Archive for February, 2011

Welcome to Smackdown where the Edge/Alberto Del Rio feud can begin in earnest tonight. Am I the only one who noticed titles “technically” only need to be defended once every 30 days but there’s more than 30 days before Wrestlemania? So why assume there will be no title matches before the event? Teddy Long is making Vickie Guererro wrestle for her job. She and Drew McIntyre take on Edge and Kelly Kelly and if Vickie loses she’s fired. What’s in it for Drew? Seriously why should he want to beat his crush?

Rey Mysterio jerks the curtain tonight and faces Kane. They made Kane look good at the Elimination Chamber and it wasn’t to be fed to The Undertaker. So what’s going on? Is he wrestling at the big show? Against who? In Money In The Bank, if they even have one? Is he finally retiring and they want to give him a send-off? I feel like I’ve seen this match before. I feel like Steven Spielberg could have made this match out of CGI and old footage. Let’s see if it gets better after the commercial.

Nope, still by-the-numbers. To make it worse, it’s long. It’s the same old big man versus little man match they always do. Weak ass 619, Rey goes for the Seated Senton but gets caught in midair. But Mysterio slides off his back and rolls him up for a pin! They waited that long to do something fresh? Rey’s celebration is interrupted by… Dusty Rhodes?

Dusty is making nice, he’s disappointed in his son and he wants to apologize. And he wants Cody to come out and apologize as well. I smell a set-up. A clear mask for Rhodes was an unusual choice. He’s in a fine suit though. He’s still not really dashing. He’s a little cute but that’s it. Cody is not happy. He lost the Rumble and the Chamber. Dusty tells him becoming dashing made him lose focus. Daddy actually gets Cody to apologize. Dusty and Rey hug and it’s time for the swerve! Dusty helps Cody to get the jump on Rey and a royal beat down follows. Cody performs the ultimate insult by tearing Rey’s mask off and holding it up like a trophy before casually walking off.

It’s 8:35 by the way. Mysterio was the focus of a quarter of the show.

A Layla versus Rosa match is cut incredibly short when Michelle McCool flips and hits Rosa for a DQ. Kofi Kingston, with a taped arm, has to face Jack Swagger. Swagger picks on the arm but gets Kofi to tap out with an Ankle Lock. To be fair, his weight was on his arm.

Vickie looks to Chavo for help but Chavo has grown a spine and decides to leave her high and dry for mistreating him all these years. Long Cena responds to Rock recap then Wade Barrett has to face The Big Show with “The Corre” banned from ringside. Show beats Barrett then, when The Corre do show up he grabs a chair, waffles Gabriel and drives the rest off.

Man there is a lot of recap and filler tonight. Now we hear about The Undertaker returning. This brings us to our joke of a tag match and Edge decides to tag Kelly in right away. Vickie takes one very safe bump, some shaking then gets to tag out. Drew seems upset that KK is with Edge. The men take over for a long time. Drew hits a Big Boot that looks good and Edge sells it like PT Barnum. After not that long we get Double Spears and Edge pins McIntyre for the win. Vickie is fired. I can hope. I can hope. Teddy Long is out to gloat. Vickie’s fired and she goes running around begging people for help in a way that is pathetic rather than amusing. She begs refs, cameramen, Booker, Cole then finally… Edge for help. “Na na na na” gets tired if you overuse it. Vickie heads out screaming but Del Rio attacks him out of nowhere. Is Vickie going to be in Del Rio’s corner at Wrestlemania? It would actually make sense for him to hire him to consult against Edge. Vickie knows Edge well and could be a big distraction both building to the match and at ringside during it. As much as I hate Vickie, it makes sense. We’ll see if it happens.

Not enough Del Rio. Too many RAW recaps, which even include recaps from the previous RAW. No good matches. Seriously when The Big Show versus Wade Barrett is the best thing all night it’s a very subpar Smackdown. The Cody Rhodes segment stole the show. Cody continues to impress. Nothing else really did.

Posted on February 26th, 2011 by Lucian | Comments Off on Wrestling Recap: WWE Smackdown Week Ending 2/25/11
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Best Live Action Short Films

The Confession
Worried about making his first confession, nine year old boy Sam and his best friend decide to play a prank so he will have something to confess.  However, when the prank takes a tragic turn, Sam finds his guilt to be overwhelming.  First things first- the cinematography is breathtaking and certainly noteworthy, but the dark story takes an unexpected turn towards the end which leaves the story in a weird place.

