Thursday, September 29, 2011

Conversations in the Dark

Just a little
Something I had thought of yesterday.
That despite the daylight and all the media that engulfs us all, and is so much apart of everyone's lives these days, that in essence we are all pretty much strangers still.

How we are all in the dark when in comes to how most others think and dream?

Sure we can carry on conversations, we do every day.  But words get skewed, ideas misrepresented and sometimes it feels like too much is going on around is that we wind up getting lost, and a darkness really looms large around us.

And finally, how each of us have our own likes, hates, wants and desires and ideas for our own lives and on worldly topic in general.

So I thought I'd try to represent this all in a piece and this is what I came up with.  Hope you all enjoy.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Moneyball dramatizes the Oakland Athletics unlikely rise to success during the 2002 Major League Baseball season.  Although that team did have tremendous success that season, it was the way the team was built that would forever change baseball history.

It’s funny, at one point I considered my baseball fan-hood to be shared equally, between my inherited allegiance, that being the New York Yankees, and this team that had an elephant with a giant A on it’s side for a logo.  ESPN is partially to blame for my brief deviation from the familial tribe.  It was the first season ESPN started showing nightly baseball.  I recall watching game upon game, if remembered correctly that whole first week had double-header after double- header.  One of the teams that got a lot of attention was the Oakland Athletics.  I’m not sure whether it was that particular squad that prompted the early broadcasts or if the lower selection of late night gaming options spurred their games being televised but back then I didn’t care, I was loving every minute of it. 

I remained a pretty loyal fan of the green and gold, that is, until they started unloading their stars, whether by trade or through free agency. My favorite players back then where Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, Dennis Eckersley and although not a player, Tony LaRussa was the man in my eyes.  So when the manager left Oakland for St. Louis, my fan-card switched allegiances as well.

To this day, along with my love of all things Yankees, I’ve remained a Cardinal fan as well.  I’ve since adopted a few other teams to pull for as well, namely the Mets and Tigers, but a weird thing took place for me during the process.  After Yankee domination was elating the state and displaced bomber fans across the globe, with their consistent adherence to fielding an almost unbeatable squad, although never wavering away, as I’ve heard some had- those tired of the “Buying” championships notion, I also started watching more games in general.  I would plop myself on the couch and view whatever games I had to choose from, whether it meant catching a Cards game on TBS whenever they played Atlanta, Indian games were played locally back then as were the Yankees of course.  While ESPN continued their tradition of broadcasting MLB games, I also had the opportunity, as did anyone really, to watch more teams than I otherwise would have been able to.  So, my baseball history, as a fan, goes from inheriting a team to follow, to finding other sources to cheer, to watching whatever games I could set my eyes upon.

So with my personal backstory aside, I remember vividly The Streak, and although I didn’t consider myself a current fan, I was pulling for the underdog the entire way.

The system Billy Beane used changed the course of Baseball history.  It proved that the small markets, underfunded clubs, could in fact play with the big boys with astronomical budgets galore.  This idea transcends to other sports as well, where as it gives hope to those following a franchise in the various Oaklands out there.  Living my life in Buffalo, NY I know all too well the ever-present small market ideology that becomes both the causer of anxiety, wondering how long this gig can last, as well as a badge of courage to wear upon your chest.   This latter idea offers the hope that, “when we finally become the best, we’ll have done it in spite of everything.  For all obstacles aside, we’ll be the best in the world.”  This idea, because of the ideas behind the theory Beane used, gives hope in this respect, can, and has, invigorated small towns with the belief that anything is possible.  And now, in this time of economic despair that seems to linger much longer than anyone of us would like, we’re seeing how these “Small” markets are now being the heaviest hit in their relation to the current economy. So, of course, people living in such cities are looking for a reprieve, something to hang their hat upon and get behind.  With the ideas developed by Bill James in his Sabermetric system and then championed by Billy Beane and Peter Brand, fans now know that anything is possible, and on any given night, they chance will be there for them to succeed.

As to the film itself, I felt the acting was up to the level you’d expect.  Brad Pitt did a pretty decent job as Beane, Jonah Hill was pretty great as Brand and Phillip Seymour Hoffman put an outstanding, albeit minor, performance in as A’s manager Art Howe.

