J.J. Abrams reintroduced a popular science fiction franchise to a new generation with 2009’s Star Trek, and he boldly takes it to new heights with its even faster-paced successor. With plenty of brawn and bromances, Star Trek Into Darkness matches the first film in almost every way thanks to its magnetic villain and charming performances from its leads, and it is sure to beam you up to summer popcorn bliss.
Abrams wastes little time with his sequel and immediately jumps into action with Starship Enterprise crew members Captain James Kirk and Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy running from a primitive civilization on the planet Nibiru. They manage to escape and save Spock, who was stuck in a volcano, in the process, and yes, this all happens in the first few minutes of the film. Kirk’s rebellious nature and inconsiderate actions violating Starfleet Academy rules force his superiors to question his leadership skills, but a terrorist attack puts him back on the Enterprise. Kirk and Spock travel to dangerous territory to search for the criminal responsible for the attacks, only to find a dark truth that puts the Enterprise crew’s lives at risk.
The generic synopsis provided does not do justice to a film that has so much going on at once. It’s a testament to Abrams’s ability to keep his projects under wrap and allow audiences to be astonished with some of the twists. Unfortunately for fans of the original films and series, Into Darkness treads on familiar territory, and may have paid too much respect to the source material, which takes away the element of surprise. There is a fine line between paying homage and rehashing the past, and writers Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof teetered on the latter and opted to leave behind much of the intellect from earlier films and replaced it with explosions and punches. Their convoluted, somewhat predictable script unfortunately settled for action adventure and deviated from a thought-provoking route, but it is redeemed thanks to the characters and stellar performances from the actors.
Into Darkness has more than enough punches (probably too many) but the action carries plenty of moxie. Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto provide much needed depth and remind us why Kirk needs Spock and vice versa. The 2009 film established them a captain and first officer, but the sequel lays the foundation of the beautiful friendship that old Spock (Leonard Nimoy) endearingly spoke about in Star Trek. The rest of the cast is just as impressive, and show us why these characters were so beloved even 47 years ago. Karl Urban provides plenty of laughs as Bones, and Simon Pegg does the most with his limited screen time as Scotty. The crew is truly tested when they come across Starfleet commander John Harrison, a secretive rogue agent who bombs London and attacks Starfleet command. Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance is chilling, hypnotizing and commanding, and he’s a badass force to be reckoned with.
Another force is Abrams, who has truly established himself as one of the best big-budget directors out there. While some may get lost in Chris Pine’s eyes, others will be in awe of the breathtaking visuals and remarkable action sequences. Star Trek Into Darkness has plenty of laughs, surprises and thrilling action to make it one of the best films of the year, but it’s not without defects. Luckily, Abrams warp speeds his way past them so quickly, you could barely tell they were even there.Filed under: Movies
For Tony Stark, “nothing’s been the same since New York,” and the same can be said for the movie-going audience. The Avengers changed the landscape of not only the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but the comic book film genre. With the bar being raised to heavenly heights by a super group, how can one single hero reach it? Marvel Studios handed that daunting task to Shane Black, a Hollywood recluse known for writing Lethal Weapon and working double duty on the under-appreciated Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Black co-wrote and directed Iron Man 3, and the end result is much like its hero: smart, charming, funny, flawed, but knows how to have one hell of a time.
Unlike its predecessors, Iron Man 3 isn’t about a genius billionaire wearing a suit and showcase his intelligence while saving lives. It’s a character study of a man broken by worlds he had never known before. An emotional and sleep-deprived Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.’s best performance as Iron Man) admits to Pepper Potts (a sweet, irresistible Gwyneth Paltrow) that “threat is eminent, and I have the protect the one thing that I can’t live without. That’s you.” Tony’s fears and emotions are as revealing as the arc reactor on his chest, and Black goes deep into the hero’s heart, as well as his past. The film opens in 1999 when Tony blows off scientist Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) at a party to spend a night with botanist Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall). Fast forward to present day when an attack from an evil terrorist known as the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) hits too close to home, literally and figuratively, forcing Tony to take action. As the Mandarin threat rises, Tony’s confronted by his demons, which he admittedly created, and struggles to find a way to defeat overcome his past mistakes while coping with the trauma of New York.