The Crush
An eight year old boy has a crush on his teacher that he takes a little too far when he challenges her fiance to a duel to the death.  This film started off sweet and funny, but quickly went to a dark and angsty place.  The final scene, the duel which finds the eight year old boy with his father’s gun, was uncomfortable to watch and seemed very out of place.  In the end, everything ties up nicely and it’s back to being light hearted again.  All in all, it’s a strange ride, and while it’s as dark as The Confession, it’s not nearly as compelling.

God of Love
Ray, a lounge singer who excels in darts, prays daily for his love to be reciprocated by drum player Kelly, who is inexplicably in love with his best friend.  The gods answer Ray in the form of a mysterious package of love inducing darts.  In a year of very dark nominees, this film is such a breath of fresh air.  It’s fast talking dialogue and artistic visuals make it feel like a modern film noir.  In terms of sheer enjoyment, this was by far the best film of the bunch.

Na Wewe
In the mid 1990’s in Burundi, a van is pulled over by a group of Hutus who separate the group to weed out and kill any rival tribe members, Tutsis.  The film is intense and definitely keeps you engaged, but the violence seemed very watered down from what you’d expect to see.  While the film attempts to make light of the fact that the Hutus really cannot tell who is a Tutsi and who is not, knowing that there was so much genocide during that time makes this film feel like it’s really holding back.

Wish 143
When David, a terminal cancer patient, is offered a wish through the Make a Wish foundation, he asks to lose his virginity.  When the foundation can’t grant him his wish, David attempts to make it happen on his own, with the advice from the hospital priest, before time runs out.  This story is so touching, and accomplishes a great task for a short by making you both laugh and cry.

What Will Win: Subject matter and what the Academy tends to favor would suggest that it’s a toss up between The Confession and Na Wewe, but I think that Wish 143‘s sweet story will win over voter’s hearts and edge out ahead the rest.

What Should Win: God of Love was my favorite by a landslide.  It was original, smart, witty, and gorgeous to look at.  It’s possible it could take the award home on Oscar night (it’s really anyone’s race!), but even if it doesn’t, I think we haven’t seen the last of the immensely talented writer/director/actor Luke Matheny.

Posted on February 25th, 2011 by Jess | Comments Off on 2011 Oscars: Best Live Action Short Films
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Remember that awesome Mortal Kombat: Rebirth “spec” short film made during the summer? The really awesome gritty crime drama take on the series from Fame director Kevin Tancharoen? Well thankfully the folks at Warner Brothers were as impressed with it as us fans were and decided to greenlight it into a digital series to coincide with the release of the all new Mortal Kombat game. Well, we have our first image of Jeri Ryan reprising the role of Sonya Blade.

Michael Jai White will also be reprising his role of Jax from the short, with ??Darren Shahlavi portraying Kano. Warner Brother’s press release mentions that we’ll see both Sub-Zero and Scorpion, in addition to other famed Kombat series characters. The upcoming series will feature nine short episodes. I can’t wait to see what they come up with.

Posted on February 24th, 2011 by ThePit | Comments Off on New Image from the Upcoming Mortal Kombat Series
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Best Animated Feature

How to Train Your Dragon
A unique story about a viking kid who befriends the most vicious kind of dragon and learns from him that the species may be misunderstood. It’s a sweet film that definitely tugs on the heart strings, with a great score, interesting characters, and huge voice talent. However, many people’s early predictions felt this slot would either go to this film or Tangled, and I personally felt Tangled was a lot better.

The Illusionist
From the director and writer of The Triplets of Belleville, The Illusionist is a bittersweet story about a struggling magician whose stage performances are being edged out by rock stars, so he takes a young girl under his wing and changes both their lives forever. Much like Triplets, it’s a story told completely by the visuals with hardly any dialogue to speak of, but you would never notice it because the characters interact so well and convey such personality with their actions. Unlike Triplets, though, it doesn’t have the incredible music to act as a soundtrack to this story, and it feels as though something is missing.

Toy Story 3
Woody, Buzz and the gang are back for this final installment that explores what happens to toys when their owner gets too old to play with them. When the toys are accidentally delivered to a day care center, they must learn the rules of their new home, while Woody tries to convince them they need to come back to Andy’s house. Every new character is such a great addition to the franchise, even the insanely creepy Big Baby, and some of our old characters get great subplots, like Barbie’s relationship with Ken. When the moment comes where you’re wondering if it will take a dark turn, if you’re not overcome by emotion and love for the characters you’ve seen through 3 films, then you might be a robot.

What Will Win: Toy Story 3. It wasn’t just the best animated film this year, but one of the best films.

What Should Win: There are some years where you could argue against the always front runnner Pixar, but this year isn’t one of them.