The film is set up like a documentary.  It runs linear along a timeline and skips gaps of time by utilizing “chapters” or “headlines.”  Yet, although that documentarian/historian feel is there, you never really feel like you’re watching one at all.  Outside the chapter screens and the small amount of voiceover, Moneyball plays like a film, which, of course, it is.  It really plays tribute to the people and the events that took place, with, if any, a small amount of liberties taken, which, is pretty unusual with Non-Fiction based works. 

I’ve been told that the movie, while not as detailed, is pretty true to the story told in Michael Lewis’s 2003 bestseller Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game.  I have the book and am eager to jump in their now having seen the movie.  It’s weird that I’ve had the book for sometime now and am typically the kind of person that always reads the book before seeing the film, and in the cases where I see the movie first; rarely do I then head to the pages that inspired it.  It’s different in this case though, as seeing the movie, listening to the overview of what the Sabermetric system is, makes me want to dig deeper and gain an even better understanding.

That’s what this film does.  It offers a brief understanding of what took place back in 2002 and touches upon the ramifications of what Beane and Brand did.  For the casual baseball fan you’ll enjoy learning more about events that have shaped the game you watch today.  For the longtime fan you’ll be taken back to a glorious period where underdogs become favorites and media darlings.  If you’re thinking about seeing the movie, do it.  If you’re not at all interested, you’re probably not reading this review, but I think you’d enjoy Moneyball as well.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


In director John Singleton’s new action-thriller Abduction, the question so many ponder when they’re growing up, “How can I be related to these people,” and then continues to raise the stakes, one rung at a time, until that question turns into a “What If.”  What If you found out that your parents were not your real parents?  What if a mystery potentially surrounded that question?  What if everything you’ve known your entire life, one day turns out to be nothing but an elaborate cover-up, a sham?

This is exactly what happens to Nathan Harper/Price, played by Taylor Lautner (from Twilight fame).   The film opens up detailing a thrill seeking, living-on-the-edge, up for anything, high school senior.  We see Nathan, lying atop his friend’s car, as it drives down the road at high speed.  We don’t see apprehension in him.  Instead we see what adrenalin looks like visually.  The teens proceed to a party, one that Nathan will awake from the next morning, shirtless and asleep in the host’s front yard. 

His “parents each have their own, quite different methods for dealing with his irresponsibility.  His “father” submits the hung-over student to an all-out training session, consisting of a mixture between boxing, wrestling and MMA, that has more of a fight-for-your-life air to it than any type of sparring session I’ve ever seen.  His mother, on the other hand, institutes a punishment that should resonate with most adolescents Nathan’s age, a week of grounding.  She follows her sentencing up by telling him “Trust isn’t give, it’s earned.”

As we find out later on, Nathan would need to rely on the “mental lessons” taught by his mother as well as the “physical training” provided by his father.  In fact Nathan would have to learn much more, not just to succeed, but also in order to survive.   We find out that Nathan is also an accomplished Wrestler, again illustrating his physical ability.  We see he’s struggled with emotions, namely intense nightmares and deep-seated rage.  He’s been seeing psychiatrist Gerrie, played by Sigourney Weaver, who teaches him the mental aspects of restraint and focus.  Each of these skills would be essential if Nathan would avoid Russian bad guy Nikola.  In addition, Singleton’s stakes building continues, as he’s not simply pitted against the Russian, he’s also avoiding being captured by Frank Burton, a corrupt CIA agent, played by Alfred Molina (from Law & Order fame). 

But Singleton’s not quite done.  He ante’s the pot with three more twists, yet again deepening the stakes.  He includes the fact that his biological father, Martin Price, who’s never actually seen wholly, adding to the mysterious nature of his character, is a top-level black ops agent, one of the best, instilling fear even amongst those on his own team.  Nathan’s survival mission has the final twist, he not only must survive each of his pursuers deadly game of chase, he must do so knowing that if he doesn’t do what the Russian wants all of his friends will be killed until he obeys.  The final nuance is that the girl of his dreams, played by Lily Collins (from Priest and The Blindside), gets caught up in the game as well, as she not only witnesses the murders of his “parents,” but is also mentioned by Burton, thus making the implied statement that she’s not safe, no matter what Nathan does or doesn’t do. 

