Archive for February, 2012

Modern Action Star Memento 4: Taylor Lautner

The emo-vampire genre is extremely popular right now, and at the forefront, we have Twilight leading the pack. One major problem with this is the actors from these terrible movies are now in high demand. Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner all seem to have budding or blossoming careers due to this series. I have spared no expense when talking about what my true thoughts of Kristen Stewart are, and Robert Pattinson is not does not fall far behind. However, the worst of this trio has to be Taylor Lautner. Wow is he painful to watch. Putting that fact aside, he does receive the least amount of work when compared to his two Twilight costars, so he does not receive as much hate. (Actually, no one receives as much hate as Stewart). As long as Lautner remained in his little Twilight world, or did not venture from Shark Boy and Lava Girl, he could have easily been ignored; much like a terrible boy band.

Unfortunately for those of us who do wish for his shirt to be removed every time he’s on camera, Lautner decided to be adventurous. He recently starred in a movie called Abduction, which came out last September. Apparently the plot revolves around a teen (Lautner) who discovers that his picture from his early childhood is on a website for missing children. There is CIA involvement, murder, chase scenes, all of which are ingredients to an action movie. The plot to this movie is not important, what is important is Lautner is now invading our action movies. All I have to tell him, is stop, and go home. You are not wanted, needed, or appreciated in these movies.

One action movie certainly does not make Lautner an action star, but it is cause for concern. This actor cannot be allowed to star in action movies, or the genre is doomed.

February 21, 2012 at 10:00 am Leave a comment

Countdown to the Oscars; Moneyball

In Moneyball based on a novel of the same name, which follows Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) who at this point was the General Manager for the Oakland Athletics. He loses players to free agency who opt for more lucrative contracts in bigger markets. In order to have his team compete, and still keep his job, he recruits a computer young unknown computer wiz, who has come up with different ways to evaluate players (Jonah Hill).

This system as a whole did effect the way certain scouts evaluate players around the league. On Base Percentage (OBP.) and Slugging Percentage is now held in higher regard than a players Batting Average (AVG.). A prime example of a player who is more valued through this way of assessment is Nick Swisher, who is known to draw walks, therefore has a high OBP., despite having mediocre batting averages. One thing that is a bit odd to me, is that the team in the book/movie, did not go on to win anything, yet such a big deal is made out of it.

The film is up for the Best Picture Oscar, and rightfully so. It was well acted, well directed, and the screenplay was well written. Brad Pitt is up for Best Lead Actor, and Jonah Hill is up for Best Supporting Actor. Both did an excellent job. Johnah Hill is known for his work in comedies, but this movie truly showed the range he has as an actor. The fact that this team in real life did not do much, yet such an excellent movie was made, really speaks volumes about the  job the actors did.

I personally am rooting for this film to win. It seems as if The Artist, who will be touched upon in the next post, is the odds on favorite, but I will pull for the underdog much like Billy Beane in this movie.

February 21, 2012 at 6:14 am Leave a comment

They Call It Pro Football - Official Blog of NFL Films

Back in 1876, Theodore Roosevelt attended his first football game as an 18-year old freshman at Harvard University.  He and his cronies traveled to New Haven, Conn., to watch the second ever Harvard-Yale game.  Although his school lost, Roosevelt was hooked on the game and the sport.  To him, football had a social purpose — it helped turn boys into men.  But not everyone felt that way …

A group of progressives thought football was too violent and they sought to ban it.  In 1905, when the violence of football seemed to be getting out of hand, Roosevelt called together the coaches of Harvard, Yale, and Princeton and asked them to reform the game.  They created an organization to help regulate the game — an organization that eventually became the NCAA — and invented the forward pass rule which allowed for the game to be spread across the field and…

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February 20, 2012 at 10:01 pm Leave a comment

Hunger for the Games

If you’re not anticipating the Hunger Games, you clearly haven’t read Suzanne Collins’ books, and a word from the wise … go pick up a copy open the damn thing. I dare you to try to put it down and stop reading. I don’t read many books, but when I do I choose the best!

This book takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, where the Capitol rules over Panem (what used to be North America). Thirteen districts once existed but when an uprising occurred against the Capitol, District Thirteen was destroyed. As a result, the remaining districts were forced to sign a treaty agreeing to take part in the annual Hunger Games. A televised event that requires each district to sacrifice one boy and one girl to fight to the death while the rest of the country watches. Katniss Everdeen, our protagonist, is a girl from District Twelve who has faced a life of adversity already before she even turns 17. She lost her father in a mining accident and now she must provide for her mother and younger sister by hunting illegally outside the borders of the District with the help of her best friend, Gale. This year, Katniss was forced to participate in the Hunger Games and has promised to return home to her little sister. This story focuses on the trials and tribulations of Katniss, who is played by the upstart Jennifer Lawrence, while in the arena of the Games.

