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Movie Review: Solo: A Star Wars Story

This is…*sigh*…not bad but also not what anyone was hoping for.

Solo will likely always be overshadowed for its price tag/wallet and was predetermined to suffer such a fate no matter how good this was. It’s unfortunate and a disservice to those who helped construct this artwork but where there are stalls in production and the termination of directors, there’s generally fire.

Ron Howard, under the tight reins of executive producers, ended up reworking nearly three quarters of the film.

The entire tonality of the film was flipped on its axle, leading stars actively questioning their roles, a major red flag for any production. Disney had botched this.Image result for solo star wars movie poster free use

But Disney, or any large megacorp, for that matter, would rather surge through the hurricane than wave the white flag and that they did. I discussed Disney’s reluctance to see straight on John Carter this summer (Was actually one of my better works this year. Worth a click).

Solo runs much smoother than broadcast but I use smooth as a detriment here. While Solo doesn’t scream panic on the screen, the story lacks narrative depth, no doubt a byproduct of a mosh pit of tonalities. The film was originally directed as a comedy since directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were expressly told to distance itself from a Star Wars taste and to instead look toward a character novella surrounding the famed smuggler.

And while I’d have no issue with a Star Wars comedy, producers were thoroughly against it. Some reports said Lord and Miller of Lego Movie fame were targeting a western more than anything. Whether space cowboy or straight comedy, all involved could agree that Han Solo deserved his own enterprise but there was enough vitriol in the disagreement to take an ax to the directing duo altogether, leaving all agreed to the “we need something different” statement but undecided on what qualified as different and what served as walking the plank.

In news that may shock some, the question of ambiguous texture arises on more than one occasion, making even “the dumb friend” in the group question what kind of park ride he got on. While Rogue One carries the Star Wars title, it also proudly states its individuality many a time across filming, a boastful demeanor which continues to magnetize audiences to this story in a familiar universe. Removed from that nostalgic environment, Rogue One still works on a narrative and character level. Being included in the Star Wars pages is simply a bonus.

Rogue One also didn’t reject the label like inheriting such a surname carrying tragic history.

Solo can’t decide if it wants to embrace the label with pride or trash it like a hand-me-down. If those are the only two options, given the Solo character is already part of the cannon, the former seems the right course of action but for whatever reason, the studios were deadset on something they deemed organic when the fragrance they’ve been churning out for forty years is still fresh.

And if western comedy is what you’re going with, that’s totally fine! Hell, might even be something *gasp* innovative.

Innovation scares people just like things and creatures people can’t understand. The unknown is unpredictable, not part of the plan and that upsets the schemers. (Sidenote: I’m in love with The Dark Knight. Truly a masterwork.) Films like Solo aren’t complicated or at least shouldn’t be. Complications arrive because of the parties involved.

And that truthfully sums it up, folks. Disney got too cute with this one and a bout of indecision during a dinner date with one of its finest suitors ended with some thrown handkerchiefs and dramatic exits.

Despite a clear miss at the shooting range, Solo, unlike John Carter, survives as an average endeavor. I give credit to Ron Howard, a man who’s been in the business a long time, and a crew who did what they could to make it all work. Star Wars has a family of its own and I believe those in Hollywood given the opportunity to add to the legacy do so with the utmost respect and reverence for the material.

Woody Harrelson’s bounty hero, along with most of the cast, can’t escape generalities, however, a pit Disney essentially pushed them into. I can almost visualize producers taking a far too active role in directing, correcting the cast’s portrayal of their vehicles at every turn, relaunching them onto a different set of tracks. If producers knew what was best for them, they’d put forward the funds and let the artists focus on the art.

Alden Ehrenreich is the picture’s best figure, an earnest and honest effort. There’s wit, showmanship and charisma here. Shame the script couldn’t have given the guy more to work with. Han Solo is begging for a comedy, howling for more one-liners. The producers stubborn resilience to frame this as a serious smuggler score rattles the mind.

Emilia Clarke, Paul Bettany, Harrelson and company don’t execute anything poorly and I can’t emphasize enough that I hold no resentment toward the cast for this one. It’s hard to win five-card poker with a pair of sevens.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (Batman BeginsThe MatrixL.A. ConfidentialHerTaken)

80-89  It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Spider-Man: Far From Home, Dumb and DumberPokemon Detective PikachuThe Matrix Reloaded,Wanted)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (The Matrix RevolutionsTriple FrontierI am LegendIp Man 2Ip Man)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (2 Fast 2 FuriousDoctor StrangeJohnny MnemonicJason BourneSuicide Squad)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (XXXThe SilenceThe Fast and the FuriousBrooklyn’s FinestDeath Race)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (DoomThe Fast and the Furious: Tokyo DriftPirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No TalesPower RangersUnderworld: Evolution)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (High-RiseMost Likely to DieIndependence Day: ResurgenceThe Crow: City of AngelsCenturion)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (XXX: State of the UnionThe SnowmanAvalanche SharksCatwomanThe Gunman)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (The ExtendablesThe Coed and the Zombie StonerThe Forbidden DimensionsCyborgOutcast)

My score for Solo: A Star Wars Story: 77. 

Solo: A Star Wars Story is a broken thoroughbred rounding the final bend of what was a promising start to the franchise. The original trilogy has aged tremendously and the prequels, while displaying poor acting and writing far more often than fans would like, are still watchable. The Force Awakens is arguably great despite being a near carbon copy of A New HopeRogue One may be better than any of the new trilogy installments.

Solo is the adopted stepchild who never finds a role to play in the family and despite promise, its parenting and circumstance prevent it from ever reaching its full potential.

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Movie Review: Spider-Man: Far From Home

“Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.”

It’s been far too long. I’d rather not blather on about my absence or make any promises regarding my publishing schedule. What gets done get done and I’d rather not chain myself to a planner. Just know I’ve missed this space and while I may disappear at times, I’ll always come back. Now, to our feature presentation.

The Marvel cinematic universe is quite an achievement. Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy started it all, although Downey Jr.’s Iron Man gets most of the recognition (Iron Man has aged far better than when I wrote that review, by the way). Regardless, there have been a lot of achievements set by the comic superpower and very few missteps. The Thor franchise is a blight on the resume, with the first piece being average and the sequel, Thor: The Dark World, being a complete trainwreck. Ragnarok was the best of the three and Marvel, having recognized the underachieving so uncharacteristic of them, has green lit a fourth installment under director Taika Waititi’s helm. While Marvel has yet to fire a successful Hulk feature out of its cannon (and perhaps wisely so. They’ve plodded with this character for a while and now that Mark Ruffalo has cemented himself in the role and delivered in a supplementary space, best not to mess with the formula) and handed the public what I considered a copycat film in Doctor Strange, Marvel has been practically flawless otherwise, churning out premium content on a yearly basis for a decade. It was quite a period of prosperity for comic nerds and fans of heroes. Marvel has demonstrated finesse in discussing current events, aided by top-of-the-line casting and prestigious writing.Image result for SPIDERMAN far from home movie poster free use

This chapter, however, is now over. Infinity War, likely the best Marvel ever got or will ever be, followed by Endgame, put the final ink blotches on a stunning manuscript.

And so now, at least for me, appears uncertainty. With some of its best content explored and finalized, it is a question for me of how long they can keep this up. I said this once before and everything turned out fine. Of course, when Iron Man and Cap are part of the picture, you probably shouldn’t be too concerned. They are no longer here and less dominant works are naturally more difficult to adapt., so it comes as no surprise that Marvel turns to the Spider-Man well once again.

As I said, Marvel likely doesn’t consider making Iron Man if not for the success of Raimi’s trilogy. While I’m not a fan of rebooting a character every five years, the Spidey universe is quite extensive. They haven’t finished mining the caverns.

While Marvel and Sony together made a mistake with the Garfield entries (have not aged well and weren’t good to begin with. Further reading/research regarding the two projects reveals Raimi’s reluctance to make a fourth while Marvel decided to immediately reboot the saga with most of the same farmhands in place, leading to what was likely a burnt-out and heavily pressured creative team). Marvel was much smarter this time around.

Following a rights agreement between Sony and Marvel, a unified effort made the wheels go round in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Originally skeptical of a relative unknown (always will be. Comes with a lot of pressure), Tom Holland has worked well in the recipe Marvel has concocted. Straying away from the serious drama of Raimi and the repugnant bad boy of Marc Webb, Marvel has gone lighter, returning to the enhanced but overwhelmed teenager that makes Peter Parker so relatable and likable. Despite his reflexes, abilities and intelligence, Peter finds himself on the hunt for confidence and validation. Pair the immense shadow of responsibility with an even larger one from a lost mentor and Peter is gasping for air.

