Friday, October 16, 2009

Jennifer's Body (Kusama 2009)




'Jennifer's Body' was fantastic! I haven't watched the same movie three times in theaters in one week since, "The Descent". It's not scary, it's just a brilliant script (no surprise) from Diablo Cody, and brilliantly performed by Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried. I expected a simple skin piece given the Megan Fox hype, but she was really funny, and needs to be taken seriously. Visually glorious panoramic shots coupled with a spicy, witty take on pop culture with a strong feminist message. I didn't forget you gore-hounds, either- there's plenty of that here, too. Well done to everyone involved on this project. I look forward to the director's cut and devouring the commentary by Diablo Cody and cast.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

MLB 2009 Playoffs

Well, it's been a hectic summer, with the past few weeks being particularly chaotic. I still managed to come in first place in 3 out of 4 ESPN fantasy baseball leagues. Not bad for my first year. NFBC next year. That being said, here are my 2009 MLB playoff predictions:

ALCS-LAA vs NYY

I'm taking NYY in 7.

NLCS-LAD vs PHI

If you would have asked me a month ago I would have said hands down Philly, but with the recent woes of Brad Lidge, and the upsurge of LA, this series is the easier of the two to predict. LA in 5.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

More Scoops...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Dune

I love Star Wars, LOTR's, and many of the new superhero films, but I have always maintained that given a blockbuster budget coupled with new advancements in special effects/digital effects, that a cinematic version of 'Dune' could emerge as the greatest sci-fi/fantasy film ever made. My theory will be put to the test in 2010, as Paramount and Peter Berg (Hancock) are teaming up to make a new adaptation of Frank Herbert's classic, 'Dune' novel. David Lynch's 1984 film adaptation was a noble effort, but special effects technology of the time just couldn't accomadate the scope of Herbert's 'Dune'. The difficulty in creating a successful 'Dune' film has always been in the complexity of the plot, and the telepathic/prescient nature of the player's involved. Particularly difficult is the ability to translate on-screen the Bene Gesserit slight hand and eye gestures that comprise their esoteric language with any sense of credibility (I maintain this can simply be done with subtitles during scenes that involve their communications with one another, rather than the voice-overs used by Lynch). The Sci-Fi Channel did a decent job on this series, but budget constraints prevented them from involving the technical and creative talent necessary to translate Herbert's literary brilliance and grandeur on-screen.


My excitement about Peter Berg directing this partly hinges on my anticipation that he will once again team up with visual effects supervisor John Dykstra. Dykstra is responsible for seamlessly grafting the on-set action sequences in 'Hancock' with digital effects. Too often the correlation of actors with cg is an eyesore- not so with Dykstra. He was also the visual effects supervisor for Spider Man (I and II), and 'Inglourious Basterds' (along with a slew of other films, see his profile on IMDB for the full list). In order for this film to be effective it must be at least 2 1/2 hours long, with the full intention of a trilogy. There are just too many plots, schemes, and "plans within plans" to cram into one 'Dune' film.


The perfect storm is brewing for the greatest science fiction story ever told to be translated into one of the greatest science fiction movies (and hopefully trilogies) ever! Eat your heart out George "Toy Boy" Lucas (credit Smith's Clerks II) and Peter Jackson- Dune is on the horizon.

Here are some other blog entries I've written on Dune:


Dune Prequels

Hunters of Dune

Sandworms of Dune

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Terminator Salvation (McG 2009)

This was a decent sci-fi flick that felt like it missed the mark because of all the hype. Mario Kassar's, "Terminator", franchise has been at the forefront of special effects technology in film for the past three decades. The fourth edition had most of what the others had, but didn't do anything in the way of new techniques or groundbreaking effects. That would have been fine, given that 'T2' was light years ahead of special effects techniques, and part of the new wave of 100 million dollar big-action blockbusters, if 'Salvation' would have given more in the way of dramatic performance, or injecting life into the weird notion of a futuristic prequel. Unfortunately, 'Salvation' missed the mark on every scale of measurement, with the exception of chase action sequences. If you love watching apocalyptic resistance fighters dodge bullets, then 'Terminator Salvation' is for you. Shiny things, big fires, and fully automatic rifles with endless ammo, and bullet dodging. At least even in the far-fetched world of, 'Terminator', they didn't fathom incorporating the curved-bullet concept and all of the ridiculous science that goes into that (see, "Wanted"). My bottom line on this film is that it was interesting, until you realized that there would be nothing more to this film than shiny things and Christian Bale on the run. Not a total waste of time, but not highly recommended. You could stand to wait for this one to come out on dvd.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The Switch Pitcher