Downey, Jr.’s stellar, no-holding-back performance is reminiscent of his work in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, certainly blemishing some of the flaws in Iron Man 3. While the first two films in the series showcased Marvel’s superhero (obviously), the third entry finally presents us to Tony Stark, a man more heroic than his alter ego. He flaunts his true talent and genius by creating weapons with one simple visit to the hardware store, and no longer fears to express himself when leaving a heartfelt message to Pepper admitting “he has a lot of apologies to make.” But our hero has nothing to be sorry about; the only people that may have apologies to make are writers Drew Pearce and Black. While the dialogue and wit is on par with Joss Whedon’s Avengers, the story’s twists and turns may be too much to bear for some, especially the comic book purists. Nonetheless, the performances of the actors and one-liners are sure to stand out for general audiences. It deviates radically from the source material but lays the foundation for an exciting new phase in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe.
Iron Man 3 is a rousing success on every level (and it will be financially). The film is witty as it is thrilling thanks to the direction and writing of Shane Black, who is sure to become a household name by the end of the summer, and top-notch performances from the actors, including Don Cheadle as Iron Patriot (War Machine is still a better name). After the misstep that was Iron Man 2, Black rights the ship and steers it back on course. Destination: The Avengers 2.Filed under: Movies
Somber, emotional and raw are a few adjectives to describe Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine, a difficult and brutally honest portrait of a relationship on the rocks. The same words can be used to describe the director/writer’s most recent effort. The Place Beyond the Pines is an ambitious crime drama that spans two families’ generations and underlines the consequences our sins. It labors heavily and ultimately earns respect, but, unfortunately, it takes ages to reach the finish line.
The film is divided into three parts, the first one focusing on a tattooed motorcycle stunt driver named Luke Glanton (Ryan Gosling). The well-known tattooed state fair star comes across an old fling named Romina (Eva Mendes’ best performance of her career) in Shenectady, New Jersey. In an impromptu visit to her home, Luke meets Romina’s mother, who introduces him to his child. In an effort to take care of his son and reconnect with the mother, Luke quits his motorcycle stunt gig to work as mechanic. He then turns to a life of crime, and intersects with the crosshairs of police officer Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper). The film then focuses on Cross and his ambitions, which are to serve and protect. He finds himself in tough position within the department, and blackmails his way to a political career. The story fast-forwards to a politically established Cross, who accepts to have his teenage son move in with him.
Cianfrance’s multi-generational crime drama shows flashes of brilliance, and resembles the epic The Godfather, but the narrative flow and slow pace keep The Place Beyond the Pines from being as great as Francis Ford Coppola’s classic. Cianfrance is talented director, however, this film is a better suited to showcase his writing skills. While the script is aided by stellar performances from its leads, it reads like a modern Shakespearean tragedy. The characters are sympathetic and put in desperate, difficult situations that lead them to make questionable decisions that will affect them as well as their loved ones. It’s a heartbreaking story of fate, and of sons unable escape the situation brought unto them by their fathers.
The Place Beyond the Pines is a valiant effort from Cianfrance, and though it falls just short of greatness, it still is a wonderful work of art. It’s an honest, rough tragedy that challenges social mobility and the character of America. The 140-minute run time feels much longer than it is, but the patient ones willing to stay until the end will be rewarded.Filed under: Movies
It’s not hard to see why Jurassic Park was the highest grossing film 20 years ago. Director Steven Spielberg introduced us all to our favorite creatures from our childhood, but he also made us glad we weren’t around 65 million years ago to live among them. Re-released in 3D to commemorate its 20th anniversary, Spielberg’s dinosaur epic shows no signs of aging and puts recent blockbusters to shame with its sleek direction and remarkable special effects that are sure to dazzle a new generation not familiar with the film.
Jurassic Park is a summer blockbuster that will always stand the test of time, but the 3D conversion helps it surpass even the modern action-adventure film. The Academy Award-winning sound, visuals and thrills are amplified to deliver not only one of the best theater experiences of the year, but in recent memory. While I do believe 3D is somewhat of a fad and not for all movies (such as Alice in Wonderland or Clash of the Titans), the extra dimension adds more depth to Spielberg’s vision and enhances the lavish landscapes of Isla Nublar (which was really Hawaii). The eye-popping special effects in 3D really enrich the experience, making you more terrified of a velociraptor than ever before. The sheer horror and awe painted on the face of Dr. Alan Grant (a memorable performance from Sam Neill) when the Tyrannosaurus Rex exited the paddock is not only seen, but shared thanks to the 3D conversion.
The film is not without its faults, however, and the large IMAX 3D screen magnifies some of the errors made during production (search “Jurassic Park mistakes”), but all is forgotten when you hear the roar of the T. Rex and your heart beating with every thunderous stomp the extinct creature makes. The thrilling action and special effects makes Jurassic Park unforgettable, but its characters and story are what make it timeless. Spielberg created a modern-day Jaws, replacing the shark with dinosaurs and some horror with moral lesson, which is expressed early on with warnings from rock star chaos theorist Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum).