Hopefully an international field trip will do the trick.

Try as he might, you can’t run away from yourself and often not from your problems. Spider-Man: Far From Home is about Peter accepting and acting on that information. Peter wants a relationship with MJ but over the course of the film, begins to realize he needs to embrace himself before he can open up. Those feelings of vulnerability and helplessness are not something a relationship can cure. Those are monsters you have to conquer solo. Sometimes, doing things solo, even as a superhero, feels impossible.

You would think the introduction of superpowers into our lives would solve all our issues. Spider-Man, perhaps more than any other, proves otherwise. Yes, you can swing from rooftops but that’s not a skill highly pursued in a professional field. Being a superhero means sacrificing yourself and your life for the greater good and that is not a responsibility taken lightly. It also means having to always wear a mask, even in front of those you care about in plain sight. Everyone who knows is a potential target. If anything, superpowers make life, which is already difficult, impossible. And yet, despite all he loses by donning the mask, Peter does it anyway because he knows it’s what he’s been tasked with, what he’s supposed to do, who he is.

There are times where Peter questions it, deals with the same self-doubt many of us battle. Peter is human and Marvel’s depiction of these heroes’ humanity is one of their products’ best qualities.

Has Jake Gyllenhaal ever had a bad role? I’ve yet to see it. Samuel L. does his usual, the direction stays direct and perhaps most importantly, it stays true to itself. Plenty of pieces have become imitations rather than creations. Spider-Man: Far From Home never even dreams of it and we’re all the better for it.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (Batman Begins, The MatrixL.A. ConfidentialHerTaken)

80-89  It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Dumb and DumberPokemon Detective PikachuThe Matrix Reloaded,WantedLaw Abiding Citizen)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (The Matrix RevolutionsTriple FrontierI am LegendIp Man 2Ip Man)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (2 Fast 2 FuriousDoctor StrangeJohnny MnemonicJason BourneSuicide Squad)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (XXXThe SilenceThe Fast and the FuriousBrooklyn’s FinestDeath Race)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (DoomThe Fast and the Furious: Tokyo DriftPirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No TalesPower RangersUnderworld: Evolution)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (High-RiseMost Likely to DieIndependence Day: ResurgenceThe Crow: City of AngelsCenturion)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (XXX: State of the UnionThe SnowmanAvalanche SharksCatwomanThe Gunman)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (The ExtendablesThe Coed and the Zombie StonerThe Forbidden DimensionsCyborgOutcast)

My score for Spider-Man: Far From Home: 89.

I’m excited to rewatch Spider-Man: Homecoming and put my thoughts down on that but until then, I’ll smile over Far From Home, a film which reminds us even the most powerful and most gifted sometimes feel weak.

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Tim Sports Report/2019 NFL Week 1

Top 5

  1. RB Christian McCaffrey 19 carries for 128 yards, 2 TDs, 10 receptions for 81 yards vs. LAR

McCaffrey was a human wrecking ball. At the top of his game, he’s one of not just the best backs but one of the best players in football. Shame the Panthers didn’t take advantage of the huge opportunity his performance provided.

2. WR Sammy Watkins 9 receptions for 198 yards, 3 TDs vs. JAC

Watkins is a wild-card and entirely unpredictable, leading to a 46-point performance against one of the best secondaries in football. With Tyreek Hill out with a shoulder injury, Watkins suddenly enters next week as WR1.

3. QB Lamar Jackson 17/20 for 324 yards, 5 TDs, 158.3 passer rating vs. MIA

Keep the performance in context. It was against Miami, geared for the number one pick come 2020. That said, Lamar still looked real good if you didn’t go back to watch the highlights. You could see the difference a summer made.

4. WR DeSean Jackson 8 receptions for 154 yards, 2 TDs vs. WAS

It was a fairy tale return to Philly for Jackson, who scorched Josh Norman for one of his long scores. Even at his age, DeSean can still thrill.

5. HOU@NO

The first classic contest of 2019 did not disappoint. Bill O’Brien’s incompetence cost Houston a very impressive road win but nonetheless, both teams looked like Super Bowl contenders. Perhaps a preview of what’s to come?

Worst of the Worst

5. Receiver Donte Moncrief records three receptions for seven yards and four drops on ten targets vs. NE

Donte Moncrief had a rough evening Sunday night, putting up one of the worst stat lines for a receiver I’d seen in quite a while. Add to it this was his debut for his new team and it adds another touch of sour to the story.

4. Jameis Bakery hosts Weekend Sale.

Jameis’ 17th career game with multiple picks, he passed Sir Bortles for the most such games since 2015. Two pick-sixes were the cherry on top.

3. Jets lead all game, lose.

The Jets defense scored more points in the contest than their offense. To lose after steering most of the game is such a Jets thing to do.

2. Lions blow 18-point 4th quarter lead to Cardinals, end game in tie.

If it was almost anyone else, I’d start an uproar but it’s Detroit. It’s just part of the script.

  1. The Cleveland Browns hype train derails, explodes in 43-10 bombardment, recording more penalties and penalty yards than any team the last two seasons.

Baker Mayfield was gonna be a potential MVP candidate, throwing to the likes of Nick Chubb, David Njoku, Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry. The defense had multiple Pro Bowlers along the defensive line, a defensive rookie of the year nominee in the secondary. The curse was over.

Turns out you have to play the games before you can wear the crown. Cleveland. Remove Cleveland’s first drive of the game and the Browns looked the same as the Browns of old. They looked entirely unprepared and an inexperienced coach didn’t have the knowledge or experience to correct course. It was quite the comedy to behold.

Steelers Recap

As is usually the tale, the Steelers were manhandled on national television in Foxborough, outmanned, outgunned, outsmarted and outcoached. The offense was in a malaise for the entirety while the tender wounds of a scarred Steelers defense were ripped at once again. In an interview later this week, Ben Roethlisberger said “minor changes” needed to be made. I got news for Ben and everyone else on that roster. When you lose 33-3, you need to make more than minor changes. Something little isn’t why you lose a game by 30. Seattle has a better coach and a more experienced defense. I see 0-2 in the Steelers future.

Game of the Week: NO@LAR

Has to be the rematch of the NFC Championship Game. Last year’s was a classic. It’ll be hard to live up to that but I’ll be watching anyway. I’m taking the Rams, for the record.

Lastly, last week was my first time picking against the spread. I expect improvement as the year goes on. It was a rough week one, going 8-8.

Week 2 Picks Against the Spread (Lines provided by ESPN. Lines may vary.)

TB@CAR -6.5

Carolina fell to Los Angeles by three while the Jameis Bakery was alive and well. Gimme the Panthers and the McCaffery machine. My pick: CAR -6.5.

BUF@NYG +2.5

I don’t underestimate the Bills defense but I don’t have faith in Josh Allen. Their offense was anemic and I think the Giants have more of a chance to win then people are giving them credit for. I’ll take the home team and the points. My pick: NYG +2.5.

SF@CIN -1.5

The Bengals played better than expected in week one but not so good that they should be favored against the 49ers. San Fran looked solid against Tampa Bay and with this spread and the better coach, I’ll take San Fran again. They were my high confidence bet last week and I have a lot of faith in them this week. My pick: SF +1.5

DAL@WAS +5.5

Dak was unflappable, the offensive line is at full health and the attack has a coordinator not named Scott Linehan. Washington started great and fell apart in the second half, losing franchise back Derrius Guice once again. Dallas’ defense is strong and have too many chips on their side. A spread of less than a touchdown is the final straw for me. My pick: DAL -5.5.

LAC@DET +2.5

The Chargers week one performance was a flop. The back duo of Ekeler and Jackson looked strong but Los Angeles also faltered their way into overtime against Indianapolis. They need a statement win and against Detroit, a team that got sloppy in their own second half, they should get it. My pick: LAC -2.5.

MIN@GB -2.5

Minnesota had one of the league’s most dominant performances in week one. Green Bay’s offense was off balance. I think Minnesota has a real shot in this one. My pick: MIN +2.5.

IND@TEN -3.5

The Colts are an underrated team that fans and bettors alike will overlook because of their situation at quarterback. They played their way into overtime against the Chargers and they’re equipped to do it again, especially against a team who struggles on offense. Divisional games are always more competitive than they should be. I’ll take the points. My pick: IND +3.5.

NE@MIA +18.5

Miami is the worst team in football after week one, owing to the 18.5 point spread. Still, New England has lost five of their last six in Miami. I don’t expect that trend to continue but against logic, Miami narrowly beats the spread. My pick: MIA +18.5.

