August 31, 2009

Fantasy Update #10 (Baseball 2009...yes still)

Ok Baseball season is drawing to an end and Football Season is creeping in on us, so lets do a baseball update and then we will follow it up with a football draft spectacular. My Red Sox have slipped a bit, my predication that Zobrist and Jeter would slow down has been clearly wrong, and major trades have reversed the power of my two teams. RedSoxRevenge (League One) is firmly in 3rd place, and Soxtown (League Two) is shockingly and fairly strongly holding onto first place. Let's break it down.

League One (RedSoxRevenge)-At last visit I had picked up Hanley Ramirez and Kendry Morales, well Han-Ram I traded away for Zack Grienke and Ryan Franklin. Again at some point (at least in non-head to head leagues and non-keeper leagues) you have to trade for need and not hold on too tightly to the guys whose stats you have a good lead in. The downside to trading Hanley who I love, is that David Wright went down the very next day, I was sure the Fantasy Gods had decided to punish me. So quickly my new lineup that has been altered via trade and moves looks like this:

1B-Derek Lee 2nd-Chase Utley 3rd-Mike Lowell SS-Ben Zobrist OF-Manny Ramirez OF-Jayson Werth OF-Kendry Morales UTIL-Raul Ibanez C-Jorge Posada

This lineup lost Holiday and Han-Ram to trade, and David Wright to injury...but again the RBI/Runs/HR's didn't need the help I pushed up Werth to replace Holiday (Werth had earned it) and added Lowell to replace Wright who I hope returns soon. Zobrist was a Han-Ram replacement and has been fine. A-Ram and Soto sit on my bench. My lead in those offensive stats is in no jeopardy. It was my pitching that was falling apart.

Pitching: SP-Zack Greinke SP-Edwin Jackson SP-Randy Wolf SP-Ryan Dempster SP-Tommy Hansen SP-Rickey Nolasco Relief: Ryan Franklin, Joe Nathan, Brian Funtes, and Kerry Wood.

The pitching which was falling apart pre-trades, is getting back on track...I have a shot to make up ground in Saves with Franklin back on this team, and Wood has been Ok as well. I finally got the ace I wanted in Zack Grienke, where as Nolasco, Dempster, and even E-Jax all scare me start to start. Randy Wolf has been great and probably starts game two of the playoffs for the dodgers (crazy right?)

League Two (Soxtown)-At last check here I had just picked up Chase Utley and Kendry Morales...I gave up Adam Dunn and Ryan Franklin (two good players having good years). So have those moves worked...Um Yeah...shockingly this team that was riddled with injuries and so thin at pitching finds itself in first place...not to borrow a line from the A-Team but "I love it when a plan comes together" (insert theme music here). Lineup looks like this.

1b-Kendry Morales 2nd-Chase Utley 3rd-Kevein Youkillis SS-Alexei Ramirez OF-Grady Sizemore OF-Andre Ethier OF-Michael Cuddyer UTIL-Dustin Pedroia

The lineup looks a little patchwork at first glance, but the MVP like play of Kendry and the resurgence of Andre Ethier has really lifted this team in power stats...Having both Youk and Pedroia in the lineup has helped immensely and when Sizemore plays he's pretty good. Clint Barmes and Josh Willingham sit on my bench. Again this league did need help in offense, however the pitching was a nightmare...and believe or not it has also improved.

Pitching: SP-Jon Lester SP-Cliff Lee SP-Jason Marquis SP-Tommy Hansen Relief: Brad Lidge, Brian Fuentes, Bobby Jenks, Fernando Rodney, and Neftali Feliz.

Cliff Lee exploded to help me take the top spot in wins, and Lester has been ace-like. Jason Marquis just kept winning and I couldn't ignore that. Tommy Hansen has been nice as well. I was dominating the saves category but was losing ground there for a bit so I decided to hold onto my closers who I dangled in trades. I was able to reduce my ERA which was firmly in last place at last check it is now in 2nd to last (not bad huh...took a lot of work to get there) and my whip has been improved quite a bit.

