Month: November 2022

Sports – NFL Picks 2022, Week 12

Category : Sports

Here are my NFL Week 12 Picks

9-5 last week, 97-67 for the season)

Bye teams: none

 

Buf @ Det

NYG @ Dal

NE @ Min

Den @ Car

TB @ Cle

Bal @ Jax

Hou @ Mia

Chi @ NYJ

Cin @ Ten

Atl @ Was

LAC @ Ari

LV @ Sea

LAR @ KC

NO @ SF

GB @ Phi

Pit @ Ind


Sports – NFL Picks 2022, Week 11

Category : Sports

Here are my NFL Week 11 Picks

8-6 last week, 88-62 for the season)

Bye teams: Jaguars, Dolphins, Seahawks, Buccaneers

 

Ten @ GB

Chi @ Atl

Car @ Bal

Cle @ Buf

Was @ Hou

Phi @ Ind

NYJ @ NE

LAR @ NO

Det @ NYG

LV @ Den

Dal @ Min

Cin @ Pit

KC @ LAC

SF @ Ari


Movie Review – True Lies

Category : Movie Review

Director: James Cameron

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Arnold

Year: 1994

True Lies isn’t just problematic, watching it almost 30 years after its release, it’s downright riddled with bad choices and wince-worthy moments, enough to bring what I have always remembered as a fun frolic down many, many notches on the board.  Honestly, if it hadn’t been for Bill Paxton, his storyline, his character, and his acting, this might go down as the dumbest movie of all time, a real Cameron clunker that almost sunk to the bottom under its own stupid weight.

Harry seems like a normal guy on the outside; boring sales job, timid wife, rebellious teenager, blah blah and more blah.  But actually, although most of the government doesn’t even know, Harry is a world-class spy, working to keep the planet a safer place one dead bad guy at a time.  But when he suspects his wife of having an affair and attempts to trap her in the truth, real espionage gets mixed up with fake missions, until both Harry and the lovely Helen are both in over their heads.

For real, Bill Paxton is genius in his scenes, and that storyline, the fake spy stuff, where Harry sets up the supposedly cheating couple, is pretty awesome.  Jamie Lee does well, she’s so sexy & funny, there are moments that really work …and then the rest of the movie gets in the way.  Arnold is just not a good actor, he’s terrible really, and Tom Arnold is about as likable as invasive surgery.  Their acting sucked, the action is ridiculous, and without the Paxton part (and the iconic Curtis hotel scene), the film would have been a complete, racist, sexist, juvenile disaster.

My rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

 


Movie Review – The Phantom of the Opera (2004)

Category : Movie Review

Director: Joel Schumacher

Starring: Emmy Rossum, Gerard Butler, Patrick Wilson

Year: 2004

I could have sworn I reviewed The Phantom of the Opera before now; I’ve definitely seen it enough.  It’s the newest film version of a story that’s been told a dozen times, but never with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s music, which, of course, makes all the difference.  I’ve also seen this show multiple times on Broadway, which is without a doubt the preferred way to watch it; the movie really doesn’t even compare.  But, I will say that I always enjoy watching it, for the songs & the drama, and for the little things it does right, while also admitting that it does a lot wrong as well.

We arrive in Paris at the turn of the 20th century, and we hear a strange tale of a ghost, a man, a something, who haunted an opera house and claimed it as his own, while terrorizing its patrons and its players when his wishes weren’t their commands.  He also took a shine to a young orphan girl named Christine, who he trained as a singer from the shadows, until the day she was discovered and he was unmasked, leading to a reign of terror to gain back control of the theatre that would leave everyone scarred.

So, the musical is what you want to see.  It is classic, it is genius, it is art like you’ve never seen it before; it’s still mind-boggling that one man created all these amazing songs, songs that feel like they’ve been around for a 100 years.  This story is that old, older, and it’s a little stale with so many retellings, as well as this version being a little silly & all over the place.  The singing it fine, the acting is OK, the visuals are stunning, but it all comes back to Webber’s music, which is above critique, though some will try anyway.  Phantom is an icon, and although this film version isn’t perfect, it’s still lovely to experience.