ARI@BAL -13.5

I don’t like betting on teams favored by double digits. 13.5 is a lot to swallow. It seems unlikely the Ravens score 40+ again but the other team is coached by Kliff Kingsbury. The Ravens defense is regularly among the league’s elite and I expect it to rattle Kyler early. My pick: BAL -13.5.

SEA@PIT -3.5

Pittsburgh was undisciplined and unprepared after months to prepare. Their lack of talent at receiver was blatantly obvious. As long as the playcall cancer known as Big Ben continues under center, expect the offense to stall. My pick: SEA +3.5.

JAC@HOU -9.5

Should be 1-0 after a great performance but the human incompetence known as Bill O’Brien made his curtain call with seconds left in the game. I should take the points, especially with it being a rivalry game but I’m gonna take the talent of Houston. My pick: HOU -9.5.

KC@OAK +9.5

I likely lost the last match for getting overconfident about the Texans roster. I won’t here, trusting in the rivalry game to be more competitive than it should be and that the Raiders Monday Night performance wasn’t a blip on the spectrum. My pick: OAK +9.5.

CHI@DEN +1.5

Matt Nagy was off his game on Thursday. The Bears allowed ten points to Aaron Rodgers during an off night for Nagy. Imagine how good they could be when he’s on. A 1.5 point spread is insulting. Put the Bears down as my high confidence pick this week. Hopefully, the curse of Mitch doesn’t come back to bite me. My pick: CHI -1.5.

NO@LAR -2.5

My game of the week is must-watch television. Goff was off last week and Gurley’s workload appears to be monitored. The Saints were great. Hard to bet against them but the Saints were the recipient of luck in O’Brien’s game management. Luck usually finds a way to balance itself out. This game would be the perfect occasion to balance the books. My pick: LAR -2.5.

PHI@ATL +1.5

Atlanta was dominated by Minnesota last week. I expect a bounce back but it’s not enough for the Return of Wentz. My pick: PHI -1.5.

CLE@NYJ +2.5

I had the Jets at the beginning of the week but since then, quarterback Sam Darnold, DT Quinnen Williams and LB C.J. Mosley have been ruled out. That’s too much talent off the board for New York. My pick: CLE -2.5.

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2019 NFL Power Rankings: Preseason

1. Patriots

The evil empire returns its coach and captain. As long as that’s the case, this team is volatile.

*hears commotion in other room

Whatdya mean they just signed Antonio Brown?!

2. Rams

Sean McVay is the best young coach in the game. Rams signed Jared Goff to an extension. Todd Gurley should be healthy. How does the team rebound after managing only three points in their Super Bowl loss?

3. Saints

Drew Brees is still here, Alvin Kamara is official RB1 and Michael Thomas signed his extension. Anything else, Cap’t?

4. Chiefs

Patrick Mahomes won an MVP his first year as starter. The Chiefs offense was the league’s most explosive. Did they find a defense?

5. Eagles

The Return of Wentz. Are you ready?

6. Bears

The league’s best defense has to be included in the top ten. Can Trubisky get out of his own way? (Based off Thursday, apparently not.)

7. Chargers

Gordon or no Gordon, the Chargers would be a division winner in most of the league’s sections.

8. Falcons

The league’s best receiving trio (Julio/Sanu/Ridley) return as does running back Devonta Freeman. Can their defense stay healthy for once?

9. Texans

Houston mortgaged its future at a time it didn’t need to. Will the immense gamble pay off or ruin a golden opportunity and division dominance?

10. Browns

Is this the year for a division crown or will the Browns go full Cleveland?

11. Vikings

Minnesota’s offensive line was their downfall last year. They return one of the league’s top-three receiver duos (Diggs/Thielen). Can Mike Zimmer get his defense back in shape and will the real Dalvin Cook please stand up? The team is too stacked on paper to miss the playoffs twice in a row.

12. Packers

Aaron Rodgers had a down year last year. He had a TD/INT split of 25/2. God help us if he has a good one.

13. Steelers

Two of three tumors have been removed from the Steel Curtain but will the final one do them in this year?

14. Cowboys

With the Zeke contract bout over, can the team focus on the season?

15. Seahawks

In a tough NFC, can Seattle make the playoffs? Perhaps more importantly, will the Seahawks give Russ the ball more? Please?

16. Ravens

They lost key cogs on defense. Can they overcome and enact a new offense?

17. Lions

The Lions have high expectations. Will they fall short of them yet again?

18. 49ers

As do the 9ers. Can Jimmy G take them there?

19. Titans

This team has a loss of identity on offense and Derrick Henry going off three weeks a season won’t change that. How many weeks does Mariota last this year?

20. Broncos

Vic Fangio made wonder with the Bears. Can we get a repeat in Denver?

21. Colts

The roster is full of promise but Luck’s retirement throws a wrench in the machine. Can they demonstrate resilience?

22. Panthers

McCaffrey’s future? Sky’s the limit. Cam’s? Not so much.

23. Bills

Josh Allen and the offense didn’t get it done last year. The defense did. Can the offense join the party?

24. Jaguars

Given the personnel on defense, this team could make the playoffs. Given the offense and coaching staff, they could go broke. Which will it be? Does Nick Foles success story have another chapter?

25. Jets

Time for Sam Darnold’s next step. Right?

26. Redskins

An underrated defense is anchored by a floundering aerial attack.

27. Giants

Welcome to the Saquon Show!

28. Buccaneers

Can Bruce Arians balance the Famous Jameis?

29. Cardinals

Kliff Kingsbury couldn’t win in college. Can he make all the doubters shut up?

30. Raiders

Antonio Brown is gone. Waive the white flag, Oakland. The Jon Gruden experiment is a failure, not that anyone could have told you.

31. Bengals

A.J. Green will miss the opener and the Bengals are…meh.

32. Dolphins

This year we’ll see how far a Dolphin can sink.

 

Week 1 Picks Against the Spread (Lines provided by ESPN. Lines may vary.)

GB@CHI -3.5

I get the home team and the best defense against a new coach and offensive scheme. I’m counting on the Bears holding Rodgers under 20. My pick: CHI -3.5

ATL@MIN -4.5

This should be a great contest. Minnesota is scary on paper but they were last year and managed to miss the playoffs. I’ll take the best receiver corps and the points but I think Minnesota gets the win. My pick: ATL +4.5

BUF@NYJ -3.5

Week one football is generally sloppy and divisional matches are often more competitive then they should be. The Bills defense is underrated. My pick: BUF +3.5

TEN@CLE -5.5

The Browns hype train may derail early but I watched the Titans play their starting offensive line against the Steelers. They were bullied. Tennessee will be without left tackle Taylor Lewan due to suspension. Against a Pro Bowl defensive line, Cleveland could run away with this one. My pick: CLE -5.5

KC@JAC +3.5

Jacksonville has a great defense on paper, going top-five in yardage and points allowed. Missing the playoffs with a top-five defense is impressive and a reflection of an incompetent coaching staff that’s returning for 2019. I’ll take Mahomes over Foles. My pick: KC -3.5

LAR@CAR +2.5

Cam Newton’s health is a concern but so is Todd Gurley’s. His health was a story that didn’t get as much traction as it should have. Even if he isn’t ready to go, I get a better coach and deeper roster against an iffy offense. I’ll swallow the points for the NFC Champions. My pick: LAR -2.5

BAL@MIA +4.5

The Ravens offense is a wildcard but 4.5 against the worst roster in football isn’t enough. My pick: BAL -4.5

WAS@PHI -9.5

Ten points is a lot but I also have high expectations for the Eagles. Wentz is my frontrunner for MVP. I’ll probably regret it but I’ll take the Birds. My pick: PHI -9.5

CIN@SEA -9.5

Another one I’ll probably regret but an improved defensive line for Seattle encourages me as does the combo of Russell Wilson and Chris Carson. The Bengals will struggle without A.J. Green. My pick: SEA -9.5

IND@LAC -2.5

This spread is just ridiculous. No Andrew Luck and the Chargers are still only favored by three at home? My pick: LAC -2.5

NYG@DAL -7.5

Divisional matchups are never gimme’s. Saquon makes it interesting and the Giants just beat the spread. My pick: NYG +7.5

DET@ARI +2.5

The only reason I’m not screaming to bet your life savings on Detroit against an unproven coach, terrible offensive line and rookie quarterback is because it’s Detroit. I still expect a win but likely closer than it should be. My pick: DET -2.5