The fact that she’s the girl he’s always loved, yet never able to muster the courage to let her know how she feels, is interesting to watch the pair work together.  Hours before all hell broke loose at Nathan’s house the two could barely sustain extended looks at one another, where as know the pair would have to work together with much more than a homework assignment on the line.    

Overall the film was a point-to-point, swiftly paced thriller, and with just enough non-action oriented scenes to deepen the plot and to uncover the details needed to push it forward.  The inciting incident takes place very early in the film, leaving the majority of the movie in full-on action mode, making for a pretty good theatrical ride.

I was impressed with Lautner’s first real stab at being an action hero.  I thought he did much better than I assumed he’d be and was also impressed by Alfred Molina who had a real nice conceal on his corrupt side, only leaked through dialogue.  He carried himself as a “friend” to Nathan, yet gave off just enough “edge” to indicate that more was certainly yet to be determined with his character. 

That said I thought, while understanding Lautner is still honing his craft, that a better job could have been done with his character.  On a similar note, but more script oriented in nature, is that it was a rather swift transition from irresponsible teenager to that of a focused target who’s able to outwit professional killers and trained CIA operatives in the process.  I guess it makes sense, in the “put up or shut up” frame of thinking, that if he would have spent more time in the mental swarm of emotional turmoil, that would no doubt be wrecking havoc upon his character, he never would have made it through the tale, getting caught or killed very early in the film.  That said though, I thought a little more of that emotional swelling could have been detailed, outside of a few morning tears in the woods and a passionate, albeit brief, trip down memory lane with Karen in the train compartment.

In all you can’t really go wrong with Abduction, that is, if you’re looking for an action oriented high stakes thriller with a fair storyline and a whole bunch of chase scenes.  Sure the acting could be better, the ending a bit more climactic and there are a few plot holes that could be filled in, but I really don’t feel that any of this flaws will ruin your experience or hinder your suspension of disbelief.  Additionally, Abduction also stars Maria Bello (from various entities, including TV’s Prime Suspect) and Michael Nyqvist (from the Swedish versions of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy).

Saturday, September 24, 2011

NFL Week 3 Game Predictions

My impressive prognosticating continued in Week Two, where I tabbed 13 games correctly, while missing out on only three.  Other weekly accolades:  I correctly picked Denver's 24 points scored, picked the 4 pt margin of victory for the TB/MIN game and I picked the shutout for Pittsburgh, I picked 28-0 while the actual score was 24-0.

Last Week 13-3  Season 24-8

The games I missed this past week:

Atlanta beating Philadelphia.  It's hard to predict when a player will go down with an injury.  Vick and the Eagles were soaring before he got hurt.  it was a completely different game after he went out.

Cleveland beating Indianapolis.  While many correctly picked this game, I thought Kerry Collins, having an extra week in, would have led the Colts past the Browns.  I was wrong and the Colts may be worse off than I originally thought.

Tennessee beating Baltimore.  Talk about a let down.  The Ravens destroyed their nemesis in Week one to get torched by Hasselback and Britt in week two.  A Blindside for sure.

Week 3 Predictions.

New England @ Buffalo

NE owns Buffalo, at least for the past 15 games they have.  That's how long it's been since Buffalo last beat the Patriots, the score that day was 31-0.  This is the best looking Bills squad Brady and Co. have had to face in that span though.  Both offenses are flying at full throttle and this game may come down to which defense steps up first.  While I think it should be fairly close, despite the current 8 point spread would suggest, I can't see Buffalo's defense stopping Brady.  NE 49  Buffalo 42

San Francisco @ Cincinnati

This game may be very ugly.  I like both defenses in this contest.  I really have no idea who to pick here.  I don't trust the 49'er offense and I actually am very impressed with Andy Dalton and AJ Green.  Bengals 21 49'ers 17