Much like dinosaurs, Jurassic Park is part of a nearly extinct group of films: a blockbuster that has it all. Action, laughs, thrills, thought-provoking…in other words: pure, golden entertainment. As Malcolm told park creator John Hammond, “Life finds a way,” and with or without 3D, Jurassic Park will always find a way to live on.Filed under: Movies
It’s hard to imagine topping a year with films such as The Dark Knight Rises, Zero Dark Thirty, Django Unchained and The Avengers, but 2013 is making an effort to challenge it with some big releases. From zombies to the USS Enterprise, here are the films to watch for this year. Read on…Filed under: cover, Movies
Zack Snyder was one of the first directors rumored to be in the running for Disney’s Star Wars: Episode VII, but he admitted to the Los Angeles Times not being interested in project despite being a huge fan of the films. The Man of Steel director will not direct the sequel, but he may expand the Star Wars universe with a new story. Vulture is reporting Snyder is developing a project parallel to the next trilogy. The untitled film will be loosely based on Seven Samurai (Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 classic), and will feature lightsaber-weilding Jedi Knights instead of katana-fighting ronin.
Where the story fits chronologically is unclear, but a source in the article claims it will stand alone, according to Vulture. If the story is true, it clearly shows Disney’s commitment to reestablishing the franchise. It’s no secret George Lucas was greatly influenced by Kurosawa’s films. The creator of Star Wars admitted being a huge fan of Seven Samurai in an interview with the Telegraph, as well as citing Hidden Fortress (another Kurosawa classic) as a major influence in his work.
Disney acquired the rights to Star Wars from Lucas last October, and immediately announced plans to release Episode VII in 2015. The film, which is without a director, is still early in development with Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3, Little Miss Sunshine) penning the screenplay.
As someone who has seen Star Wars (a couple of times…hundred times), I must admit much intrigue in the premise of this project. There are many other stories to explore in the Star Wars universe, and a team of seven Jedi Knights establishing peace and order throughout the galaxy would be very awesome.
UPDATE: The Hollywood Reporter recently reported a statement from Snyder’s representative, who denied the story posted by Vulture. Another update, millions of aspiring Jedi are heartbroken.Filed under: Movies
When a young Bilbo Baggins exclaims, “I’m going on an adventure!,” one can’t help but squeal in excitement for Peter Jackson’s much anticipated prequel to The Lord of the Rings. That excitement soon becomes awe thanks to the beautiful scenery and lavish backdrops, but it quickly withers down to anxiousness, leaving one to wonder, “Are we there yet?” The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is an engaging, although stretched-out, story of a young, adventurous hobbit that stumbles to a thrilling and exciting finish that is sure to leave J.R.R. Tolkien fans satisfied.
The story, set 60 years before the events in The Lord of the Rings, reintroduces us to a Gandalf and Bilbo. The great wizard tricks the curious hobbit into hosting a party for a band of dwarves, who then recruit Bilbo as their burglar to help steal their treasure back from a dragon named Smaug.
While the dwarves are not as enduring as the mysterious Ranger named Aragorn or the battle-tested elf known as Legolas from The Lord of the Rings, they do make a memorable first impression with their eating, joking and singing. Jackson smartly eases us back to Middle Earth by showing us familiar faces (Gandalf and Frodo) before introducing us to the dwarves, but the tedious first act too drawn out by Jackson. Purists will enjoy the details while others reach for a sip of cola to stay awake. Much like Bilbo’s life, the thrills and excitement does not begin until Jackson leads us out of The Shire. The second-half action is on par with that seen in The Lord of the Rings, and is sure to make those not familiar with the source material fans of Thorin Oakenshield, the leader of the Company of Dwarves who is determined to reclaim the Lonely Mountain as the home for his people. Richard Armitage turns in a stellar performance as the dwarves’ leader, but he is overshadowed by Martin Freeman, who plays Bilbo to perfection with wry wit, innocence and a courageous heart of gold. Freeman is at his best when he meets Gollum (another great performance from Andy Serkis). The chemistry between both actors creates one of the most memorable scenes of the film and sets up a thrilling climax, making the long adventure worth the wait.