SF@TB -1.5

This wasn’t the line on the sportsbook downtown but if it were, I would have been putting money on the 9ers. The return of Jimmy G, an underrated offense and a dynamo in George Kittle, a young but growing defense and Jameis is on the other team? Yeah, give me SF all day. This is my high confidence pick. My pick: SF +1.5

PIT@NE -6.5

Antonio Brown won’t be eligible to play but it hardly matters. With the exception of last year, the Patriots have been whipping the Steelers the last decade. I get the home team, better coach and better quarterback. The Steelers offensive line may keep them in it but the defense will keep them out of it. My pick: NE -6.5

HOU@NO -6.5

Houston is a dark horse conference champion. Hopkins was last year’s best receiver, the offensive line should perform better and the defense returned to form. Bill O’Brien’s coaching malpractice, especially in the red zone, costs them a big week one victory. My pick: HOU +6.5

DEN@OAK -2.5

After the release of Antonio Brown, I find it unlikely the Raiders are still favorites (multiple outlets have moved the line to DEN -2.5) but ESPN hasn’t updated their lines. Denver is easy money if you find a bookie dumb enough. My pick: DEN +2.5

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2019 NFL Preview: AFC East

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

KEY ADDITIONS: WR Demaryius Thomas, TE Benjamin Watson, LB Jamie Collins, TE Lance Kendricks, OL Jermaine Eluemenor, WR Antonio Brown

KEY DEPARTURES: TE Rob Gronkowski, DE Trey Flowers, OT Trent Brown, DT Malcolm Brown, QB Brian Hoyer, WR Cordarrelle Patterson, TE Dwayne Allen, CB Eric Rowe, WR Chris Hogan, DE Adrian Clayborn

DRAFT: 1st round: WR N’Keal Harry, Arizona State   2nd round: CB Joejuan Williams, Vanderbilt   3rd round: DE Chase Winovich, Michigan   RB Damien Harris, Alabama   OT Yodny Cajuste, West Virginia   4th round: G Hjalte Froholdt, Arkansas   QB Jarrett Stidham, Auburn   5th round: DT Byron Cowart, Maryland   6th round: P Jake Bailey, Stanford   7th round: CB Ken Webster, Ole Miss

SUMMARY: The evil empire returns for another campaign but this year without a key cog: tight end Rob Gronkowski. Gronk is a Hall of Famer but had lost a step this past season. Still, in the game’s biggest moments, Gronk showed up. Even a down year for Gronk was an elite year for most players. It’s hard to replace that talent.

The two tight ends they brought in to replace Rob, former Patriots Benjamin Watson and newcomer Lance Kendricks, have both been suspended for the first four games of the season, leaving Matt LaCosse starting.

2018 first-rounder Isaiah Wynn likely starts at left tackle after missing his rookie year with injury. Patriots captain and center David Andrews has been placed on season-ending IR with blood clots, so the Patriots may end up plugging in former Raven Jermaine Eluemenor at center.

Still, the Patriots offensive line is stout, as it always has been since the arrival of Belichick and Brady. Touchdown Tom has been sacked 35 or more times only four times in his career, the most recent in 2017. In ’16? 15 times. In ’18? 21 and longtime offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia.

Demaryius Thomas joins the Patriots on his retirement tour while Josh Gordon returns after rebuilding his mental health. Despite all the missed opportunities and lost time, Gordon offers upside.

Sony Michel broached the 1,000 plateau in his rookie year and behind a strong offensive line, should put up numbers this year.

Stephon Gilmore had an All-Pro nod last year in Foxborough and the defense finished 7th in points against (20.3)

New faces arrive but the Patriots continue on. Mark down another division championship and a strong chance at another Super Bowl trip.

Oh, and as I write this, AB just signed with the Patriots. Sounds like the season’s over already. The Patriots current depth at receiver reads: Antonio Brown, Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, Demaryius Thomas, N’Keal Harry, Phillip Dorsett.

New faces arrive but the Patriots continue on. Mark down another division championship for Belichick/Brady and a strong chance at another vacation to the Super Bowl.

Even if Antonio Brown’s dive into madness continues and he ends up not playing a snap for the Patriots, New England, these things are assured. If he does, God help us all.

FANTASY PLAYER TO WATCH: James White

White finished 2018 with 87 receptions, good for 15th-best in the league and third-best among running backs (McCaffrey, Barkley). Last year, he had a career-high 123 targets (19th best). I don’t like taking players off career years but White’s target share is consistent and the Patriots always scheme him into the game plan. Sony Michel and Julian Edelman are also on my board this year but White has done me well three years running and I don’t see a reason to back off him now.

SCHEDULE     PROJECTED RECORD: 13-3

Week 1: vs. PIT   Week 2: @MIA   Week 3: vs. NYJ   Week 4: @BUF   Week 5: @WAS   Week 6: vs. NYG   Week 7: @NYJ   Week 8: vs. CLE   Week 9: @BAL   Week 10: BYE   Week 11: @PHI   Week 12: vs. DAL   Week 14: vs. KC   Week 15: @CIN   Week 16: vs. BUF   Week 17: vs. MIA

NEW YORK JETS

KEY ADDITIONS: LB C.J. Mosley, RB Le’Veon Bell, WR Jamison Crowder, C Ryan Kalil

KEY DEPARTURES: G James Carpenter, CB Buster Skrine, QB Josh McCown, CB Morris Claiborne, WR Jermaine Kearse, RB Isaiah Crowell

DRAFT: 1st round: DT Quinnen Williams, Alabama   3rd round: DE Jachai Polite, Florida   OT Chuma Edoga, USC   4th round: TE Trevon Wesco, West Virginia   5th round: LB Blake Cashman, Minnesota   6th round: CB Blessuan Austin, Rutgers

SUMMARY: The Jets did something very New York-like this offseason: they bought everything.

Between top-three adds C.J. Mosley, Le’Veon Bell and Jamison Crowder, the Jets spent $166 million. C.J. Mosley was an excellent linebacker in Baltimore and was a must-have. Bell, off a vacation year, is a wildcard with dangerous upside and Crowder, with a stable quarterback, has a chance to return to form. Ryan Kalil moves to center from Carolina and Quinnen Williams, a player with HOF talent, enters the middle of the defense. Quinnen likely makes life easier for Leonard Williams, the former USC first-rounder, and All-Pro safety Jamal Adams.

The Jets lack depth at receiver (Robby Anderson/Quincy Enunwa/Crowder/Josh Bellamy) and Mosley is a linchpin in the linebacker corps. The corners are relatively thin behind Trumaine Johnson. That lack of depth put the Jets in 29th for points against last year. The additions on both sides of the ball should improve that number. Hard to imagine it being much worse but how much better can it be?

Teams that build through free agency generally don’t succeed. Teams are determined by their drafts and the Jets are notoriously bad at drafting. Their future will be determined by Darnold’s sophomore season.

He didn’t look like a third overall selection last year (2,865 yards and a 17/15 split) and was showed up by Baker in a worse situation (3,725 yards and a 27/14 split). Darnold needs to make dramatic improvement in 2019. Hopefully Adam Gase doesn’t sabotage the effort.

Despite being better, the Jets likely miss on the playoffs due to a tough schedule (AFC North/NFC East).

FANTASY PLAYER TO WATCH: WR Jamison Crowder

I have no interest in taking a running back one year older and one year removed from football. Bell has high upside, sure, but with a pick that high in the draft, I want to know what I’m getting. There’s no knowing what Bell puts out there in 2019 and for that reason, I’m taking Crowder. The Jets D/ST should be improved and may make a splash or two but I’m going to put my faith in Darnold’s improvement and Crowder’s upside (59/67/66 receptions in his first three years).

SCHEDULE     PROJECTED RECORD: 7-9

Week 1: vs. BUF   Week 2: vs. CLE   Week 3: @NE   Week 4: BYE   Week 5: @PHI   Week 6: vs. DAL   Week 7: vs. NE   Week 8: @JAC   Week 9: @MIA   Week 10: vs. NYG   Week 11: @WAS   Week 12: vs. OAK   Week 13: @CIN   Week 14: vs. MIA   Week 15: @BAL   Week 16: vs. PIT   Week 17: @BUF

BUFFALO BILLS

KEY ADDITIONS: C Mitch Morse, WR Cole Beasley, WR John Brown, TE Tyler Kroft, RB T.J. Yeldon, RB Frank Gore, CB Kevin Johnson, G Jon Feliciano, G Quinton Span

KEY DEPARTURES: RB LeSean McCoy, DT Kyle Williams, G John Miller, TE Charles Clay

DRAFT: 1st round: DT Ed Oliver, Houston   2nd round: OT Cody Ford, Oklahoma   3rd round: RB Devin Singletary   TE Dawson Knox, Ole Miss   5th round: LB Vosean Joseph   6th round: S Jaquan Johnson, Miami   7th round: LB Darryl Johnson Jr., North Carolina A&T   TE Tommy Sweeney, Boston College

SUMMARY: The Buffalo Bills basically cleaned house on their offensive line this offseason. Oklahoma tackle Cody Ford will start while free agent acquisitions Mitch Morse, Jon Feliciano and Quinton Span all slot in with the returning Dion Dawkins.