Miami @ Cleveland

Maybe the Dolphins will do better now that they go on the road.  I don't like Miami but I'll give them credit, they've been feeding Brandon Marshall and it's pretty fun to watch.  The Reggie Bush-as-featured back experiment seems to be giving ways.  I expect to see a heavier dose of Daniel Thomas in this game, a stinker by most accounts.  I also look for Evan Moore, yes Evan Moore to be the difference here. Cleveland 13 Miami 7

Denver @ Tennessee

Denver's kind of banged up on offense and Tennessee's at home with an offense that's red hot.  Tennessee 24  Denver 14

Detroit @ Minnesota

While it's easy to see how poorly the Vikings offense has been, it's also important to note that their secondary, albeit two weeks old, this season has pretty much taken the elite receivers out of the games.  That said, the Lions offense is ridiculous right now and I can't see anyone in the Minnesota secondary being able to handle Megatron.  Detroit 31  Minnesota 10

Houston @ New Orleans

Houston's been impressive so far.  They have the leagues first placed defense.  Star RB Arian Foster hasn't really played yet, and despite that fact the Texans are still pounding the rock with impressive 2nd year back Ben Tate.  Oh yeah they still have a guy by the name of Andre Johnson. That all said the Saints made a major rebound last week and they're at home, where they're virtually unbeatable.  I see a close game with the Saints winning it late.  New Orleans 27  Houston 24

New York Giants @ Philadelphia

NY has looked bad in both games and perhaps worse in their win against the Rams.  The Giants will have to fake a dozen injuries to slow down the Eagles at home.  Philadelphia 34 NYG 20

Jacksonville @ Carolina

Cam Newton is one, if not the, most impressive surprises to the season so far.  I was going to take the Jags, despite their offensive woes and even with Blaine Gabbert making his first start, but after what Newton's done in only two weeks, there is no way I can do that.  Newton rolls on the ground and through the air for his, and his teams, first win in 2011.  Carolina 23 Jacksonville 13

New York Jets @ Oakland

Common sense would be to take the Jets.  They have a strong defense, an incredibly smart Head Coach and an excellent running game on paper.  Oakland's been pretty impressive so far and have shown they can air it out if DMC is taken out of the equation, which I must note he hasn't been in either game so far.  I'm going to pick the Home Dog here on the basis of Sanchez's inconsistent play and a beat up O-line.  Campbell throws for 3 in this one, regardless of what WR's line up for him this week.  Oakland 28 NYJ 20

Baltimore @ St. Louis

This, to me, is another one of those angry team getting right match-ups.  Baltimore has to be infuriated with the way they played last week and eager to seek redemption.  St. Louis has been playing well but they are in disarray on offense and they'll need to score to keep pace.  I look for a good game out of Flacco, Boldin and Rice here.  Baltimore 27 St. Louis 14

Kansas City @ San Diego

The bleeding has to end sometime, Doesn't it?  Unfortunately for Chiefs fans it isn't going to happen this week.  This game has a chance for some second half reps for Billy Volek.  San Diego 44 KC 10.  At least, if you're a KC fan, you can take solace in the fact that they have a chance to double their offensive seasonal output, that is, if this score holds up.

Green Bay @ Chicago

Green Bay has a bit of trouble going on in their back end, as Cam Newton brought to light last week.  However, if Jay Cutler has to drop back 50 times in this one, he'll be out and Caleb Haney will be the QB going due to injury.  If Chicago runs the ball I see a competitive game, if they don't GB will own this one, irritating all in attendance.  Green Bay 17 Chicago 7

Arizona @ Seattle

If it wasn't for KC, a strong case could be made that Seattle is the worst team right now.  Arizona's not much better but at least they have an offense.  Kolb is spreading the ball around, making Jeff King a household name.  Fitzgerald is helping as he's often seeing two and three DB's.  Beanie Wells is looking like the back they took a few years ago in the first round.  If it wasn't for defensive issues they'd have a stranglehold on the NFC West right now.  Seattle hasn't shown anything, except an adequate performance by their Run Defense.  Doesn't matter here, as Arizona will toss the ball all over the field.  Arizona 28 Seattle 17