Bizarre and amazing. Let's see if this kid develops into a real prospect. I don't know the mlb rules on this (I doubt there is one), but how weird would it be for him to pitch from both sides against the same batter? Talk about giving a guy a bunch of different looks!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

A Tribute to Legendary Filmmaker Michael Bay

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Taking the Fantasy Plunge

I'm officially a geek. Ok, I've been a sci-fi/horror geek for a while, but now I've entered the realm of fantasy baseball. If my geekyness was ever in question, the argument is now settled. I will be spending the MLB season mulling over player notes, crunching the stats, and probably watching the game differently. I'm hoping to balance out being a baseball fan (TX Rangers), and following my fantasy team. I never want to be that guy that roots against his team in the hopes for bettering my fantasy team. I have noticed it has broadened my perspective on the league. In years past I've paid little attention to the National League, but since I'm in a mixed league, those days are over. I think that's a good thing. It will definitely force me to do a better job keeping up with stats, and hopefully that will translate to a more well rounded sports show on BTR. As if anyone cares...here's the Virginia Trashcan OJO's Fantasy Baseball Roster for 2009:

Batters:

C Russel Martin, LAD
1B Justin Morneau, MIN
2B Brian Roberts, BAL
3B Chris Davis, TEX
SS Hanley Ramirez, TB
2B/SS Mark Derosa, CLE
1B/3B Carlos Delgado, NYM
OF Ichiro Suzuki, SEA
OF Josh Hamilton, TEX
OF Adam Dunn, WAS
OF Xavier Nady, NYY
OF Nelson Cruz, TEX
UTIL Carlos Guillen, DET 1B, 3B
Bench Chase Headley, SD OF

Pitchers:

RP Kevin Gregg, ChC
SP James Shields, TB
SP AJ Burnett, NYY
SP Jon Lester, Bos
SP Adam Wainwright, Stl
SP Rich Harden, ChC
SP Gil Meche, KC
SP Hiroki Kiroda, LAD
RP Chad Qualls, ARI
SP Randy Johnson, SF
SP Mark Buerhle, CWS

On ESPN 10 team 5x5 rotisserie. I would greatly appreciate some feedback from some fantasy pros on my first fantasy baseball draft.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Cutler Trade

Well, it seems inevitable that Cutler will be traded. This is a huge disappointment. Denver fans- we were so spoiled during the Elway era, and every QB change reinforces this point. The key to any successful team is the QB position, and we are starting all over again; again. Griese, Maddox, Plummer, Cutler, and now, who knows. Cutler's rise to prominence seemed reminescent of Elway. Cutler actually started out his NFL career stronger than Elway, and I felt like we were a few defensive moves away from a Super Bowl appearance. I don't think Cutler realizes how good he had it in Denver. The fans are extremely loyal, and won't jump ship on a guy like they will in Philly, New York, or Dallas (and a number of other cities). I guess it's better to see the whiner in him now than three years from now, but either way it's a major setback for Denver. We won't replace him in a trade. I normally wish exiting Denver players/coaches a warm farewell, this is not the case with Cutler. So long, and I'll leave it at that.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

OJ's Sleepy Puppy Pic

Thursday, March 19, 2009

NCAA March Madness 2009

I know, it's a little late, but I'm only calling one team- University of Utah Runnin' Utes are going to be in the elite 8. Wait, I'll up the ante- Utah wins it all, and while I'm at it, Denver wins Super Bowl in 2010. Now do you see why I don't bet sports? I just can't help calling my teams to win every game, every championship, year-in, year-out. I pray no one every takes my predictions to the bank.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Beauty and the Beast

Saturday, March 14, 2009

GURPS Quote of the Day

This is a couple weeks old, and I didn't have the pleasure of being there. In the grand tradition of old here on TOJB, here is the GURPS quote of the week:

"I don't like the looks of that tree. Let's kill it!" -leader Steev to the rest of his party

Sunday, March 01, 2009

ShevaCon 2009

Battle Tested R2 Unit
Destruction and Firebird
Jabba's New Flapper Girl
Death Star Love
B. Fett and Co.
SuperBadass...Last American Hero
Get Your Hands Off Her You Damn Dirty Ape
Group Shot

Mercs
Here, Lizard, Lizard, here...
You Will Pay!