Some Advice from the guy in 1st and 3rd: Probably too late now to do much, most trade deadlines have passed and there isn't too much else on the wire left. Keep an eye on September Call-Ups and make sure your lineups are in good order daily so you don't leave "unplayed games" on the table. Also if your chasing only AVG might be time to bench those guys who go 1-5 everyday.

Stars to keep an eye on-Tazawa and Bucholz on the Red Sox are doing well, and even Paul Byrd is worth a win or two. Alex Gonzalez and Chase Headley are both probably out there for you to grab. Jamie Moyer has pitched very well cleaning up for Pedro and even a Ryan Dempster may have found his way onto the wavier pool. Also Tim Hudson is on his way back and his make and style should show immediate success.

Good luck to all in the stretch run and hopefully I go two for two!

August 24, 2009

Coming Soon !!!

I review Tarentinos's new film Inglorious Basterds, and I Fantasy Update both my Baseball League Status's and My two Football Drafts...stay tuned!

August 16, 2009

Movie Review #17 GI JOE: Rise of Cobra

G I JOE: Rise Of Cobra (2009) Sienna Miller, Joseph Gordon-Levitt Directed by Stephen Sommers

Sommers has made some interesting light action films with The Mummy and Van Helsing...both are fine, they won't teach you anything, and you'll forget them quickly, but in the theater with the loud noises and the explosions...they are just about right. He Tackles one of my favorite childhood cartoons here in G I JOE (does that show my age?...wait do I have to worry about things showing my age now?...Ok settle down). I saw this film with a good friend of mine who is the same age as me and complained to him the whole time...Duke is a bad actor!...Where is shipwreck?...Marlon Waynes, whose call was that?...and so on. But by the end he brought me back with "dude it was a cartoon and the movie was like the giant toy commercial"...he was right and sadly I really wanted to play with the toys...even now...I would so buy them if I thought I could still get laid every once in awhile with G I JOE toys in my house. (you can't trust me...don't try). So I will go easy on this film and actually I can tell you now that I would see the sequel (if it does well enough...which almost 100 mill in ten days indicates it will). Let me get the complaints out of the way though...Dennis Quaid who plays Gen Hawk really hams it up in a lackluster fact I don't know if I have ever seen him this bad in a film. The story is ridiculous and feels like it was pieced together in about ten minutes. Duke is a bad actor (Chris Pine set the bar high in Star Trek...Channing Tatum sucks here...and it blows to not like the main guy) and way too young looking. Ok wait a few more...I must cleanse...Gordon-Levitt who is Oscar bait in 500 Days of Summer is um silly as Cobra Commander here (but maybe in the sequel he will do better) and finally Marlon F-ing Waynes tortures us with some really forced one-liners that are just not funny and painfully awkward. Ok, Ok I feel better now...despite all that G I JOE is actually very watchable. Snake Eyes (Ray Park...of Darth Maul fame) and StormShadow(Byung-hun Lee) are awesome. The Baroness Sienna Miller) and Scarlett (Rachel Nichols) are both smoking hot and Destro (played well by Christopher Eccelston) steals most of the scenes he is in (not that he competes with anyone with any acting chops here). The story goes like this, Duke(Channing Tatum) and Ripcord (Marlon Waynes) get caught up delivering a secret weapon to someone, and the JOE's come in to help...then they recruit them and...well whatever its a silly story. I could write you a novel explaining it and you still wouldn't get it...because it makes no sense( I thought knowing was half the battle?...they all look confused in this film)...however Zartan (played by the guy who played the Mummy in The Mummy) ends up being a vital character...and Cobra Commander ends up with his mask on by the end, the rest is not important. It is well paced and the action is pretty good. I like the training scenes but there probably should have been more, and there is a nice surprise in there as well. I assume there will be more characters added on if they make more movies as some biggies were missed (Flint, Shipwreck, Roadblock...where are you?). All in all the sets and costumes were pretty cool, and the characters held it together enough to keep you in it. The vehicles and the nifty JOE weapons were pretty cool, and again if I was a kid I would live in Toys R Us after I saw this. You won't understand it, you probably won't like Duke, and you will wonder how A terrorist group was able to build a superstructure fortress under the water with nobody noticing...but whatever...G I JOE is worth seeing if you are a fan of the cartoon, and if you are going to see it, make sure its on the big screen. I recommend this action movie to the hardcore fans, and those of you who have young teenage boys as kids and money to spend on toys.