My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

 


Thought – 2023 – Oscar Preview

Category : Thought

Of course it’s too early to make Oscar predictions; the nominees are months away from being announced.  Some of what may be the best films of the year haven’t even come out yet.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t talk about it anyway and make guesses based on almost nothing.  At the very least, here is a list of movies that deserve a watch, as they might be in the Oscar conversation soon.

This is the Variety ranking of top Academy Award contenders:

 

  1. The Fabelmans
  2. The Banshees of Inisherin
  3. Tar
  4. Top Gun: Maverick
  5. Women Talking
  6. Everything Everywhere All at Once
  7. Elvis
  8. Emancipation
  9. Living
  10. The Woman King
  11. Glass Onion
  12. Triangle of Sadness
  13. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
  14. Avatar: The Way of Water
  15. She Said
  16. Empire of Light
  17. Pinocchio
  18. Babylon
  19. The Inspection
  20. Thirteen Lives
  21. RRR
  22. Devotion
  23. Aftersun
  24. The Whale
  25. All Quiet of the Western Front
  26. Bardo
  27. Bones and All
  28. The Son
  29. Till
  30. Armageddon Time

 

Snubbed: Lightyear, The Northman, Prey, The Gray Man, Downton Abbey: A New Era, Hustle, The Batman, The Adam Project.

 


Sports – NFL Picks 2022, Week 10

Category : Sports

Here are my NFL Week 10 Picks

8-5 last week, 80-56 for the season)

Bye teams: Ravens, Bengals, Patriots, Jets

 

Atl @ Car

Sea @ TB

Min @ Buf

Det @ Chi

Jax @ KC

Cle @ Mia

Hou @ NYG

NO @ Pit

Den @ Ten

Ind @ LV

Dal @ GB

Ari @ LAR

LAC @ SF

Was @ Phi


Movie Review – The Brain

Category : Movie Review

Director: Ed Hunt

Starring: Tom Bresnahan, David Gale, Cynthia Preston

Year: 1988

The Brain is 1/3 fun, 1/3, boring, and 1/3 plain disastrous, making for a bizarrely bumpy ride that you feel nauseous after experiencing.  It’s a good idea given absolutely nowhere to go and no talent to take it there, a fun- house five minutes that you regret when you leave.  Still, how often do you see a giant brain monster with teeth start eating people it can’t mind-control?  Hopefully for your sake, not very.

In a small town, in a small high school, Jim gets caught being a teenage hooligan and is sent to the local “psychologist” to get help.  This strange man, Dr. Blakely, hosts a TV show that supposedly is meant to help his viewers deal with the world’s problems by thinking for themselves.  However, what’s really happening is that a giant alien brain is using the airwaves to control people, and those it can’t take over begin to have murderous hallucinations.  Not fun.

The story is kinda cool; the lab, the alien, the show, the mind control, our hero.  But that’s all we’ve got, that’s surface level, and it’s not awful, the acting is even fine, but it never goes anywhere from there.  The rest of the film (the majority, sadly) is either really dull or really dumb.  I swear, whole extended scenes go by and all they did was run, or drive, or run after driving, or get shot at while running and probably wishing they could drive.  It’s pretty ridiculous, and pretty stupid, when the alien thing is what we should be focusing on, Jim & his adventure too.  The editing is bizarre, the flow terrible, a hundred things went wrong, and the only piece that’s solid is the base story, which is entertaining, but not entertaining enough.

My rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

 


Movie Review – All Quiet on the Western Front

Category : Movie Review

Director: Edward Berger

Starring: Felix Kammerer, Albrecht Schuch, Daniel Bruhl

Year: 2022

Based on the famed novel, set amid the trenches and countryside of World War I, All Quiet on the Western Front is a film that brings the page to life like few have done before, transferring art to art in a seamless and engaging manner than will leave audiences breathless.  It is one of the very best of 2022, and also one of the greatest WWI depictions you will ever see, showing not only the horror of battle but the hopelessness of war itself.  Come Oscar season next Spring, this will be a picture to have watched and to remember; its unique brutality and honesty won’t go unnoticed.