R2KT and K8

Edible Ringworld by The Magnificent Cakistadore Carla B.



Clash of Empires

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Super Bowl Prediction 2009

Arizona 27


Pittsburgh 20



Arizona jumps up early. Big Ben makes 3 turnovers trying to come back. Kurt Warner MVP.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Utah's Sweet Victory Over SEC Powerhouse Alabama


First off, I'm biased. I went to the University of Utah. I'm not going to start ranting about Utah's right to be crowned the AP National Champs. I do have a couple of rants about some of the pre-game coverage, and the lack of respect shown the Utes during that coverage. Hats off to Herbstreet, as he at least gave the Utes a chance. Then there is Barry Switzer. The only thing that would make Utah's victory over 'Bama in the Sugar Bowl sweeter would be to acquire the off-air video of Barry Switzer during the game. Switzer made the pre-game statement that Alabama wouldn't have recruited any of Utah's players out of high school. I don't even dispute the point he was making, it was his smug attitude while he was making those remarks that burned me up. I love how these old school, salty-dog coaches like Switzer and Holtz automatically dismiss schools like Utah, BYU, Boise St., TCU etc just because they aren't a part of NCAA's good 'ole boy system. The amazing thing to me is that Utah and other Mountain West Conference schools, and the Boise States can play with, and sometimes beat SEC, Big 12, and Big 10 schools despite the obvious disadvantages they have in recruiting top tier players. Every conference has it's up years and down years, and if anyone was watching the Mountain West Conference this year (I'm going to assume Switzer never watched a single quarter of MWC football), they would have seen that this year the Mountain West was tougher than a few of the BCS conferences. I believe TCU would have beaten Alabama as well. For crying out loud Wyoming went to Tennessee and beat them! Even the Wyoming win for Utah was no gimme game. I'm not going to say that Utah would have gone undefeated in the SEC, but then, the only team that was undefeated in the SEC was Alabama (as Saban put it, undefeated in a, "real" conference). We all saw what Utah did to Alabama. Utah made Alabama look like they didn't even belong in the same class. I hope the millions of people that watched this Sugar Bowl will realize that the Mountain West is for real. Ask Florida Gators coach Urban Myer (Utah's coach when he went undefeated 3 years ago) if he thinks going undefeated in the Mountain West is an easy feat. We'll see what happens Thursday, but I believe the only team in the country that beats this Utah team is Florida, and that game could go either way. Without a playoff system we will never know. Go Utes!

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Mike Shanahan Fired




I would have loved to end the year with a post about the Broncos' prospects in the playoffs. Instead I am addressing Shanahan's firing, following one of the worst regular season losses by Denver in the last decade. I'm sad to see Mike go. He did so much for Denver, bringing them out of their early to mid-nineties funk under Wade Phillips. I have always admired some of his gutsy offensive playcalling, and the leadership, class, and dignity he brought to the team. He will be missed. All to often firing a coach is an unnecessary hair-trigger response to losing. The Bronco Nation will forever be indebted to the Shanahan era for bringing us our first Super Bowl victory. Sure, it was Elway's team. We could have never won without that crushing defense led by Romanoski, or the Hall of Fame efforts of Davis and Sharpe. But there are many teams out there with marquee talent that don't win Super Bowls (see this year's Cowboys). Shanahan maximized the effectiveness of that Hall of Fame talent to bring two Championships, and a string of playoff appearances. One stat that may justify the need for change in Denver is that Shanahan has only won one playoff game since Elway left. I would have been happy to see Shanahan retire with Denver, but maybe change is needed. I wish him the best in his future endeavors. I can only hope he doesn't coach for another AFC West team. Best wishes, Mike!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

How 'Bout Them Runnin' Utes!


About the only thing I agree with Obama on is the playoff system for NCAA football...maybe he'll nationalize it like everything else!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Scoop Is In: 1920's Reporter Guy

Finally a sports journalist with a sense of humor...Scoops "gets it". Enjoy:




Note: Bill B. is the kind of guy you wouldn't piss on if his head was on fire.