Posted on February 23rd, 2011 by Jess | Comments Off on 2011 Oscars: Best Animated Feature
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The road to Wrestlemania is not a short one. We have to wait until April. Clocks will change before we get to the show. RAW begins with a countdown from 60:00 layered over the 2 21 11 promo. Then it’s time for last night’s Chamber winner, and thus new #1 contender, John Cena. The crowd is not so much anti-Cena as obsessed with The Rock. And I am finally sick of seeing footage from this promo. Cena reminds us of his degree in Thuganomics as he cuts a very edgy (for PG) rated rap on the Great One. Suddenly Cena is back in this game and some people are all too ready to run down The Rock as a sell-out. Josh Matthews is with Cole but Cole will be interviewing Jerry Lawler later.

Keeping the fire hot for John Morrison has him facing CM Punk tonight. Morrison is selling a bad leg from last night. Punk looks no better. But Morrison has the obvious target and is most off his game so Punk is able to take advantage and hit an eventual Go To Sleep for a pinfall. The announce team is big on Morrison throughout though. Punk wants to tale to Randall Keith Orton and promises the New Nexus has the night off. Punk will let Orton walk away from Wrestlemania. If he doesn’t then Punk will finish what Orton started in 2008. But Orton is actually here tonight and Punk just barely escapes an RKO. And look Nexus is really here. But Punk won’t let them engage. No ambivalence in the crowd where Orton is concerned.

Brand splits mean less and less as Mania approaches and Alberto Del Rio being here in an awesome Lamborghini is just further proof of that. Before Del Rio can even finish posing Kofi Kingston runs out to attack him. It ends up badly for Kingston as he gets another taste of the Cross Armbreaker to an arm still hurt from it last night.

Now it’s The Miz’s turn to speak. He’s running down The Rock too for his lame insults. The anonymous E-GM has two cents to contribute as well. For no good reason the GM forces The Miz to tag with John Cena and gives them a tag titles shot.

Gail Kim and Eve take on the Bellas. I care about one of them. This is filler while the clock counts down from 6:30. The Bellas win the only way they ever seem to by pulling a mid-match switcheroo. Okay commercial then time to end this countdown.

3…2…1 and The Undertaker appears stepping out of the old house on video. And soon he is here live. He actually looks better than he did the last time I saw him. As always, it takes him a long time to get to the ring. It’s enough to want the motorcycle back.

And then….

TIME TO PLAY THE GAME!

Okay, I was right. We’re going to have one hell of a match at Wrestlemania. Water spit! I’ve missed that at least. Both guys are in the ring and neither has a microphone. They stare each other down. Hunter looks up at the Mania sign, Taker takes a long look too then smirks. He starts to walk away, turns back and makes the throat cut. He gets a DX chop in return. I am not doing this close to justice. It is flat out awesome. We end with them still staring at each other and not one word was spoken. A thing of sublime beauty.

Cole seems to believe the match is set. Here comes King Sheamus, how will he react to the return of the man he claims to have retired? But first he has to face Mark Henry. Watching Sheamus drag Henry to a watchable match is making me think higher of him. That’s why it’s all the more annoying when Henry actually wins due to Sheamus hitting the turnbuckle ring he himself exposed. I’ve heard Kevin Dunn (bigwig in WWE creative) is really down on Sheamus. The king outfit was meant to make him look foolish and now he seems to be cascading down the card. When you lose to Mark Henry, your career is in trouble.

Miss USA is a contestant on Tough Enough? That makes me worry. An angry Sheamus tries to take his frustrations out on Daniel Bryan but Bryan is actually able to deflect his ire. They are finally announcing Hall of Fame inductee #2 and it’s Hacksaw Jim Duggan. Ted Dibiase Sr. has the honour of inducting him.

I’m tired of Michael Cole and now he’s putting himself over Gorilla Monsoon, JR and other greats. He has to make an exception for Vince of course. Time for a live interview with The King and both guys will get fired if they fight. I could live with that. Lawler is following Taker and HHH’s lead and not speaking. That means it’s all Cole. Cole is going low, he even says Jerry let his mother down. And that makes Jerry grab his lapels and threaten his life. And Lawler drops the bomb. He challenges Cole to a match at Wrestlemania. Cole vows to never wrestle, throws water in his face and runs away just to be sure about it.

Wow, the main event kind of crept up on me. So we get Matthews and Lawler calling the main event. It can’t be worse than having Cole there. Both teams are getting along fine at first. The main eventers dominate, trying to show the other up but making regular tags. And The Miz hits a SCF on Justin Gabriel and The Corre hold the titles for all of a day. The Miz and John Cena are tag champions. I seem to recall they did this before with John Cena and Shawn Michaels. But The Corre are invoking their rematch clause right now. E-GM pipes up and Josh Matthews has to field his three word statement “Ring the bell.”