Paul Baumer is a young German student who is excited and honored to join his country’s armed forces and to fight for his Fatherland.  But his experience in the trenches casts warfare in a different light.  The mud, the rats, the fear, the death; men kill each other to gain yards of territory, only to lose it the next day, in an endless madness in which he & his fellow soldiers slowly lose their dignity & their minds.  As political officials debate over treaties, young men freeze, scavenge, and die for absolutely no reason, as that absurdity becomes the way of a very short life.

1917 caught our attention when it came out two & a half years ago, but not only for its story, but for its style, its director, its tricks, its cinematic prowess, all it brought to the table.  Western Front is a different kind of film, less of a spectacle and more visceral.  It’s transportation into the thick of the fight, and it’s a quick reminder that that’s anywhere but where we want to be.  Paul is our vehicle, so young and so clueless, but he quickly ages into a shell-shocked veteran, having to live the same god-awful clash day after day, with gaps filled in by hunger, boredom, the cold, and the terrible realization that he & his brothers-is-arms have been abandoned.  This is a brutal story, told so well, and brought to life with such truth that you’ll want to shut your ears so you don’t have to hear it.

My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

 


Movie Review – Thor: Love and Thunder

Category : Movie Review

Director: Taika Waititi

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Christian Bale, Natalie Portman

Year: 2022

Thor: Love and Thunder might not be quite as bad as the historically bad Thor 1 & Thor 2, but it’s also nowhere near as astounding as Thor: Ragnarok.  I would normally say “it’s in the middle, not a triumph, not a disaster”, that feels like what should come next, but I can’t even give #4 *that* much credit; it’s much worse than I was expecting.  It’s near as bad as anything Marvel has to offer, from its early days to its greatest mistakes, and that’s simply not acceptable.  Not with Waititi, not with Hemsworth, not with what went right the last time out; this time, everything went to shit.

Thor, back out in the realm being a hero again, is called upon to investigate the crimes of the “god killer”, a man who is somehow slaying the universe’s protectors.  This man, Gorr, has a weapon that makes him almost invincible, but he will need to be stopped before he destroys all heroes, including the ones we know & love.  Thor can’t take the Guardians with him, they’re too busy, but he does recruit Korg and Valkyrie, along with one other surprise guest; Jane.  That’s right, Jane Foster, his ex-girlfriend, but she’s more than that now, she’s also the Mighty Thor, somehow, and is wielding a repaired Mjolnir.  Doesn’t make a lot of sense, but here we go.

That’s just it; like, what the fuck?  Waititi worked magic with Ragnarok, but he’s delved too greedily & too deep, apparently, and loosed something horrid.  His own ego maybe, his wacky imagination, I don’t know, but nothing works and there’s a hundred ideas happening all at once, which is a very bad combination.  Thor isn’t funny, the Guardians skip out almost immediately, Jane SUCKS, even Korg is just stupid, and all the wonder we were expecting is simply missing.  It’s a very, very bad movie, Marvel or otherwise, and simply misses every mark it’s aiming for.  It doesn’t even feel like a film, more like a dream, but one that we don’t recognize and could never fully understand.  I love Waititi, I’ve loved him from his early days, he’s honestly a genius, but this movie sucks.

My rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

 


Sports – NFL Picks 2022, Week 9

Category : Sports

Here are my NFL Week 9 Picks

(10-5 last week, 72-51 for the season)

Bye teams: Browns, Cowboys, Broncos, Giants, Steelers, 49ers

 

Phi @ Hou

LAC @ Atl

Mia @ Chi

Car @ Cin

GB @ Det

LV @ Jax

Ind @ NE

Buf @ NYJ

Min @ Was

Sea @ Ari

LAR @ TB

Ten @ KC

Bal @ NO


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