The journey surely becomes an unexpected one when seen in 48 frames per second. Jackson wanted to immerse audiences into the beautiful world of Middle Earth by showcasing high definition aerial shots of the beautiful New Zealand landscape. While the high frame rate showcases the great scenery, it also leaves The Hobbit vulnerable to all of its flaws. The film looks like a high definition National Geographic documentary one minute and suddenly resembles an episode of Thomas the Tank Engine the next. The 48 frames per second give the film a distinct clarity and exposes Jackson’s heavy use of CGI. Nonetheless, if you plan on multiple viewings, I recommend you try it at least once.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey certainly lacks the majesty of The Lord of the Rings, but its heart and compelling story make it worthy of comparison to its successors. Much like the protagonist, the film struggles early on to find an identity. Although he takes his time, Jackson (and Bilbo) digs deep down to give the story emotion and direction, making the rugged journey worth it.Filed under: Movies
Bowl Game Location Date & Time (ET)
Gildan New Mexico Bowl, Albuquerque, NM Sat., Dec. 15, 1 p.m. ESPN
Tomas, Josh, Habe, Oscar, D-Man, Juan – Arizona 49 vs. Nevada 48
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Boise, ID Sat., Dec. 15, 4:30 p.m. ESPN
Tomas – Toledo 15 vs. #22 Utah State 41 – Josh, Habe, Oscar, D-Man, Juan
San Diego County CU Poinsettia Bowl, San Diego, CA Thu., Dec. 20, 8 p.m. ESPN
Tomas – BYU 23 vs. San Diego State 6 – D-Man, Josh, Oscar, Juan, Habe
Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl, St. Petersburg, FL Fri., Dec. 21, 7:30 p.m. ESPN
Josh – Ball State 17 vs. UCF 38 – Tomas, Juan, D-Man, Oscar, Habe
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, New Orleans, LA Sat., Dec. 22, 12 p.m. ESPN
Josh, Juan, Habe – East Carolina 34 vs. UL Lafayette 43 – Tomas, D-Man, Oscar
MAACO Bowl Las Vegas Bowl, Las Vegas, NV Sat., Dec. 22, 3:30 p.m. ESPN
Tomas, Josh, Juan, D-Man, Habe – #19 Boise State 28 vs. Washington 26 – Oscar
Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, Honolulu, HI Mon., Dec. 24, 8 p.m. ESPN
Tomas, Juan, Oscar, Habe, Josh, D-Man – Fresno State 10 vs. SMU 43
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, Detroit, MI Wed., Dec. 26, 7:30 p.m. ESPN
D-Man – Central Michigan 24 vs. Western Kentucky 21 – Tomas, Juan, Oscar, Habe, Josh
Military Bowl, Washington, DC Thu., Dec. 27, 3 p.m. ESPN
Bowling Green 20 vs. #24 San Jose State 29 – D-Man, Tomas, Oscar, Habe, Josh, Juan
Belk Bowl, Charlotte, NC Thu., Dec. 27, 6:30 p.m. ESPN
D-Man, Tomas, Oscar, Habe, Josh, Juan - Cincinnati 48 vs. Duke 34
Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl, San Diego, CA Thu., Dec. 27, 9:45 p.m. ESPN
Tomas – Baylor 49 vs. #17 UCLA 26 – D-Man, Oscar, Habe, Josh, Juan
AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl, Shreveport, LA Fri., Dec. 28, 2 p.m. ESPN
Juan, Josh, D-Man – Ohio 45 vs. ULM 14 – Habe, Oscar, Tomas
Russell Athletic Bowl, Orlando, FL Fri., Dec. 28, 5:30 p.m. ESPN
Juan, Habe, Josh, Oscar , Tomas – Rutgers 10 vs. Virginia Tech 13 – D-Man
Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas, Houston, TX Fri., Dec. 28, 9 p.m. ESPN
Minnesota 31 vs. Texas Tech 34 – Juan, Habe, Josh, Oscar, Tomas, D-Man
Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, Fort Worth, TX Sat., Dec. 29, 11:45 a.m. ESPN
Oscar, Tomas, D-Man – Air Force 14 vs. Rice 33 – Habe, Josh, Juan
New Era Pinstripe Bowl, Bronx, NY Sat., Dec. 29, 3:15 p.m. ESPN
