Saturday, March 30, 2013

Has Free Agency Changed Anything?

Unscripted NFL Power Rankings
2013 Offseason Pre-Draft

Most of the major changes of the NFL's free agency period have occurred, so I'd say its safe to go ahead and make another set of power rankings before the draft happens in a few weeks.

But has free agency really changed anything? Yes and no. No, in the sense that my Top 10 consists of the same 10 teams it did last time, Pre-Free Agency. Yes, in the sense that there has been some movement up and down the board, perhaps even in the #1 spot... Did I have the courage to dethrone one of my my favorite teams, the Patriots? Hike!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Time to Dishonorably Discharge Joe

Review: G.I. Joe Retaliation

Think really hard; can you really even remember anything about the first G.I. Joe film? Channing Tatum was in it, sure, and maybe you have some vague recollection about the Eiffel Tower collapsing amidst a swirling cloud of green... something... (it was "nanomites"). Fret not, I - and the rest of the world, most likely - are in the same boat.

The studio clearly recognized the first movie's issues of camp, lack of logic and plausibility, and overall vapidness, so they brought in director Jon Chu with the hopes of turning to a serious page in G.I. Joe cinematic legacy. Why they thought the helmer of two Step Up films (a series which I actually do sort of like) and the Justin Bieber documentary would give their film quality street cred is beyond me.

Needless to say, it didn't work.

G.I. Joe Retaliation has the same unstimulating and sporadic troubles of its predecessor. Allow me to share the two funniest (although accurate) quotes from the rating website, RottenTomatoes:

The First Modern Family

Review: The Croods

I had no real interest in seeing The Croods this weekend. But when I let my friend choose which movie we would see, he responded that he had to support his idol Nicolas Cage (I'm relatively sure his fandom is half sarcastic, half sincere).

So there I sat, about to watch a cartoon I thought looked as if it would be about as stereotypical as they come. After all, didn't we essentially know the entire plot from the commercials? - A cavegirl falls for a boy who leads their family to safety from the destruction of shifting continents, but whom her father, a skeptic of all things new, distrusts.

But what a surprise. Although the story in The Croods does indeed unfold as predicted, it does so in an earnest and surprisingly funny sort of way, following up its rather familiar and dull first half with a much more engaging and inventive second half in which we can't help but root for the characters as they face seemingly insurmountable odds.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Get Out of My House!

Review: Olympus has Fallen

"Get out of my house!"

Not once does Gerard Butler (300) as a Secret Service agent or Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight) as the President of the United States growl out such a line in Harrison Ford/Air Force One/"Get off my plane" fashion. But nevertheless, Olympus has Fallen, the first of the year's two White House invasion movies, is a riveting action flick which hails back to such classic shoot 'em up films of decades past.

Directed by action guru Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Shooter), Olympus refuses to rush audiences along as it assembles its characters and story, which only draws us in all the more compared to lesser films which start with the biggest explosion and an assumption characters are the good guys because they are the primary protagonists.

Olympus instead actually lets us get to know its heroes before they invading forces arrive and, it turns out, these are damaged, relatable characters we actually like.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Does the Best Team Win the Super Bowl?

Unscripted NFL Power Rankings
2013 Offseason Pre-Free Agency

Yeah, yeah, yeah. The Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl. And, I will admit, they earned the win in that game against the San Francisco 49ers. But does the best team in the league always win the Super Bowl? I'd say no. The 2007 New England Patriots are the obvious, but perfect example, going all season without a loss until that infamous big game upset. I also bring the Patriots up because I happen to think they once again earned the honor of being the best team last season to not win the Super Bowl and that makes them my #1 ranked team as we enter the 2013 season (or at least, the 2013 offseason). But where does everyone else fall? Hike!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Oz the Surprisingly Good

Review: Oz the Great and Powerful

Good or Great? It's a common theme in the new film from director Sam Raimi (the Spiderman trilogy). As it is, Oz the Great and Powerful - with its wit, visual delights, and interesting origin story, despite some less than stellar plot and directional decisions - is somewhere in between.

Not that I'm complaining. As you may have picked up on in my review of Jack the Giant Slayer, it is tough to make a good update on age-old stories. So just the fact that Oz, even if not great, turned out to be more than good is a delight in and of itself.

Jack the Giant Sigh

Review: Jack the Giant Slayer

Remakes, Reboots, Prequels, Sequels, Spin-Offs, and Rehashes. They're what keep Hollywood up and running, providing an endless supply of material for new films. Which is amazing considering how many thousands of movies are made every year. How many are actually original? Well, if you talk to most literary people, they'll inform you of the widespread belief that there are really only seven stories in existence and therefore everything is really a copy of something else, or a combination of old ideas. Some even go so far as to say all stories share a singular, fundamental structure: the monomyth.

The more you think about it, the more it seems to make sense. And its getting more and more obvious. Within a three-month period this year, audiences will see not one, but two movies about the White House being invaded and the Secret Service fighting to save the President (Olympus Has Fallen, White House Down). Currently The Bible is proving to be a huge hit for The History Channel, while there is an upcoming Noah movie and a rumored Moses film.