(The Shawshank Scale 1-10) Um the Baroness and Scarlett, Paris getting attacked, and Destro, Cobra Commander, and Zartan all vying for power are enough to earn a respectable 6.0 for The Real American Hero's...however I expect more from the sequel...but if it ends up dropping off like Fantastic Four part 2's over for me. (I'm keeping my action figure receipts just in case)

Food For Thought: Sommers has a disaster flick coming out next year called When Worlds Collide. Miller has Hippie Hippie Shake coming soon and Quaid looks to redeem himself by playing former President Bill Clinton in The Special Relationship coming in 2011.

August 12, 2009

Movie Review #16 500 Days of Summer

500 Days of Summer (2009) Zooey Deschanel Joseph Gordon-Levitt Directed by Marc Webb

The good movies are starting to sneak out one by one...which must mean the summer is coming to an end...and for movie goers...I think I speak for us all when I can't we have better movies in the summer (really robots and transforming robots...we can do better)? Well whatever the years number 2 great film has just shown up at theaters and it is none other than the honest and beautifully written love story...that is not a love story, called 500 Days of Summer. Joseph Gordon-Levitt does a brilliant job being the wussy greeting card writer Tom Hansen, he like many of us is in love with the idea of Love. Zooey Deschanel (an absolutely fascinating creature) plays Summer Finn the one who thinks love is a fairy tale, and honestly you just can't take your eyes off of these two. The chemistry is non-stop and carries the movie all the way through. Tom meets Summer at work and after some awkward attempts, the two hit it off in a romance that is destined to last well um around 500 days? It is somewhat complicated, not your typical tale of boy meets girl, let's just say that. The Story is really written well ( I am really jealous I didn't write this) by Michael Weber and Scott Neustadter. In addition the direction and cinematography in the film are beyond cool. Marc Webb knows how to make it feel both like a legit Romantic Comedy and a thoughtful Art House film...and to his credit it works as both masterfully. Geoffrey Arend and Matt Gubler do a nice job as Tom's friends in the film, and the very pretty Minka Kelly shows up for a brief but effective little part. This film is so honest about love (we have all been here...or if you haven't you suck cause I have) that it makes you feel both sad and relieved that you are not the only one who may think or feel like these two people. The actors were so spot on in delivering the story that I really hope they work together again. The Hurt Locker was great, and as far as I can see right's only real competition is 500 Days of Summer...a truly great film. Go see now!!

(The Shawshank Scale 1-10) Zooey Deschanel and Cobra Commander in love...honestly it works better than you think and a wonderful story that really hits home for some deserves nothing less than a best picture worthy 8.0...a must see this year.

Food For Thought: I had both a French Vanilla Latte and a mix of Espresso and Birthday cake Ice now I have to work out lol. Zooey Deschanel has Your Highness filming now, and I have heard good things about a DVD movie called Gigantic so check those out. Levit has G I Joe (Move Review #17) out now and Elektra Luxx coming soon about a pregnant porn star...also a film called Hesher co starring the great Natalie Portman. Marc Webb's next work is non-other than Jesus Christ yeah...that's all I got. Go see 500 Days of Summer before Autumn falls!!!!!