Oscar, Juan – Syracuse 38 vs. West Virginia 14 – Tomas, D-Man, Habe, Josh
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, San Francisco, CA Sat., Dec. 29, 4:00 p.m. ESPN2
Oscar, Tomas, D-Man, Habe, Josh, Juan – Arizona State 62 vs. Navy 28
Valero Alamo Bowl, San Antonio, TX Sat., Dec. 29, 6:45 p.m. ESPN
D-Man, Josh, Habe, Juan – #13 Oregon State 27 vs. #23 Texas 31 – Oscar, Tomas
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Tempe, AZ Sat., Dec. 29, 10:15 p.m. ESPN
Josh, Habe – Michigan State 17 vs. TCU 16 – Oscar, Tomas, D-Man, Juan
Franklin Amer. Mort. Music City Bowl, Nashville, TN Mon., Dec. 31, 12 p.m. ESPN
NC State (7-5) vs. Vanderbilt (8-4) – Oscar, D-Man, Juan, Habe, Tomas, Josh
Hyundai Sun Bowl, El Paso, TX Mon., Dec. 31, 2 p.m. CBS
Georgia Tech (6-7) vs. USC (7-5) – Oscar, D-Man, Juan, Habe, Tomas, Josh
AutoZone Liberty Bowl, Memphis, TN Mon., Dec. 31, 3:30 p.m. ESPN
Iowa State (6-6) vs. Tulsa (10-3) – Oscar, D-Man, Juan, Habe, Tomas, Josh
Chick-fil-A Bowl, Atlanta, GA Mon., Dec. 31, 7:30 p.m. ESPN
Oscar – #14 Clemson (10-2) vs. #8 LSU (10-2) – Oscar, D-Man, Juan, Habe, Tomas, Josh
Heart of Dallas Bowl, Dallas, TX Tue., Jan. 1, 12 p.m. ESPNU
Purdue (6-6) vs. Oklahoma State (7-5) – Oscar, Tomas, D-Man
TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl, Jacksonville, FL Tue., Jan. 1, 12 p.m. ESPN2
Tomas – Mississippi State (8-4) vs. #20 Northwestern (9-3) – Oscar, D-Man
Capital One Bowl, Orlando, FL Tue., Jan. 1, 1 p.m. ABC
Oscar, Tomas, D-Man – #7 Georgia (11-2) vs. #16 Nebraska (10-3)
Outback Bowl, Tampa, FL Tue., Jan. 1, 1 p.m. ESPN
Tomas, D-Man – #18 Michigan (8-4) vs. #10 South Carolina (10-2) – Oscar
Rose Bowl Game, Pasadena, CA Tue., Jan. 1, 5 p.m. ESPN
Oscar, Tomas, D-Man – #6 Stanford (11-2) vs. Wisconsin (8-5)
Discover Orange Bowl, Miami Gardens, FL Tue., Jan. 1, 8:30 p.m. ESPN
Oscar, Tomas, D-Man – #12 Florida State (11-2) vs. #15 Northern Illinois (12-1)
Allstate Sugar Bowl, New Orleans, LA Wed., Jan. 2, 8:30 p.m. ESPN
Oscar – #3 Florida (11-1) vs. #21 Louisville (10-2)
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, Glendale, AZ Thu., Jan. 3, 8:30 p.m. ESPN
Oscar – #5 Kansas State (11-1) vs. #4 Oregon (11-1)
AT&T Cotton Bowl, Arlington, TX Fri., Jan. 4, 8 p.m. FOX
Oscar – #11 Oklahoma (10-2) vs. #9 Texas A&M (10-2)
BBVA Compass Bowl, Birmingham, AL Sat., Jan. 5, 1 p.m. ESPN
Ole Miss (6-6) vs. Pittsburgh (6-6) – Oscar
GoDaddy.com Bowl, Mobile, AL Sun., Jan. 6, 9 p.m. ESPN
Oscar – Arkansas State (9-3) vs. #25 Kent State (11-2)
BCS National Championship Bowl Game, Miami Gardens, FL Mon., Jan. 7, 8:30 p.m. ESPN
Oscar – #2 Alabama (12-1) vs. #1 Notre Dame (12-0)
REGULAR SEASON RECORDS
Juan (112-38) *WINS REGULAR SEASON PICKS
Mental illness is no laughing matter, but much like the characters in his film, writer/director David O. Russell finds that silver lining in a story with people with bipolar disorder and depression. Silver Linings Playbook is as funny as it is disturbing, and heartwarming as it is heartbreaking to make it one of the most entertaining dramas in recent memory.
Everybody has a little crazy in them, but not like Pat and Tiffany. Pat (Bradley Cooper’s best performance) was diagnosed with bipolar disorder during an eight-month stint at a mental health facility, which was part of his plea bargain with the courts after assaulting the man who slept with his wife. And Tiffany (a surprising, stellar Jennifer Lawrence) is a widow fired from her job after sleeping with most of her coworkers. While both are unstable on their own, they form an odd friendship that helps them find clarity in their lives.