Removed from that, I’m rather unmoved by the Bills roster. Buffalo had one of the weakest receiving cores in football for Josh Allen’s rookie year. This offseason, they bring in John Brown and Cole Beasley as well as TE Tyler Kroft, all of whom were complimentary players on their former teams. These receivers won’t be able to bail Allen’s out of precarious situations. I’m already not high on Josh Allen. Wasn’t at the draft either. His offensive situation isn’t helping that stance.

While the defense may not jump out on paper, they were solid last year. They finished middle-of-the-road in points against (23.4) but second in yardage allowed (4,706). When a team on paper outperforms expectation, it is a result of players overachieving or coaching. I’m more inclined to give some praise to coach Sean McDermott, though it would be wrong to not applaud efforts from the unit, specifically Tre’Davious White, Lorenzo Alexander, Tremaine Edmunds and the defensive line.

In addition to an inept passing game, LeSean McCoy is now gone, headed for the Midwest. The Bills were right to alleviate a contract that had run its course but now are left with journeyman Frank Gore, rookie Devin Singletary and Jaguar T.J. Yeldon. The Bills offense has to come from somewhere. It’s hard to believe they could be any worse (30th yardage, 31st pass, 30th points) but if the Bills can’t replicate 2018’s ninth-best rushing attack, they might be. The Bills season depends on it.

FANTASY PLAYER TO WATCH: Bills D/ST

With the offense as dead as a Buffalo winter, the defense is the only place to turn. They were the seventh-best defense in standard ppr last session. As they say, no one circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills.

SCHEDULE     PROJECTED RECORD: 6-10

Week 1: @NYJ   Week 2: @NYG   Week 3: vs. CIN   Week 4: vs. NE   Week 5: @TEN   Week 6: BYE   Week 7: vs. MIA   Week 8: vs. PHI   Week 9: vs. WAS   Week 10: @CLE   Week 11: @MIA   Week 12: vs. DEN   Week 13: @DAL   Week 14: vs. BAL   Week 15: @PIT   Week 16: @NE   Week 17: vs. NYJ

MIAMI DOLPHINS

KEY ADDITIONS: QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB Josh Rosen, CB Eric Rowe, WR Allen Hurns

KEY DEPARTURES: DE Cameron Wake, OT Laremy Tunsil, WR Kenny Stills, LB Kiko Alonso, OT Ja’Wuan James, WR Danny Amendola, RB Frank Gore, G Josh Sitton, S T.J. McDonald, DT Akeem Spence, QB Ryan Tannehill, DE Robert Quinn

DRAFT: 1st round: DT Christian Wilkins, Clemson   3rd round: G Michael Deiter, Wisconsin   5th round: LB Andrew Van Ginkel, Wisconsin   6th round: T Isaiah Prince, Ohio State   7th round: FB Chandler Cox, Auburn   RB Myles Gaskin, Washington

SUMMARY: The Dolphins finished 7-9 which is rather impressive considering their offense had a ppg of 19.9. Teams under 20 don’t normally fair well but one way or another, Miami managed seven wins.

They’ll be lucky to make half of that this year. The good news is that Miami is trying to tank for Tua. It would be very concerning if they were trying to compete and ended up being that bad.

With pretty much every possible tradeable asset gone, the Dolphins are a bare bones roster. A receiving core of bust DeVante Parker, Albert Wilson, Allen Hurns and Jakeem Grant will not scare anyone. The offensive line is relatively unknown and the verdict is still out on Kenyan Drake. Mike Gesicki could return to his Penn State form and provide a spark?

Xavien Howard and former Pat Eric Rowe will cycle in the corner spots with long-timer Reshad Jones at safety. The defensive line will be carried by Clemson first-rounder Christian Wilkins.

FANTASY PLAYER TO WATCH: QB Ryan Fitzpatrick

Miami’s passing offense finished 30th last year but Fitzmagic has come to town. As we saw last year in Tampa, Fitzmagic hasn’t died yet. He still has some magic left in the beard. The issue with magic is that it’s entirely unpredictable. Don’t draft Ryan but pay attention to his performances. He could go off at any minute. Be ready to jump on the train.

SCHEDULE   PROJECTED RECORD: 3-13

Week 1: vs. BAL   Week 2: vs. NE   Week 3: @DAL   Week 4: vs. LAC   Week 5: BYE   Week 6: vs. WAS   Week 7: @BUF   Week 8: @PIT   Week 9: vs. NYJ   Week 10: @IND   Week 11: vs. BUF   Week 12: @CLE   Week 13: vs. PHI   Week 14: @NYJ   Week 15: @NYG   Week 16: vs. CIN   Week 17: @NE

AFC NORTH   AFC WEST   AFC SOUTH  NFC NORTH   NFC WEST   NFC EAST   NFC SOUTH   Playoff Predictions   Preseason Power Rankings

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Movie Review: The Extendables

“A vapid photon, glittering for an ignorant audience…I wish they knew what an appalling effort it takes to get your facade ready to be photographed.”

Today’s post comes days after watching Pokemon Detective Pikachu, a film I truly enjoyed. It was a product Pokemon deserved, a lot of fans deserved. It was nice to see a creative project turn out that way. Offered quite the euphoria, the passion of a honeymoon.

All nice things come to an end, however. In comes The Extendables, a picture my brother nominated for Worst Ever. Surely, it could not compare with the infamous Alien 3?

Now, our feature presentation.

Annihilation of art is apathy, approved of affluent if not agitated aggression against amorous activity and an affiliation for assembly. Bemoaned of both brethren and breed, it behooves this beast to bluntly and brutally banish bright benevolence and broach banality boastfully as both benefactor and beneficiary. Cold, collected, calculated, conceded and consumed with callous contains, cancerous cats carry cautiously, carefully clawing cleverness, charm and chivalry whilst creating chaotic confines and crippled creatures. Devoid of desire and detached from development, a drift destined for destitution and desolation, this decrepit and diseased, dour and damaged delicacy devours destiny, destroys design and disables emotion, envious even enamoured with elegance whilst estranged from empathy.

Image result for extendables movie poster free use

If you struggled to understand that poetic dedication, let me dumb it down for you. Apathy is love’s greatest villain and apathy chomps at the bit at any sort of attachment whether emotional or intellectual. It is to apathy’s salvation to eliminate the arts, creativity and all that is good in life. It rips at the fabric of imagination. Color, intrigue, tonality, character, story, passion, apathy wants all of it off the reservation. Apathy is manipulative and a control freak. It’s a parasite and its existence depends on sucking the life out of everything around it.

Apathy presents a large hurdle to progress. Education and resolution depend on conversation. If someone doesn’t care, why would they engage in discussion? It stifles dialogue and emboldens annoyance and frustration. If you get frustrated enough, you’ll start throwing things.

I wanted to throw all the things while watching The Extendables, a film so destructive to the finer qualities of life it’s hard not to mistake it for a toxic waste facility. This production is pretty upfront about its sewage. Its opening sequences reek of an unimaginable fermentation. You recoil from the discharge, effusive and debilitating as it is. The stench is overpowering, paralyzing even. You want with all your power to flip the switch, pull the cord and toss the television off the balcony. It’s infected and your house must be cleansed but you have already been traumatized, made immobile by the force of this wretchedness. There is one option:

Burn it.

All of it.

Rid this poor planet of its existence. Save humanity, for the love of God. Don’t let this cretin escape the premises or we are all doomed. Our extinction is inevitable if you don’t. It is up to you, dear reader, to do what must be done, for the sake of not just this world but the universe as a whole. Black holes, suckers of all things big and small, fear The Extendables. Global warming is caused by this picture. The Sun is being sucked closer to Earth each and every minute by this evergrowing wormhole. The fragments of reality shake in its presence.

The Extendables is a hit piece, designed to attack the framework of Hollywood and art itself, painting the experience of film making with a broad brush of power, greed, negligence and sexual harassment.