Atlanta @ Tampa Bay

The Falcons seem to be having an identity crisis on the offensive side of the ball.  They've always been a strong running game with an elite WR who'll catch them 100 balls in White.  This year, QB Matt Ryan, with the addition of stud rookie WR Julio Jones, doesn't seem to know where to throw the ball.  Luckily he's got a great safety valve in Tony Gonzalez, still extremely productive at this stage of his career.  Tampa's been having more trouble on offense though.  Freeman's been pretty bad so far, and Mike Williams was taken out of the game last week.  Luckily Blount came back to life last week.  I assume Tampa spent a fair amount of time watching how Vick and the Eagles were able to move the ball around and expect to see a better outing this week.  That said I don't think it'll be enough to stop Ryan and company.  Atlanta 23  Tampa Bay 19

Pittsburgh @ Indianapolis

Unless the Steelers take this game for granted I can't see a loss here. It actually strains the mind trying to think of how that scenario would possibly play out.  One thing though, is that if Indy can't hold up the pass rush of the Steelers, there is a strong likelihood Kerry Collins is sent into an earlier than expected retirement.  Pittsburgh 28 Indianapolis 6

Washington @ Dallas

This is a great match-up for Monday Night football.  On the one side you have the surprising Washington team, who nobody projected to be 2-0 right now.  On the other side you have Tony Romo, maligned for his errors in week one, only to be seen playing through cracked ribs and a punctured lung in week two.  Dallas is in trouble here.  They are confident in Jon Kitna should Romo not be able to go, but there's also a strong possibility that they'll be without 3 other stars, WR's Bryant and Austin and RB Felix Jones.  If none of those players are able to go, you'll see Kevin Ogletree, Jesse Holley and DeMarco Murray get a ton of action.  Not saying they'll do well, but at least Washington won't have much film, if any, on these guys.  With all the injuries and the positive vibes in the nation's capital I can't possibly pick Dallas this week, even though they're at home.  Washington 34 Dallas 23

Here's to another great week of NFL action.

Fantasy Football League Week Three Predictions

In picking last weeks games I went 4-2 for the second straight week, meaning I've gone 8-4 for the season thus far.

Last weekends games had some interesting moments to say the least.  We saw some high scores and only one close contest.


Blood & Thunder 127  6Wide 120

This is one of the two games I had predicted incorrectly.  It was an extremely close game between these two perennial powerhouses, literally coming down to the second half of Monday Nights Giants-Rams game.  Despite the final score though, Blood & Thunder has to consider himself fortunate for pulling this one out.  With 34 viable points not-played, rotting away on his bench, and where he made the incorrect call on his last minute addition of the Bills defense that netted him a goose egg.  Additionally his young star receiver Mike Williams was held pointless after a touchdown grab was called back because of a penalty.  Despite all of this, luck seemed to fall his way, as the strangest things compounded for 6 Wides club, a poor game from his elite WR Roddy White being the least odd.  Mike Vick was shredding the falcons before an unfortunate hit saw kennels cheering everywhere, as Vick became concussed.  Then with his last chance for victory, where Mario Manningham needed a very doable 12 points also saw a concussion ending his game and 6 Wides chance for victory.

Cinderella Story 134  LeGarrettesbluntwraps 96.

This is the other game I picked wrong. This game really was never in doubt, despite LGBW's namesake going off against Minnesota.  The season that looked so promising post-draft just keeps getting worse for LGBW, seeing his Elite RB's either become non-factors or, in the case of Jamaal Charles, seeing his season end due to injury.  We've only played 2 games and while anything can happen and LGBW's team still has a slew of potentially elite players, you just get the feeling that this team, is in fact, cursed.

Iron Pigs 111  7 QB's Deep 88

Iron Pigs rebounded from a week one loss and 7 QB's team just hasn't seemed to get out of warm-ups.  

Mission Repeat 132  F Philly 117

Mission: Repeat saw some strong performances from his guys in week 2, a much needed victory for the reigning champs.  A loss here could have seriously derailed any chances for repeating.

Deadliest Catch 153  Manning Vs. Food 124

While MVF scored three Td's more than I had foreseen, DC is living up to his adjective, posting the second highest point total this week and showing no signs of letting up.

Repeal Obama 167  Clean Slate 79

The highest point total went to RO, putting up a staggering 167 points, seriously looking like a force to be reckoned with.  Clean Slate seemed to be a 2 trick pony and was never really in this one.  