Notice how Mack Brown doesn't skip a beat when asked a question in 1920's reporter speak by Scoops...Is Brown showing is age here?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Saw V (Hackl, 2008)


Saw V is Saw IV. Saw IV is Saw III. Saw III is Saw II. Etcetera, etcetera. By the way, Saw is Saw V. Take every script, change some characters, throw in a plot twist at the end, and you've got Saw VI. It wouldn't be so bad if they went in a completely different direction, I dunno, something good. Now that audiences are desensitized to the torture porn phenomena, film makers are going to either have to up the ante on grotesque, stomach-turning torture (not a direction I recommend), or return to creating fear through ambience and suspense. The Saw franchise was tired after episode III. The only reason they are selling tickets to Saw V is the timing of the release. It's Halloween, and people are craving a scare. So what if they leave dissappointed, they're still leaving with less money in their pocket than when they showed up to the cinema. The film studios win once again. They just crank out a film from the Saw franchise film factory, and the hordes slowly creep in. If the audiences that fill the theatres to see another Saw title were to be filmed, you might get a good trailer for a new zombie flick. Come to think of it, I thought I heard some muffled, moaning cries for, 'brains' on my way into the theatre last night. Creepy.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

New to Ink? What Not To Get...

Thinking of getting a tattoo? If you don't have one already, please read this first!

I have compiled a list of the top five cheesiest tattoos to-date. Nothing says, "sad", like someone showing off that fresh cookie-cutter tat. Most people (myself included) have a tattoo or tattoos that they regret, and ultimately pay to have it covered up. While I'm grateful that I have never sported the following tattoos, I understand that we all make mistakes. If you have one of these, don't take it personal, I'm just trying to help the next generation of collectors.

#1: Arm Bands


Nothing screams narcissistic meat-head like a barbed-wire arm band. It doesn't make you look tough, it makes you look like you've picked up more dumbbells than books.
Examples


#2: Tramp Stamp


Don't feel bad for thinking about getting one, as long as you don't go through with it. Ever see a heap of trash peaking out of a dumpster? Get one of these and that's what people will see when you're wearing one of those trendy 'lil tank tops. Don't worry though, you can't see them snicker from behind.
Examples


#3: Tribal


Unless this is an ancestral tradition, you have no business going with tribal. You're not George Clooney in, "From Dusk 'Till Dawn", no matter how much tribal you go with. For the ultimate expression of lackluster creativity, see the following formula: Tribal + Arm Band = Dull.Examples


#4: Name That Ex


Don't curse the love of your life by putting their name on you! One for the price of two! Tattoo artists love doing these; it's only a matter of time before you're paying them again for a cover-up. Do you really need an example?


#5: Chinese Symbol


Ever see a Chinese person with a single syllable noun written in English on their body? Me neither, so why is it cool for an American that most likely took Spanish as their second language to get a Chinese symbol tattoo? Answer- it's not. Love, Strength, Peace etc, just keep this in mind- most of the time you end up getting the wrong translation. You look at that fresh tattoo in the mirror and see the Chinese symbol for, "Strength". Go to Beijing and a crowd of onlookers gather to gawk at the stupid American that has, "Diarrhea" tattooed on their arm. No matter what Chinese symbol you choose, the final translation is always, "lame".Examples



Note- Thanks to Kate for helping me put this list together!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Creepy Robot, Cyberdyne, and the Prescience of Philip K. Dick

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What?!?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Denver is Back

What an amazing finish to a game at home for the Denver Broncos! This is the year. They have been in a Super Bowl every decade since the 70's, and the 2000's won't be any different. Denver wins it all this year!