Director Brian Thompson had worked in the industry previously and given the blurb he dictates here, he doesn’t think much of the place, slathering it in debauchery and hate-filled rhetoric. If Mr. Thompson wanted his concerns aired, an interview would have done the trick, even a documentary. A parody was not the right format to air his grievances.

And as stupid and unlikable as Mr. Thompson is, I think he was well-aware of this. The Extendables wasn’t about making a point; making a point involves critical thinking, persuasion, communication and a somewhat functioning heartbeat, none of which the abomination possesses. It just is.

The Extendables is all that is wrong with this world: contrived, arrogant and narcissistic, unwavering in its incessant need to control the room. Selfish, short-fused and with the attention span of a fly doused in kerosene, The Extendables is one of those movies that has a face asking to be punched and it feels righteous and right to do so. No redeeming qualities can be found in this hellspawn. Best light it on fire and kick it off a cliff.

Brian Thompson is a sick, sick man, a man full of himself to the point that interacting with him induces vomiting. He’s one of those people who views himself as a supremacist, superior and undeterred until the end. A megalomaniac drunk with self-adulation, Mr. Thompson can’t help but check off the boxes of ways he’s better than everyone else. He probably sends himself a birthday card, the chump.

This dolt, jealous of the success of the musclemen of Hollywood, decided to devise a smear campaign rife with politics and rumor mills. It felt like watching a political commercial if political commercials were an hour and a half long, shot in abandoned buildings in Detroit on film from the 90’s and edited like a college news station in your mom’s basement.

Brian Thompson is a hack. No real artist could ever compose something this unspeakable. The dialogue’s blood flow is clamped with the exception of two snippets where I caught myself edging forward with the slimmest of hopes, the same type of desperation one buried alive shudders with when they see a pinprick of light.

It wasn’t light.

It was water. The cemetery was being poured on and soon I would have the luxury of drowning whilst being entombed. Quite the entertainment.

Beings with such a disregard for human life are often locked away. Thompson walks freely under the “It’s art” license. What crud.

Bumbling birdbrains meander from shot to shot uttering content that makes Billy Madison look like Harvard law school. With such a narrow scene of production, it’s impossible for creativity in shot selection or cinematography to take place.

It’s a single droplet of feces on a canvas, so small and yet so inexplicably damaging. Abrasive like racism and soothing like the Saw franchise, The Extendables leaves me unsympathetic. It’s undeserving of pity or empathy. It wouldn’t know what those things were anyway.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (The MatrixL.A. ConfidentialHerTakenCaptain America: Civil War)

80-89  It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Pokemon Detective Pikachu, The Matrix Reloaded,WantedLaw Abiding CitizenScott Pilgrim Vs. The World)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (The Matrix RevolutionsTriple FrontierI am LegendIp Man 2Ip Man)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (2 Fast 2 FuriousDoctor StrangeJohnny MnemonicJason BourneSuicide Squad)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (XXXThe SilenceThe Fast and the FuriousBrooklyn’s FinestDeath Race)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (DoomThe Fast and the Furious: Tokyo DriftPirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No TalesPower RangersUnderworld: Evolution)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (High-RiseMost Likely to DieIndependence Day: ResurgenceThe Crow: City of AngelsCenturion)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (XXX: State of the Union, The SnowmanAvalanche SharksCatwomanThe Gunman)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (The Coed and the Zombie StonerThe Forbidden DimensionsCyborgOutcastSabotage)

My score for The Extendables: 3.

Apocalpytic agony awaits anyone attempting to extend their life after watching this atrocity. Truly terrible in every critical way, The Extendables is the type of work that needs all of its copies burned. Erase it from history. It will take weeks to soothe the scars on my memory.

With that, we have a new champion. The Extendables is officially the worst to be critiqued on this site.

Congratulations, tool. Now go lock yourself in the basement and swallow the key.

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Movie Review: XXX: State of the Union

“Wars come and go but my soldiers stay eternal.”

Tupac. Nice.

As I went over in a few posts back, XXX wasn’t a good movie. Its spark faded quickly but Hollywood has a severe case of separation anxiety and could not dare distance itself from XXX. It must coddle it and breathe new life into its corpse.

It’s difficult to have a relationship with the creative pasture. Hollywood is the same friend we all have who complains about the many problems of their current relationship. There’s an evident, clear solution but he/she can’t help his/herself. They can’t let things go. Neither can the big wigs.

The brainiacs in California have nightmares about leaving pennies in the trash. They wake in the middle of the night and fling heaps of it all over their mansions, searching for even a speck of metal that might have gone lost. To forgo even a smidge of potential is punishable by death.

No, throwing millions into skydiving without a parachute projects is much more logical.Image result for xxx state of the union movie poster free use

Like many awkward seconds before it, XXX: State of the Union seems destined to fail, with callback after callback in its screen time, as if “remember the first one?!” was its go-to marketing strategy. It spends a considerable amount of film doing this, a coworker who’s jumping from negligible points to unneeded details constantly before even approaching the subject matter of the story. It cuts the air supply to the room, in essence, leaving little wonder why we begin drifting into unconsciousness.

For whatever reason, Ice Cube is told to act like a punk, plain and simple. Spinning your main character as a tough talk jerk isn’t a great sales pitch. That’s part of the XXX program. I understand that. As the original grew, we saw Cage for what he was: an idealist with a rebel streak. Darius Stone is a Navy SEAL who questions authority but his motivations, from start to finish, incur skepticism. Despite his resume, you’re never real sold on his character. The course of the film seems predetermined regardless of the inherit good involved here. The movie doesn’t have the backbone to take a surprise twist into dark canals. It would rather take a trip down memory lane than boat us past storyboards.

Removed from dynamic characters, XXX: State of the Union…I mean, it’s bad, people.

People are usually creating the intrigue in stories, the ones who make the cogs in our head move around. Whether that occur through lust, humor, adrenaline or rational/irrational thought is of little consequence. When the personas are revealed to have little volume, us intellectuals get disgruntled, discouraged and disinterested. We start asking questions.

What is going on?

Who are these people?

And why do they all suck?

Once you’ve lost the dog, you need to have a leash to redirect it. That leash can be cinematography, action sequences, some drops of comedy or sound editing/musical score. I can recall exactly one scene of any of these things that fulfilled its calling and only because of its direct statement to subtle racism. Even a film with poor adventure arches can be tied together with some dialogue composition, banter thrown here and there. This film can’t even get banter right. This movie would be awful at whack-a-mole. Never knows when to swing and when it does, it misses.

It’s not like the director is out of his element either. Lee Tamahori directed Along Came a Spider and Die Another Day, which was the most profitable Bond film to that point in time. He wasn’t a scrub so why does State of the Union play out like one?

A change in writers likely played a role. Vin Diesel and director Rob Cohen chose other projects (wise choice) and the writer who originated the idea was, I assume, nowhere to be found for this adaptation. The tone doesn’t transfer and the rebel cause which was the driving force behind the 2002 tale can’t find its footing.

It’s a straight shot from here to the station. You can see the pieces lining up rather easily and nothing quite shoots a film in the face like predictability and the absence of the realm of possibility. A walk down the street is fine and sometimes a bike ride a few miles down the road but international travel from believability, especially when you don’t have much else going on, is not recommended.

With so little to report, it’s hard to put copy down for this. What am I supposed to talk about past character disorientation, tone betrayal, an absence of showmanship or theatrical prowess, graphic mediocrity and plot pushing?

Can I move on with my life now?

Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (The MatrixL.A. ConfidentialHerTakenCaptain America: Civil War)

80-89  It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Pokemon Detective Pikachu, The Matrix Reloaded,WantedLaw Abiding CitizenScott Pilgrim Vs. The World)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (The Matrix RevolutionsTriple FrontierI am LegendIp Man 2Ip Man)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (2 Fast 2 FuriousDoctor StrangeJohnny MnemonicJason BourneSuicide Squad)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (XXXThe SilenceThe Fast and the FuriousBrooklyn’s FinestDeath Race)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (DoomThe Fast and the Furious: Tokyo DriftPirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No TalesPower RangersUnderworld: Evolution)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (High-RiseMost Likely to DieIndependence Day: ResurgenceThe Crow: City of AngelsCenturion)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The SnowmanAvalanche SharksCatwomanThe GunmanThe Visit)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (The Coed and the Zombie StonerThe Forbidden DimensionsCyborgOutcastSabotage)

My score for XXX: State of the Union: 22.

It’s been quite a few months since I’ve reviewed a film that got a suckage label. XXX: State of the Union just missed out on the honor. Still, we get a new addition to the 20’s, the crudfield before the Chernobyls.

