

Buf @ LAR

NO @ Atl

Cle @ Car

SF @ Chi

Pit @ Cin

Phi @ Det

Ind @ Hou

NE @ Mia

Bal @ NYJ

Jax @ Was

NYG @ Ten

KC @ Ari

LV @ LAC

GB @ Min

TB @ Dal

Den @ Sea

 


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