The commentary comes off a little soft spoken but works just fine. Cena is clapping and cheering Miz on. This is just strange. We hit the overrun with Corre interference giving Slater the advantage over The Miz. When Cena finally gets back in he sets up Slater for an Attitude Adjustment only to have Miz sneak in and nail him with the SCF (that’s the Skull Crushing Finale if you’re new) and The Corre get their belts back. Cena looks a little too surprised but suitably disappointed. Still, that’s an official reign added to the resume of all four competitors.

This was well worth watching. If you still have the chance, check it out.

Posted on February 22nd, 2011 by Lucian | Comments Off on Wrestling Recap: WWE Raw Week Ending 2/26/11
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Short Animated Films

Day & Night
Pixar’s entry this year shows what happens when Day and Night meet and argue over who is better, only to realize they each have their own great qualities and traits and can get along.  Insanely unique and well done, the animation is amazing as always and the story is different from Pixar’s usual fare.

The Gruffalo
Based on the children’s book of the same name, this short boasts some high profile UK voice talent with Helena Bonham Carter as the narrator, Robbie Coltrane as The Gruffalo, and Tom Wilkinson and John Hurt rounding out the supporting roles.  It tells the story of a cunning mouse who goes for a stroll, outwitting enemies along the way with the threat that he is meeting a scary, made up predator, the Gruffalo.  Only, the mouse finds out that the Gruffalo may not be so made up after all.  The story is long, predictable, and at 27 minutes, tends to drag a bit.  In the end, it’s a sweet children’s story with average animation.

Let’s Pollute
A satirical take on an educational film, this short instructs you on how to pollute best by never reusing anything and throwing everything away.  Because it’s so short (about 6 minutes), it’s obvious message doesn’t escalate to preachy, but with it’s rudimentary animation, it’s probably here for its relevance and nothing else.

The Lost Thing
In a place not unlike our world today, where many are too busy to stop and notice anything, a boy finds a lost thing on the beach and attempts to find it a home.  The animation is beautiful and it’s message, while not very subtle, is conveyed in a unique way when the boy discovers a whole world of things right in front of us that everyone has seemingly forgotten.

Madagascar, A Journey Diary
A traveler has new experiences, including spiritual enlightenment, on a trip to Madagascar, as presented to us while flipping through his travel diary.  In terms of animation, this is by far the most unique, as it flips through the diary every sketch comes to life and in every shot the animation is different.  However, because it’s told in such a different way, the story can be slightly incohesive.

What Will Win: It’s a toss up whether the Academy will favor the star studded voice cast in The Gruffalo or the unique animation with a spiritual side in Madagascar, A Journey Diary.  It really could be either, but I’m going to give the edge to Madagascar, based on last year’s Logorama win and the year before’s La Maison en Petits Cubes.

What Should Win: It’s hard to believe that Pixar is the underdog in this category, but I think Day and Night is one of it’s strongest shorts yet.

Rumor has it that Kevin Costner will be joining Henry Cavill in Zack Synder’s Superman reboot. Deadline broke the story, saying that Costner’s role would be a key role in the superhero film but they didn’t have the information on who he would be portraying.

Let me start by saying that I think Costner is awesome actor and that I’d love to see him in the new Superman flick. He would, without a doubt, be a perfect fit for Jonathan Kent, Superman’s adoptive earth father. Costner has all of the qualities needed to shape Clark Kent into the Man of Steel. He just gives off the vibe of  a caring and loving father, and has fit well as a country man in the past (Field of Dreams!).

Snyder has mentioned that the new film would explore the time between when Clark Kent leaves Smallville and before he settles into Metropolis. In the current DC Comics continuity, Clark spend that time traveling the world learning about different cultures and saving people in secret. I would love if the new movie kept Jonathan Kent alive and well, unlike the past series of films (Donnor through Singer). In the comic Jonathan lived for quite a while and was able to see Clark not only become Superman, but save the would countless times, die fighting Doomsday, rise from the dead, marry Lois Lane, etc. I always felt that Superman having both Jonathan and Martha Kent, two loving parents, in his life is what really separated him from Batman. It is what allows him to be a beacon of light and hope, instead of the rage and darkness that Batman feels.

Either way I think casting Kevin Costner as Pa Kent would be a great move and I have high hopes with where the new Superman film is going.

Posted on February 22nd, 2011 by ThePit | Leave a Comment (1)
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