I don’t want to give away too much, but the cast includes Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemswoth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, and Lenny Kravitz. The movie will hit theaters on March 23, 2012.

Many Hunger Games fans hope that it will rival the likes of Harry Potter and the Twilight Saga, but personally, I would rather it just be a good time.

February 20, 2012 at 3:58 am Leave a comment

Second “I am Legend” Movie

I am Legend, is about one scientist surviving a post apocalyptic world, after a virus causes human beings to mutate. In the original story this mutation is into vampires, but in the most recent film adoption they are more similar to zombies. This one starred Will Smith, who is living alone in Manhattan, whose only companion is his dog. The movie explored him living in a world by himself, how he survives, adapts, and even socialized with store mannequins to maintain mental stability. During the day he is mobile, exploring the ruins of Manhattan, and even partaking in recreation. At night he hides in his home, because the zombies only explore come out at night.

This was a well written movie, with good acting and directing. Will Smith displayed a lot of range, showing he can pull off scenes by himself onscreen. Any post-apocalyptic movie can give many story arcs, showing both immediate and long-term effects. An I am Legend 2, is planned, with Will Smith scheduled reprise his role. This would be good news, except for one fact, he died in the first movie.

There was an alternate ending showing him surviving, however the theatrical ending showed him getting blown up. Unless this ending is completely disregarded, this new movie can only be a prequel. While showing how Manhattan and the world became a wasteland would be interesting, this was already somewhat addressed in the first movie.

I think making a prequel would be a mistake, and a sequel with Will Smith would not make sense. We shall see what direction they go.


February 19, 2012 at 7:10 am 1 comment

Modern Action Star Memento 3: Vin Diesel

Vin Diesel has played a tough guy in almost all of his movies. Hollywood has tried to breed this man to be the new Arnold or Sly, but have they been successful? Well to start let’s explore these actors early works.

Arnold began his career with a couple of duds, i.e. Hercules in New York, but really rose to fame when portraying the T-800 in The Terminator. This movie was not only a great action movie, but a great movie overall. It has been deemed a culturally significant film even close to 30 years after it was first released. Outside of the Terminator Franchise, there have been films like Predator, Eraser, True Lies, and even End of Days (the last one is a bit of a guilty pleasure). There was even a certain charm to films like Commando, or The Running Man, which made them watchable and enjoyable.

Sly’s two most acclaimed movies were Rocky and First Blood, both of which are not overhyped at all. These films are both classic, and Stallone’s monologue at the end of First Blood, is one of the more powerful in cinematic history. Even with terrible films such as Stop of Mom Will Shoot or Judge Dredd, Stallone has a few amazing notches on his belt, and even in horrible movies, Stallone still has that undeniably charismatic screen presence.

Vin Diesel’s early works constituted XXX, The Fast and the Furious, and Pitch Black. None of these were great movies, and they were campy as action movies at best. So when he did The Pacifist, the credibility VD had accumulated was not on the same level as Arnie’s prior to filming Junior.

I actually do enjoy Vin Diesel for the most part, but he really is not an amazing on-screen presense. For now, Vinny Baby is probably the best we have, which is a sad reminder of what used to be.

February 17, 2012 at 9:05 am Leave a comment

The Decendants; Countdown to the Oscars

Another film which is up for best picture is The Decedents. The Descendants is a highly critically acclaimed film, which stars George Clooney, whose wife goes into a coma after a jet-skiing accident. Upon learning that she will never come out of the coma, it is decided that the she needs to come off life support. Clooney’s character then proceeds to break the news to family and friends, in order for them to have one last chance to say goodbye. This film explores the relationship between family members, as they deal with the impending tragedy of losing a loved one. It also explores the forgiveness, and letting go of our anger toward someone before it is too late.

There are two major subplots in this movie. The first being, Clooney’s family owns a tremendous amount of land which is essentially all forest. The extended family wants to sell the land, and throughout the film, the pros and cons are weighed. Another subplot occurs when Clooney’s teenage daughter reveals that his comatose wife was having an affair. Clooney devotes time and energy into tracking this man down.

Overall the acting in this movie is very good. Clooney plays an excellent lead, and almost the entire main cast is strong, save for Clooney’s younger daughter who is just a kid. Clooney deserves the nomination he received for best leading actor. Although the acting was strong, I felt this movie was somewhat boring, and tended to drag on. It was supposed to be a character study, exploring the changes a man faces after a life altering event, and it does this well. The movie itself just becomes too uninteresting half way through.

February 15, 2012 at 8:46 am Leave a comment

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