The film, much like Pat, is unbalanced, which is not a criticism at all. While it’s entertaining to watch Pat reconnect with his family and friends (especially Ronnie, a whipped husband remarkably played by John Ortiz), it’s just as disturbing to see him deal with his mental illness. Russell, whose son is bipolar and has OCD, balances the heart and humor to perfection, and layers just enough drama to add a level of respect to the characters’ conditions. Pat and Tiffany’s journey to find themselves and a silver lining is a memorable journey thanks to the leads’ Oscar-worthy performances, as well as the supporting cast. Robert De Niro is excellent as the obsessive, fanatical father, and Chris Tucker is very much underutilized as Danny, a friend Pat met at the mental institution. Russell gives each character their time to shine, giving us some of the most memorable scenes of the year.
Silver Linings Playbook is David O. Russell passion project, and it clearly shows. The talented director tightropes a sensitive subject by making it a romantic comedy, but the risk paid off thanks to his sleek direction and the performances from the actors. You’d be crazy to miss out on this gem.Filed under: Movies
The second trailer to Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot hit the web this morning, and it does not disappoint.The tone and style very much resembles a cross between Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins and Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns. It has the real-world, gritty environment seen in The Dark Knight Trilogy, but it also has the grand vision of Singer’s film. Man of Steel had a lot of question marks going in, but this trailer is sure to make fans and non-fans excited.
The synopsis of the film:Clark Kent is a journalist in his twenties who was adopted as a child by Jonathan and Martha Kent after he was transported to Earth from the dying planet of Krypton. Raised with the values of his adoptive parents, he feels alienated because of his unique super abilities and struggles to find his own place in life. When the world is attacked, he becomes the hero named Superman to protect the Earth and its people.
Man of Steel, directed by Zack Snyder and starring Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Russell Crowe and Antje Traue, flies to theaters June 14, 2013.Filed under: Movies
Nowadays, Joseph Gordon-Levitt can do no wrong. The actor has excelled in popular indie flicks such as (500) Days of Summer and Brick, and that trend continues with Looper. Rian Johnson writes and directs a mind-bending science fiction film that is not what it seems, leaving plenty of surprising twists and turns in a stout action thriller.
Johnson wrote the part of Joe Simmons for Gordon-Levitt, who plays an assassin hired by the mafia to eliminate someone sent from the future to tie up any loose ends and hide the evidence. The mob chooses to “close the loop” on Simmons by transporting his future self (played by Bruce Willis), but the young assassin failed to complete the task. Gangsters search for both men, while Simmons hunts his older self to “close the loop” and fulfill his contract. The two meet at a local diner where old Joe tells his younger self about a person known as the Rainmaker, who made the decision to have him killed as well as his wife. Knowing his older self’s plan to kill the Rainmaker, he follows a map to a farmhouse with the intent of waiting for old Joe to close his loop.
Confusing? Maybe, but it is one hell of a ride. While Gordon-Levitt and Willis do a great job, it’s hard to imagine the hip actor as a younger version of the bad ass we all remember from Die Hard. Gordon-Levitt endured three hours of makeup every morning to look more like Willis, but it was never convincing. Despite its faults, the originality of the script along with the steady direction of Johnson provides one of the most thought-provoking science fiction film in years. The trailer to Looper is deceptive but in a good way. While it’s enough to intrigue you to purchase a movie ticket, it fails to prepare you for the final act. The action in Looper is thrilling and gruesome, but its heart will draw you in with the compelling tale of nature vs. nurture. Can a mother’s love change the future of a young child destined to become a crime boss, or will nature continue to take its course? That’s just one of many questions you’ll have after the first viewing.
Looper is far from perfect, but it’s a bold and unconventional action thriller that would drive Doc Brown crazy with its paradoxes and logic. It has the action of The Terminator, the thrilling mind of Minority Report with the heart of Children of Men. While Looper is not near the mentioned films in terms significance and art, it’s still worthy of being acknowledged along with cult classics such as District 9 or Moon.Filed under: Movies
- CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- This was a tough week in calling games this week. Juan has the best week going 14-6 in a tough week of games to call and also takes first place over. Josh falls 2 games behind Juan is going to need a big week to jump Juan. Habe jumps D-Man and is now one spot ahead of him going 13-7 on the week. D-Man has an average week going 11-9 and will need a miracle to catch Juan or Josh. Oscar has a huge week going 14-6 and makes a huge surge and if everything goes right he could finish in third place! What a week for Oscar. Tomas has the toughest weeks going 9-11 and drops into last place.
- The Buckeyes finish their season 12-0! Congrats to the Buckeyes. The Wolverines lose another tough one against a top 5 opponent…why did Michigan lose? Only 20 plays in the second half and 3 turnovers. This sealed the deal for the Buckeyes and now will have to hope for a miracle to get the AP National Title.