Monday, August 18, 2008

WMD In Iraq

Friday, August 15, 2008

OJO Prepares To Charge

Saturday, July 26, 2008

X-Files: I Want To Believe (Carter, 2008)


I don't even know where to begin. I've been looking forward to this film for months. I was a huge fan of the series, but let me be blunt from the beginning- any one of the weekly episodes (that had both Fox and Scully as characters) was better than this newest addition to the saga. I haven't been this disappointed with entertainment since I was 11 years old and I found out that WWF wrestling wasn't real. Chris Carter was gracious enough to slip in some humor aimed at fans of the series, but honestly, I might have missed some because I was perpetually on the verge of dozing off throughout this flick. Please, someone out there that has seen this movie- tell me what I missed! Tell me that I just don't, "get it", that there was a deeper philosophical aspect of the film that my shallow mind is not able to interpret, tell me that and give me your interpretation, please. What I watched last night was a film about a pedophile that has visions that helped the FBI catch a group of mad-scientists that are detaching heads from hapless victims, and attaching their bodies to a russian-born man. Was this a government conspiracy? No. Was this an alien experiment? No. The whole purpose of the murders was so that a gay man could keep his, "husband" alive for as long as possible. Did Carter envision himself getting an Oscar for making a sci-fi version of, "Brokeback Mountain"? Of all the possible plots that the X-Files vault has to choose from, how in the world did Carter sit down with Spotnitz and say, "wow, this is the direction we need to go- a pedophile priest that challenges skeptical minds to open themselves up to the idea of God and faith". This movie was a jumbled attempt at social commentary, at best. I am dumbfounded. I have a little theory for how poor films get made: everyone involved in the project gets so enamored with the day-to-day grind of the film making process that no one takes the time to step back and question the direction the project is heading. Surely someone involved had to see this bomb coming, but perhaps that someone didn't have the clout or bravado to approach Carter and say something along the lines of, "hey, I've been analyzing what we're putting together here, and I must say it sucks. If our aim is to create a sleeping aid for insomniacs, we might be on to something, but if making an entertaining film for our fans is the goal, then we are terribly off course". Way to go Carter, you've just put the nail in the coffin for the X-Files saga. No way in hell is this film going to bring new fans, and I'm going to predict that this one isn't going to make the studios the kind of money they counted on. Maybe in several years, when people forget how bad this film is, another X-Files will get the green light. If that does happen, I suggest Chris Carter sit on the sidelines and let someone else direct, because what I saw last night was painfully flat.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Quote of the Day

From Walid Phares' book, 'The Confrontation: Winning the War Against Future Jihad'.

"Ironically, the deepest, broadest socioeconomic root of Jihadism in the Middle East is the rich regimes' practice of depriving their masses of the benefits of the region's enormous wealth; instead of guiding the region toward modernity, they have deliberately pushed it backward. It is not the wealthy West that keeps the Middle East poor, it is the rich segment of the Middle East itself that does so. Instead of offering youngsters education, they have provided indoctrination, raising a generation not of doctors and lawyers but of Jihadists and suicide bombers." pg 31

"A popular theory among some elite critics of the U.S. intervention in Iraq argues that the war was all about direct seizure of oil. In fact, the era of intervening lawlessly and seizing natural resources in other countries- as was the case in the nineteenth century- is over. First, international law forbids it, but more important is the fact that the economy of oil is open. Saddam's and any other regime were selling petroleum at will. The real oil dimension nowadays is that as a result of American and Western companies' deals with oil producing regimes, U.S. policy has been affected and human rights have been abandoned." pg 69

I recommend going to walidphares.com for further reading on the global threat of Jihadism.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Another Day at the Office

Girl getting double teamed!!

Just another day at the office for Kate and Ryan.

Friday, June 06, 2008

The Strangers (Bertino, 2008)


This one is a gem. Simple, short, sweet, and creepy as hell. That sums up Bertino's, "The Strangers". This is one of the most down-to-earth horror movies I've seen in a while. No weird, supernatural, schizoid explanations for the terror- just overwhelmingly eery. Strangers plays on our sense of well-being; we are not as safe as we think we are, even in our own home. Bertino uses sound and lighting to create a mood that is unnerving, and continuously speaks to the impending doom that each scene foretells. This film was rare in that it was completely true to the trailer- if you thought the trailer was creepy, then you'll think Strangers is creepy. If you're too cynical to enjoy an old-fashioned horror movie (minus the excessive gore), then you won't enjoy Strangers. Either way, with the trailer what you see is what you get. Bertino doesn't stray from the central theme of the trailer- a couple in a house, being tormented by Strangers. He keeps pace throughout- when it was time to wrap things up, he did so. This one doesn't drag things out like many horror movies, which start out strong, then flicker and die. Finally a horror movie that doesn't play to the cop-out ending! 'Keep it simple stupid'- I wish more directors would stick to that mantra when making horror movies. Highly recommended!