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Movie Review: Pokemon Detective Pikachu

“Harry is still alive. Case closed but still open until I solve it.”

Video games don’t have a great track record and despite my initial reluctance to identify it as one, that’s what Pokemon Detective Pikachu is. Pokemon’s emergence came from its GameBoy release, Pokemon Red and Blue. Since then, it’s developed into one of the largest universes in entertainment, with stocks in anime, manga, trading cards and television.

Unlike some franchises, however, Pokemon has already found success with animated films, composing over 20 projects, though they were all shipped by Kunihiko Yuyama, an acclaimed anime director. Its animated television run is still ongoing, spanning 22 years.

Surely, this would be the one to do it. There’s too much right for this to go wrong.

We’ve said that before though, haven’t we? Numerous times, correct? It’s predetermination, part of sacred cinema texts: Video game movies shall not work.

There were concerns before it came out. Justice Smith had made himself into Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom‘s most hated character, a film which had plenty wrong with it. Casting him in the lead role made my stomach turn. Director Rob Letterman hadn’t released a film in four years and didn’t have the most extensive nor impressive resume. Seemingly innocent flags start to look like red ones when connected to a video game adaptation.Image result for detective pikachu movie poster free use

However, my compatriots, you can finally, after all these years of torment, breathe a sigh of relief and toss that monkey off a cliff. Pokemon Detective Pikachu got it right.

There were other flags before it released that said it might. Ryan Reynolds, who has completely revived his career, was a perfect cast for bantering anime rat, the adrenaline shot a film like this needed. The studio also decided to write an original character rather than bring Ash to screen, a choice I applauded. It demonstrated backbone and a willingness to create. That meant an introductory character arc which could be viewed as its own commodity rather than torn down and berated for not being an exact replica of what was demanded by hardcore fans. It would be able to distance itself from the mass expectations smashing against theater entrances and gather the confidence to walk out on stage.

That’s what this film was going to be about at the end of the day. It wasn’t going to be about the Pokemon themselves, though it could have been. It wasn’t going to be about the spectacle, though that would inject some nostalgia into the room. It was always destined to formulate itself upon the plateau of character. Pikachu became more than a colorful rodent who squeaked “Pika, Pika”. He became a street detective with a caffeine addiction, the writers ascribing a character upon a creature that, even after all this time, the fellas at Nintendo had never considered personifying. Suddenly, Pikachu became even more likable and certainly more relatable. He was funny, whimsical, light-hearted and became a central focal point of the experience more than a sidekick who never had much say in decisions or discussions. Pikachu had an enlivening spirit.

Ryan Reynolds is the best Pokemon Detective Pikachu has to offer and it’s not remotely close. It’s quite remarkable, the difference voice acting can make. Reynolds is the perfect talent for such a thing, as hopefully all my readers have seen from Deadpool, Reynolds’ most iconic role, a performance I believe he’s unlikely to eclipse. Some roles you’re just born to play and Deadpool was and will forever be Reynolds’ baby.

Whenever you feel Pokemon Detective Pikachu begin to teeter, Reynolds brings it back, serving as both quarterback and coach. The story funnels through him and though he’s not the main character, whenever he’s gone too long, the product suffers. Reynolds looms over the picture, in a good, encouraging manner, like a heavy-handed father urging his son forward. Despite his best intentions, that father, and Reynolds here, will continue to overshadow his son until he finds his way, which is what this film is driving towards. It’s pushing Tim (Justice Smith) to become who he was meant to be. Reynolds is just far too talented for his presence to be forgotten for more than a few minutes. Letterman does a commendable job directing the spotlight but it begins to lose some of its glimmer without our bright yellow friend.

Tim is one of the populace, childhood aspirations killed by reality. He wanted to be a Pokemon trainer, wanted to be somebody. Now, he sells insurance.

Tim is coming to the road many shall come upon: deciding to fall back into the plush comfort of running in the hamster wheel at 9-5’s or leaning forward into the gamble that might make us feel whole again. Throw in some family dysfunction and social inadequacy and we’ve got a character, a genuine Poke nerd.

While much of the film is catered to a young adolescent audience, there’s material for more seasoned generations, allowing those to relive what they used to dream of in simpler times. Most notable is the dialogue writing. Sometimes the vehicle is more entertaining than the destination and such is the case here. Stories, especially films, often suffer from anticipation anxiety, so obsessed with getting to the big hurrah that they forget about all the intricacies that make the build what it is. We see this with adaptations especially, production executives jumping with glee when they get to throw Godzilla onto the screen or reveal the Power Rangers mech. One of these films demonstrated self-control and was a box office hit. The other? Oh, the stench.

The best things come to those who wait and toil in the meantime. Reynolds and Smith demonstrate chemistry with their lines and most of the production’s best work comes in the middle frames.

The visuals are fine though not overly glossy. Sometimes, that is what we as an audience needed. Not all pictures have to be so crisp. Sometimes the mind fills in the blanks. That’s not to say Letterman doesn’t take luxuries. A well-composed product will shoot for the awe star from time to time and Letterman makes sure to fire a couple rounds off to remind us he’s standing at attention.

The final third leaves us with some questionable narrative choices and a plot more complicated than it needs to be. Does stint the finale a bit.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (The MatrixL.A. ConfidentialHerTakenCaptain America: Civil War)

80-89  It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (The Matrix Reloaded,WantedLaw Abiding CitizenScott Pilgrim Vs. The WorldThe 40-Year-Old Virgin)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (The Matrix RevolutionsTriple FrontierI am LegendIp Man 2Ip Man)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (2 Fast 2 FuriousDoctor StrangeJohnny MnemonicJason BourneSuicide Squad)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (XXXThe SilenceThe Fast and the FuriousBrooklyn’s FinestDeath Race)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (DoomThe Fast and the Furious: Tokyo DriftPirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No TalesPower RangersUnderworld: Evolution)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (High-RiseMost Likely to DieIndependence Day: ResurgenceThe Crow: City of AngelsCenturion)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The SnowmanAvalanche SharksCatwomanThe GunmanThe Visit)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (The Coed and the Zombie StonerThe Forbidden DimensionsCyborgOutcastSabotage)

My score for Detective Pikachu: 82.

I do not find it coincidental that Bonnie Tyler’s Holding Out for a Hero is the hit Legendary went with as their trailer song. It’s awfully on the nose. We have been holding out for a hero for quite a while, us video game people. We’ve had to put up with a lot of crap for it. We’ve had some that seemed close but never quite got there like Angelina Jolie’s Lara Croft films. We’ve had the Mortal Kombat editions, Doom, which, having reviewed it recently, I can confirm has not aged well. Hitman, Max Payne, Need for Speed, Warcraft, Assassin’s Creed, Tomb Raider and we mustn’t forget this surefire trainwreck coming up. They’ve all abused us but salvation has come. We have a good live-action video game movie and it’s a taste I’ll do my best to savor. Who knows the next time this’ll happen.

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Movie Review: The Matrix Reloaded

“Hope. It is the quintessential human delusion, simultaneously the source of your greatest strength and your greatest weakness.”

Sequels are and always have been harder to write than original content. Originals are like the honeymoon phase of a marriage: passionate, thrilling, sexy, endearing. This is the life, boys. It does not get better than this.

Everything when you first pick up the pen is vigorous, an adrenaline shot of creativity and youthful exuberance. All the paint and tools you could wish for are at your disposal and the canvas is fresh, hot off the press. Free roaming through a magical forest or entering a celestial void are but two of the options. Possibilities are truly endless.

After the framing and hanging of your portrait, there’s a sense of loss the next time you pick up the brush. There’s joy from what you accomplished but sadness that you may never be able to grasp it again, at least not the way you once did. There’s a reason people use the phrase “once-in-a-lifetime experience”. You may make your way back someday but that moment in time has passed and who you were is no longer who you are. Neverland will never be the same.

Image result for matrix reloaded movie poster free use

Yet, a second visit offers a second chance and second opportunity and while a second can, by definition, never be the first, it can be a life of its own when done correctly. A lot of the same pieces may be at play and the general constructs likely stand unmoved but the cogs of the realm are moving once again with a sense of purpose.

A rejuvenated self is certainly thrilled to be back but the longer a journey takes, the more time the quest goes on, meaning there’s an inherent need for further character mining, theme dissertation and the tapping of new plot synapses. The Matrix Reloaded struggles with that.