- UCLA loses Stanford only to play them next win the Pac 12 Championship. TJ Simers let everyone know how much the lose to Stanford helped UCLA because he felt UCLA didn’t want to play Oregon if they had beaten Stanford. Was Simers right? In my opinion, to a point. I believe UCLA didn’t want to play Oregon, so I am guessing they didn’t want to show anything to Stanford. The way Simers attacked Mora made him look like a douchebag and Mora a restrained coach with some sort of dignity. UCLA will play Stanford in Palo Alto this week.
- USC lost to Notre Dame. I am not going to get into, but Kiffin is a moron in his play calling and that is all.
NCAA FOOTBALL 2012 – WEEK 14 PREVIEW
Oscar – Louisville @ Rutgers - Juan, Habe, Tomas, Josh, D-Man
Oscar, Habe, D-Man - 21 Northern Illinois @ 17 Kent State - Juan, Tomas, Josh
Josh - 16 UCLA @ 8 Stanford - Juan, Oscar, Habe, Tomas, D-Man
All of us pick Oklahoma - 11 Oklahoma @ TCU -
All of us pick Oklahoma State – 23 Oklahoma State @ Baylor -
All of us pick Boise State – 20 Boise State @ Nevada -
- 18 Texas @ 6 Kansas State - All of us pick Kansas State
All of us pick Florida State – 13 Florida State @ Georgia Tech* -
Juan, Oscar, Habe, Josh, D-Man – 12 Nebraska @ Wisconsin* - Tomas
GAME OF THE WEEK
Oscar, Habe, Tomas, Josh, D-Man – 2 Alabama @ 3 Georgia* - Juan
RECORDS AFTER WEEK 13
- No podcast this week, but we do have the Week 13 Preview and the Week 12 results.
- RIVALRY WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We are going to have 20 games this week so it should be a great week of college football!!!
- Josh takes back first place with a stellar week going 9-1 and now has extended his lead over Juan who has an average week going 6-4. D-Man continues his pace with Juan going 6-4 and but has lost ground with Josh and is now five games behind first. Habe has an average week going 6-4 and is only a game behind D-Man in 3rd place. Tomas has an excellent week going 8-2 and has now caught up to Habe in 4th and now D-Man, Habe, and Tomas have a slim chance at first, but still a chance. Oscar has the worst week going 5-5 and now will need a miracle to take first place.
- Another solid game for the Michigan Wolverines with a great win over Iowa. Again, Devin Gardner was solid with six touchdowns and the first Michigan QB with six touchdowns since Steve Smith in 1983. Finally, the Wolverines put both Denard and Devin in the backfield. Did the Wolverines show too much for the Buckeyes?
- The Buckeyes pull another close one out against the Badgers in overtime. Even though the Badgers lost, they are guaranteed for the Big Ten Championship Game. The Buckeyes have looked very good all year, but are they are starting to play tight? Or did they try not to show too much to the Wolverines?
- THE UCLA BRUINS! They were the better team against the USC Trojans last week. There is no doubt UCLA is back. Jim Mora has done a helluva job. This rivalry looks to be starting back up and next year I am looking forward to seeing these two great universities go at it.
NCAA FOOTBALL 2012 – WEEK 13 PREVIEW
Tomas, D-Man – 19 Michigan @ Ohio State - Juan, Habe, Oscar, Josh
Tomas, Juan, Habe, D-Man – 8 Stanford @ 17 UCLA – Oscar, Josh
- TCU @ 16 Texas - All of us pick Texas
All of us pick Nebraska - 14 Nebraska @ Iowa -
All of us pick Washington – 25 Washington @ Washington State -
- South Florida @ Cincinnati - All of us pick Cincinnati
- Arizona State @ 24 Arizona - All of us pick Arizona
- Georgia Tech @ 3 Georgia - All of us pick Georgia
- Virginia @ Virginia Tech - All of us pick Virginia Tech
Tomas, Juan, Habe, Josh, D-Man - 18 Rutgers @ Pittsburgh - Oscar
Tomas - Indiana @ Purdue - Juan, Habe, Oscar, Josh, D-Man
Tomas, Juan, Habe - Baylor @ Texas Tech* - Oscar, Josh, D-Man
All of us pick Oregon – 5 Oregon @ 15 Oregon State -
- Auburn @ 2 Alabama - All of us pick Alabama
Juan, Habe, Oscar, Josh – 4 Florida @ 10 Florida State - Tomas, D-Man
Oscar – 21 Oklahoma State @ 13 Oklahoma - Tomas, Juan, Habe, Josh, D-Man
Tomas, Habe, Josh – Wisconsin @ Penn State - Juan, Oscar, D-Man
Josh, D-Man – Mississippi State @ Ole Miss - Tomas, Juan, Habe, Oscar
Oscar, D-Man – 12 South Carolina @ 11 Clemson - Tomas, Juan, Habe, Josh
GAME OF THE WEEK
Oscar – 1 Notre Dame @ USC - Tomas, Juan, Habe, Josh, D-Man
RECORDS AFTER WEEK 1
After resurrecting a stagnant franchise with 2006’s Casino Royale, Daniel Craig and Sam Mendes team up to revive it again after the disappointment that was Quantum of Solace. They reinvigorate life into the series while reminding us of what makes James Bond films some of the most memorable experiences in cinema. Skyfall is not only one of the best Bond films, but it also ranks as one of the best films of the year thanks to its scene-stealing villain.