DVD Review #18 17 Again

17 Again (2009) Zac Efron, Thomas Lennon Directed by Burr Steers

The director Burr Steers directed Igby Goes Down which was a great little 2002 movie,does a solid job here with 17 Again. The first 15 minutes of the movie feel lazy and tired...but this "Big", old to young, or "Mr. Destiny", if I could do it again...story is one that has been used many times for a is entertaining. Mike O'Donnell played well by both Mathew Perry (nice to see him again) and Zac Efron (this pretty boy can act...really) is a guy who can't let go of the idea that his life would've have been better if some things went a little different. After a run in with a mystical janitor he gets to find out...sorta. Thomas Lennon (of Reno 911 and the State fame) is hilarious as his best friend and Leslie Mann (always easy to watch) is very funny as his wife. The surprise here is that I was not won over by the story (which again is lazy) or really the laughs (kinda cheap at times) but Zac Efron...yeah the High School Musical guy who can surprisingly act. He actually was like Matt Perry a few times and I was shocked. I think this kid has a bright future and I'm surprised to think think that I guess. 17 again is predictable, but you will laugh, it is cheesy, but you will feel some emotion, and it is lazy but you won't care...because it is good enough to entertain, and in the end that's what we are looking for when we are chilling on the couch watching a flick to relax...which this one works great for.

The Steers and Efron link up again on The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud which looks interesting. Mann can currently be seen in Funny People and Lennon is back on the beat with the new season of Reno 911. Matthew Perry has something called Dwon and Dirty pictures coming out later this year which is about the rise of the independent film in the 90's...hmmm

(The Shawshank Scale 1-10) It doesn't put your brain in overdrive, and it doesn't strike you as all that memorable...but by the end you will have liked the rental...I give 17 Again a solid 6.0 and I hope to see more of all this cast Perry, Mann, Lennon, and Efron.

August 9, 2009

Football 2009 Preview (with Fantasy Ranking update)

Ok so it is time to issue the predictions for the 2009 season, in addition to this I will make a few comments and drop a few thoughts...of which you are expected to disagree and comment (please I need something to do!!). Also I have updated my top 25 and top 10's for Fantasy as my drafts are coming fast and my strategy is changing. (by the way please don't scroll all the way down to my 2009 baseball predictions...because the Mets over the Sox in 6 with Dice-K as the MVP isn't looking that great lol...but at least I didn't go back and edit it...stupid integrity:)

NFC EAST: Eagles 11-5 Cowboys 10-6 Giants 7-9 Redskins 7-9 (The bEast) does not quite live up to the best division in football but the divisional games are all tough again. The Eagles with there savvy offense and maturing Wide Receiver core (led by DeSean Jackson) lead them to divisional title. The Cowboys get it together enough to win and the Skins QB situation maybe solidifies. ?? (Stars of Division-DeSean Jackson and Jason Witten)
NFC NORTH: Vikings 10-6 Packers 9-7 Bears 8-8 Lions 4-12
Vikings get their man in Farve, and the Pack make some nice strides in both defense and offense (Welcome back Ryan Grant to fantasy goodness?) however in the big games the old man handles the pressure and gets it done. The Bears experience growing pains (and by that I mean INT's from Cutler) and the Lions scratch together a two game winning some point. (Stars of Division Matt Forte and Calvin Johnson)
NFC SOUTH: Saints 12-4 Falcons 9-7 Bucs 6-10 Panthers 6-10 The Saints play defense by keeping their offense on the Field for hours at a time, The Falcons experience injuries and growing pains in a mild step backward, and both the Bucs and Panthers dream they got Michael Vick (not the Vikings)all year. (Stars of Division Drew Brees and Marques Colston)
NFC WEST: Seahawks 11-5 49ers 9-7 Carinals 7-9 Rams 5-11 The Hawks have a great season behind a healthy Matt Hasselbeck and a refreshed T.J. Housh even Julious Jones runs for 1,000 yards and 9 TD's. The 49ers are in the Wild Card race all year and Alex Smith takes his rightful job as a game manager...Kurt Warner throws a lot of TD's again...however he also throws a crap load of INT's and Beanie Wells is injury plagued all year...The Rams are um, The Rams yet again. By the end of this year the idea of swapping Matt Leinart straight up for Vince Young looks appealing to both parties. (Stars of Divison T.J. Housh, Larry Fitzgerald, and finally Frank Gore)
Chargers 10-6 Broncos 9-7 Chiefs 7-9 Raiders 6-10 A much better showing from all these teams than expected except the chargers who lose their Quarterback for a few games. The Broncos are surprisingly strong with a steady running game and a methodical passing attack after a slow start they pull off a 5 game winning streak. The Chiefs find their guy with Cassel, but lose Larry Johnson toward the end...and the Raiders well they run and play defense...although they start slow JaMarcus Russell does enough to win the Raider nation over.
AFC SOUTH: Texans 11-5 Colts 9-7 Titans 8-8 Jaguars 6-10 Yeah everybody is picking Houston but how can you not...the D-line is strong all year and Schaub starts all but one game. They spread the offense and keep their defense fresh. The Colts have a hard time scoring and Donald Brown doesn't mature as fast as everyone hopes. The Titans play noble but just do not have enough guys to catch the ball...and the Jags will lose their coach by the end of the season.
AFC NORTH: Steelers 10-6 Bengals 9-7 Ravens 8-8 Browns 6-10 Parody is king as the teams are all close at the end...but the steel crew comes alive with some fluky plays in its final 3 to seal the deal over a surprising Bengals team (Marvin Lewis keeps his gig). The Ravens play steady but have holes as their defense takes a hit and the Browns name a starter at the QB position ??? (not sure who though...wait Quinn today Anderson tomorrow)
AFC EAST: Patriots 14-2 Jets 8-8 Dolphins 6-10 Bills 4-12 The Pats start out 10-0 but lose to the Saints and the Texans toward the end...The Jets scratch to 8-8 but the Dolphins bench Pennington early and struggle the rest of the way...Trent Edwards plays well...but almost nobody else does for the Bills who look toward the future.