It’s by no means painful to watch. The Matrix Reloaded is a pretty good film individually. The Wachowskis don’t flounder visually: the stunt choreography and visual effects make a smooth flux from station to station and are the sequel’s headline attraction. Precision and attention to detail are at a high premium here. In fact, some scenes required the invention of new technologies. The famed bullet sequence in the original product required similar innovation. The Wachowskis were always looking for the latest discovery in visual mastery during these productions and in doing so, became pioneers of film editing, digital simulation and even virtual cinematography. The eye bedazzling is impressive and it’s entertaining to see the film’s neurons firing back and forth. It makes for quite a firework show.

*Insert segue

Supporting characters are often the most difficult to write. I find writing central casting carries a sense of calm comparable to knitting or pottery. There is a procedure to it, at least for me, providing the mind a pathway to navigate. I’ve learned it’s challenging for me to channel myself without some form of structure. Direction is easily understood with guardrails. Once guidelines are in place, you can grab a paintball gun and shoot away, develop contours both thin and heavy and begin creating a life.

Secondary proxies are intentionally limited. A role player can be as simple as a funny man but even a comedian comes in a number of varieties. You’re required to make a gag humorous but if you make it too funny then your primary persona is overshadowed and that can snowball into a laundry list of problems. Stories often covet balance in a pyramid structure.

Removed from four pivotal pillars, The Matrix Reloaded yearns for personality. Neo (Keanu Reeves), Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) carry most of the screen time and Hugo Weaving’s Agent Smith takes purposeful strides. Whenever the camera focuses anywhere else, it’s time wasted. Much of this tape is spent on expository dumps via subplot rather than the theological gratification the Wachowskis have gifted us with on many an occasion. Portions of dialogue get clunky and bloated at times, giving points of thematic importance the appearance of someone who needs to layoff the fast food. This happens to writers from time to time but comes unexpected from the Wachowskis, especially in their earlier history. Usually this added parfait gets removed during editing. This scene isn’t a throwaway. There’s some nuisance and message here but it’s also a car stalling to start.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (The Matrix, L.A. ConfidentialHerTakenCaptain America: Civil War)

80-89  It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (WantedLaw Abiding CitizenScott Pilgrim Vs. The WorldThe 40-Year-Old VirginThe Conjuring)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (Triple FrontierI am LegendIp Man 2Ip ManKong: Skull Island)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (2 Fast 2 FuriousDoctor StrangeJohnny MnemonicJason BourneSuicide Squad)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (The SilenceThe Fast and the FuriousBrooklyn’s FinestDeath RaceWind River)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (DoomThe Fast and the Furious: Tokyo DriftPirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No TalesPower RangersUnderworld: Evolution)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (High-RiseMost Likely to DieIndependence Day: ResurgenceThe Crow: City of AngelsCenturion)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The SnowmanAvalanche SharksCatwomanThe GunmanThe Visit)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (The Coed and the Zombie StonerThe Forbidden DimensionsCyborgOutcastSabotage)

My score for The Matrix Reloaded: 83.

Talks of destiny, choice and purpose drive this vehicle to its conclusion and its action keeps audiences at a standstill but a lack of subplot texture and new faces bring some dullness which prevents it from reaching higher precipices.

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Movie Review: Triple Frontier

Image result for triple frontier movie poster free use“So, the question is, do we finally get to use our skills for our own benefit and actually change something?”

The moment you put on that uniform, you’ve signed up for a lifelong commitment. It’s unlike any other job. The phrase “leave work at work” doesn’t apply. The darkness stays with you. It’s not something you can wash off or put to the side. It is a shadow, a small creature nestled in your cranium. It’s that paranoid itch, the second guessing yourself. It is a parasite.

You want out and you know where the door is. Your hand’s on the knob but in a final moment of indecision, you let go because there’s no going back, because there’s no turning back the clock, because maybe the best place for you is in the wind, in the heat of the fight. This is what you’ve trained for. This is what you do. This is where you’re home. This is who you’ve become. You are both warrior and war.

Triple Frontier is an homage to the after phase of our servicemen and women because for many of them, the wars never stop. Inner turmoil, doubt and past transgressions haunt them, things we can relate to but topics more sinister than things we’ve ever experienced. Like the men in this story, there comes a midlife crisis where we start to ask ourselves important questions. Did we do what we came to do? Did we live the dream? Or has it all been for nothing?

It is in these moments where we once again revisit the question of our self-worth. Once we determine the answer to that pivotal inquiry, we, as people, can be capable of rash actions in pursuit of a dream we realize has slipped through our fingers. So is the case with Santiago Garcia (Oscar Isaac), a man who envisioned a future where drug lords would no longer rule countries and politicians would be leaders rather than figureheads for private interests. He’s served his time and returned to the fray as a contractor. There is still so much to do and so little time. It’s a dream Garcia will never get to see, only dream of. The rest of his life looks derelict and meaningless. He needs to do something.

Desperation can be a great motivator. When pushed to the brink, we make some of our most poignant decisions. We saw it in Law Abiding Citizen, if you’ve been paying attention to my recent content. Our aspirations and what we really want, sometimes we don’t realize how much we desire these until we see them start to crumble. We go into a fervor, become possessed in our craving. It’s all we can think about. It’s all we can live for.

Desperation can be a tragic flaw. When surrounded, we lust after vices. Our priorities become a cobweb of desires and we drive ourselves into a frenzy, reaching for anything we can grab our hands on. The apocalypse is on our doorstep. We need to acquire all the power, all the money, we need ALL of everything. We will leave nothing and nothing will stand in our way.

Director J.C. Chandor exists in the early stages as a director but checks my box in the writing category early on. This is a premise with good footing, one not easily knocked off balance. It’s relatable for the struggle, different because of the characters at play. These are men who dedicated their lives to country and it did not pay the dividends they were promised. Does this make them any less of a soldier? Are their values any less ardent because of this belief?

Triple Frontier is a tragedy, an ode to the old Greek tales passed down through the ages. Lines will be crossed. Shadowed paths will be taken. Debris and trash will be left on the wayside.

It’s also a heist film and as with all thievery, things do not go according to plan. Life finds a way to intervene.

This Netflix original is well cast, starring Ben Affleck, who is becoming one of my favorite actors, Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund and Pedro Pascal of The Great Wall fame. Affleck can’t help but outshine his counterparts, displaying inner turmoil and conflict quite easily. That said, the film lacks a central figure. Every great heist film has an imposing star, sometimes two in the case of Inside Man. Every tragedy has a tragic hero. All of these characters qualify for the role but none are afforded the opportunity to truly embrace it, leaving the film faceless. No matter how great a shape one may possess, it’s hard to be memorable without a face.

Triple Frontier struggles to tread water on the back half. It plays true to its identity but those two issues above bode a heavier load as the movie travels on. It just runs out of gas. I don’t know the cause but I have some theories, including a hazard of production delays, director changes and recasts over nearly eight years.

It’s not as visually stirring as I felt it was capable of considering the settings utilized. Without a cover, a story like this could have used photography, image creation, anything bedazzling and Triple Frontier just doesn’t have it.

It’s becoming the norm with Netflix and look, I’m a big supporter of Netflix. A lot of the content I cover comes from that site. I’m still encouraged by the amount of funds they pour into original content but stuff like this, whilst still promising, can also be frustrating for someone who looks at content critically because I see the fault lines. The tape and whiteout are not so easily hidden from a trained eye. Would also be nice if they wouldn’t spend $100 million on a tv show rental but that’s for another time.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (L.A. ConfidentialHerTakenCaptain America: Civil WarDeadpool)

80-89  It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Law Abiding CitizenScott Pilgrim Vs. The WorldThe 40-Year-Old VirginThe ConjuringSinister)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (I am LegendIp Man 2Ip ManKong: Skull IslandThe Invitation)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (2 Fast 2 FuriousDoctor StrangeJohnny MnemonicJason BourneSuicide Squad)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (The Fast and the FuriousBrooklyn’s FinestDeath RaceWind RiverTommy Boy)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (Doom, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo DriftPirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No TalesPower RangersUnderworld: Evolution)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (High-RiseMost Likely to DieIndependence Day: ResurgenceThe Crow: City of AngelsCenturion)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The SnowmanAvalanche SharksCatwomanThe GunmanThe Visit)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (The Coed and the Zombie StonerThe Forbidden DimensionsCyborgOutcastSabotage)

My score for Triple Frontier: 79.

Triple Frontier is another Netflix original with potential that feels underdeveloped. I’m unsure if any of my readers have any experience with composing film. I did back in the day. An underdeveloped photo leaves blurred colors, faded edge work but generally strong contours. Kinda like Triple Frontier.

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