Director Sam Mendes rids the meaningless action and dearth of character development seen in its 2008 predecessor and brings us a vulnerable 007 that is tested like never before by a ruthless, dangerous Raoul Silva (played by Javier Bardem). Bond returns from the dead to report for duty after an attack on MI6 and helps M recover a lost file that includes agents’ identities. And that’s all the spoilers you’re getting because it is a hell of a ride you don’t want ruined.
Craig delivers his best performance as 007 in the 23rd film in the franchise, and receives great support from Bardem. No villain has demanded more attention since Heath Ledger’s Joker in 2008’s The Dark Knight (Yes, Bardem is that good). Silva is a real head case with emotional scars that open the wounds of M and Bond, which makes Skyfall one of the most emotional films in the series. But not all is grim the famous spy. Mendes directs the screenplay written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and John Logan to perfection and brings it back to where it belongs: England. The beautiful scenery is as refreshing as the script, but the talented director struggles with action sequences, which are not as sharp as those seen in Casino Royale. While Mendes decides to take his sweet time to introduce us to Silva, we are treated to a great supporting cast that includes Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris and Ben Whishaw, who plays as a young, intellectual tech geek named Q.
While many fans would like to forget that Quantum of Solace happened, it may very well be cherished because it’s the reason Skyfall shines. The misstep forced the studio to reevaluate a franchise suffering from an identity crisis and gives us a refreshing entry that is sure to create a new crop of Bond followers as well as ignite nostalgia in 007 fanboys. Skyfall is more than just a Bond movie. Thanks to the performances of the actors and the stellar writing and directing, it is one of the best films of the year.Filed under: Movies
- No podcast this week, but we do have the Week 12 Preview and the Week 11 results.
- Juan takes sole position of first place with a solid 9-1 record this week. Josh falls back with a solid week as well going 8-2. D-Man stays in third going 9-1 as well. Everyone else stays in their respective places going 8-2. Next week is rivalry week so things will get more interesting with 20 games on board!
- No Denard Robinson again for the Wolverines and Devin Gardner pulls the impossible with a fourth quarter comeback and overtime victory. All Michigan can do is win and hope someone can beat the Cornhuskers in hopes for a Big Ten Title. Will it happen? Probably not.
- The Trojans beat the Sun Devils to keep them in the hunt for the Pac 12 Title. Marquis Lee is a fucking stud. Now, USC plays one of their major rivals in UCLA. UCLA is not the same UCLA it has been the last 10 years. This team is good. Will this be a good game? Absolutely. This game will also be the deciding team representing the Pac 12 South Division Champion.
- Ohio State was on bye last week, which came at a perfect time because they are going to have two tough teams ending the season: Wisconsin and Michigan. Can they stay perfect? This week will say alot, in my opinion.
NCAA FOOTBALL 2012 – WEEK 11 PREVIEW
Oscar – Iowa @ 21 Michigan – Josh, Juan, Tomas, Habe, D-Man
Juan, Tomas, Habe, Oscar, D-Man - 18 USC @ 17 UCLA – Josh
Josh, Tomas, Habe, Oscar – Ohio State @ Wisconsin - Juan, D-Man
Josh, Tomas, D-Man – Northwestern @ Michigan State – Juan, Habe, Oscar
Josh, Juan, Tomas, Habe – 22 Rutgers @ Cincinnati - Oscar, D-Man
- South Florida @ Miami (FL) – All of us pick Miami (FL)
- NC State @ 11 Clemson - All of us pick Clemson
Habe – 23 Texas Tech @ 24 Oklahoma State - Josh, Juan, Tomas, Oscar, D-Man
All of us pick Oklahoma – 12 Oklahoma @ West Virginia -
GAME OF THE WEEK
- 13 Stanford @ 2 Oregon – All of us pick Oregon
RECORDS AFTER WEEK 11