Playoffs: NFC round 1: Vikings Vs Cowboys-Eagles Vs Falcons NFC round 2: Saints Vs Eagles-Seahawks Vs Vikings NFC Title: Saints Vs Vikings Champ-Saints
AFC round 1: Steelers Vs Colts Chargers Vs Bengals AFC round 2: Pats Vs Colts-Chargers Vs Texans AFC Title: Pats Vs Texans Champ-Patriots
SUPER BOWL- 44 Saints
41 Pats MVP Drew Brees

Fantasy Rankings Update 8/9/09
Ok my top 25 order.

1. Brady 2. M Forte 3. A Peterson 4. D Brees 5. M Turner 6. MJ Drew 7. L Fitzgerald 8. R Moss 9. S Jackson 10. C Johnson 11. DeA Williams 12. Steve Slaton 13. A Johnson 14. C Johnson(RB) 15. F Gore 16.M Colston 17. L Tomlinson 18. R White 19. Thomas Jones 20. A Boldin 21. B Westbrook 22. K Smith 23. B Jacobs 24. T Romo 25. M Schaub

Ok Now top ten's
Qb's 1.Brady 2. Brees 3. Romo 4. M Schaub 5. A Rodgers 6. C Palmer 7. P Manning 8. M Hasselbeck 9. K Warner 10. McNabb/Orton
RB's 1.M Forte 2. A Peterson 3. M Turner 4. MJ Drew 5. S Jackson 6. DeA Williams 7. S Slaton 8. C Johnson 9. F Gore 10. LTomlinson
WR's 1. Larry Fitzy 2. R Moss 3. C Johnson 4. A Johnson 5. M Colston 6. R White 7. A Boldin 8. W Welker 9. Houshmandzadeh 10. G Jennings

Good luck to all during your Fantasy Sports, Your Football betting, or your crap talking to rival fans !!!

DVD Review #17 Coraline

Coraline (2009) Voices of Dakota Fanning, Ian McShane Directed by Henry Selick

Coraline is a spectacular film to watch, it is a crisp and beautiful picture that jumps off the screen (and I did not watch it in 3D which is available). Henry Selick who has done both James and the Giant Peach and The Nightmare before Christmas (both cool films) nails it yet again here. I am often not attracted to animation or "kids Films" however these kinds of dark tales always catch my eye. I wish I had more artistic ability in me, but I think my big sis got all that. From time to time though I can really appreciate something that is just cool and different. Coraline is something like that, it is a movie you can throw in and watch with the family, or hang on the wall and look at as you walk by. Coraline is a story about a bratty, selfish girl who finds herself not receiving enough attention from anyone...especially her parents who are in the middle of a location change and trying to get into the gardening (book writing) business. So she ventures into another parallel world where her parents are just as she would like them, as well as some other interesting and creepy characters (think Veruca Salt stuck in the world of Twin Peaks meets Full House, minus all the midgets). However things go array as her "other Mother" is revealed to be not all that she seems. The story is cute and creepy (a nice mix) and the look of the film will keep your eyes on it. Dakota Fanning really does a great job at being a brat here and Ian McShane (from Deadwood) does a nice job as well. It is not often that I find myself gushing over a film like this, but for Coraline I do...I wonder if you will as well. Go out and see this film, and if you have a family watch it together. It is a nice popcorn film that will look great on your HD TV.

Henry Selick's next film is called Here Be Monsters, and we should expect another great looking movie with that. I would also urge you to read and watch James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl, it is just a cool cool story. Dakota Fanning has the Twilight sequel New Moon coming soon where she will play Jane and also a film called The Runaways set in the 70's and also starring Kristen Stewart (of Twilight). Selicks frequent producer Tim Burton is busy getting Alice In Wonderland ready, and is taking on 1984 and Dark Shadows (both remakes) as at least a producer.

(The Shawshank Scale 1-10) Coraline gets a very animated 7.0 for being a truly unique viewing experience, I was glad I got to watch it. Often times if I don't catch a family film when it is out will drift into the abyss and I will never get to it...don't hesitate on this one.

August 3, 2009

Movie Review #15 The Hurt Locker

The Hurt Locker (2009) Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie Directed by Kathryn Bigelow

So far in 2009 we have seen a nice reboot (Star Trek), a few great comedies (The Hangover, I Love You Man), and a few other notables...(The Soloist, Pride and Glory..etc) but I'd say a down year for standouts...perhaps the real 2009 standout...just stood up. The Hurt Locker is a wonderfully paced, well executed story of an Army EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) unit that is daily tasked with defusing and handling explosive situations. A well crafted look into a soldiers life in is truthful and honest without being boring and overdone. The action and suspense is enough to keep you on the edge of your seat and feel relieved when some family or personal drama enters into the need the rest after all those bombs, wires, and stress. Kathryn Bigelow oddly best known for...well probably Point Break lol, yeah the Keanu flick with surfer bank robbers, does a great job here, and something tells me an Oscar nomination is headed her way. The cast is great, Jermey Renner is the lead here as Staff Sergeant William James the guy who wears the suit (the protective suit is like a great character in this film), Anthony Mackie also does a good job as his fellow team member, Sergeant Sanborn. The two clash with the usual conflict (one is a loose cannon the other wants to stay alive) but it is all believable. Some crafty casting is done here with some bigger names who show up briefly (Ray Fiennes, Guy Pierce, and David Morse) and are all really important to the story...but they don't need a lot of screen time to make the point...which I think is a credit to both Bigelow and the screenwriter Mark Boal who knows what this story is about and how to keep it moving. James (Renner) is the key here...if you like him, you like this film and I gotta tell you if you don't like him, I don't know what kinda hero you need. He is a badass hero the kind of guy you want to have your back (I'd like to see him take on Megatron). There are plenty of explosions, and plenty of is done in a way that is so easy to watch (unlike Jarhead 2005...much harder to watch), so go out and see the summer's most explosive and dare I say Best? film...The Hurt Locker deserves to be viewed in the theaters...don't wait go see it!.

(The Shawshank Scale 1-10) The Hurt Locker gets the highest mark since last years Milk at a Best Picture nominee worthy is truly a well crafted war film that is now firmly in my top 15 or so war films of all time...and as I re-watch it may even break my top ten.

Food For Thought: Chili homemade...served over rice...but I can't give you the recipe because I would have to kill you. I have stored it in my cabinet with an explosive device attached if you can defuse it you can have it. Jeremy Renner is being rumored to be the next Mad Max (he's got my vote now) and he is being directed by the great Ben Affleck in his next film called The Town out next year. Bigelow has nothing new in the works right now...but something tells me she has some accolades coming to her for this film.