Looking back at a season only two weeks old might be premature, but a few trends are coming into form for a few teams.  Clean Slate and 7QB's deep should be exploring potential trade possibilities sooner than later, and LGBW will probably try to increase some of his players market values before making his move in the trade arena, but it does seem like a trade or two are in his future as well.

Onto Week 3's Predictions:

7 QB's Deep Vs. Clean Slate

The two lowest scoring teams square off in a game that looks about as ugly as a Seattle-KC matchup would look right now.  But hey, someone has to win Right?  Well I guess a tie could take place but the odds of that aren't very likely.  I see this game coming down to the play of each teams QB's.  7QB's Rivers and Flacco seem to be a much better duo, with much better Matchups than CS's Fitzpatrick and Dalton on paper.  However I can see both SD and Baltimore gaining early leads this weekend which could lead to a second half run-fest in each game respectively while it would seem that both of CS's QB's will need to sling the rock around all game long, especially Ryan Fitzpatrick who, for the Bills to have any chance in this game, must try to keep pace with Brady.  Clean Slate 94  7QB's Deep 85

Manning Vs. Food Vs. Iron Pigs

A lot of oinking going on at the sty heading into this weeks game.  Iron Pigs brought their record to even after their win last week and you can feel the confidence they have as you look at the very favorable lineup of individual matchups on Sunday.  MVF should get productive games from Brees, Bradshaw and F-Jax but it doesn't appear to be enough.  Iron Pigs 106  MVF 93

Deadliest Catch Vs. Mission:Repeat

MR wants to string too good looking wins together but DC wants to continue it's brand of beatdown.  For DC you can see the potential in Big Ben, Hasselback, Maclin, McCoy and Holmes.  For MR you salivate thinking about Rodgers, Orton, Rice and Hillis.  I think this game will come down to what happens in the Sunday Night Game between Pittsburgh and Indianapolis.  If it's a tight game I can easily see all three of DC's players having a big game, but if it turns out to be a blow-out like I'm expecting it to be, you have to like MR's chances for back to back wins.  Mission: Repeat 117  Deadliest Catch 110

6Wide Vs. Cinderella Story

Will the Cinderella Story continue?  Will the concussions continue for 6Wide?  Vick looks like he's going to suit up against the Giants, a team that was scorched by Rex Grossman in Week one and then by Sam Bradford in week 2.  This leads me to believe that Vick will negate the destructive matchup Brady has against Buffalo.  Taking both of those players out of the equation I have to like 6Wide's remaining matchups over Cinderella's.  Slipper falls off this week.  6WIDE 121  Cinderella Story 115

Repeal Obama Vs LeGarrettesblountwrap

Who knows what the next misfortune for LGBW will be.  Maybe it's simply having to face a team that can drop 150 with ease.  Blowout style.  Repeal Obama 144  LGBW 99

Blood & Thunder Vs F&*# Philly

On paper this looks like a fairly close matchup.  But what the lineup doesn't show is the backstory between these two clubs.  B & T seems to make the Super Bowl every year, but like clockwork, F Philly seems to beat him every time the two clubs tee it up.  I like many of B & T's matchups this week but I have to like Sanchez, LT, Burress and Gronkowski, as this style of player are the ones that usually play well above their projection lines.  F&*# Philly 137  Blood & Thunder 121

Have a great football weekend.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Killer Elite

Killer Elite, the Jason Statham, Clive Owen and Robert DeNiro mercenary action-thriller opened up today in theaters everywhere.  With a pretty decent offering at the box office this weekend, with openings for the Taylor Lautner/John Singleton mystery Abduction, Brad Pitt’s Moneyball and Killer Elite, it was rather difficult deciding which to see first.  I’m sure I’ll eventually catch all three this week, but choosing Killer Elite, for me, seemed the most logical in the end, as it offers a mix of non-fiction, action, espionage and what I consider to be an excellent cast.

The film is inspired by the Ranulph Fiennes novel, “The Feather Men,” and tells the story of Danny (Statham), a recently retired mercenary who’s is drawn back into the killing club when Hunter (DeNiro), his long time friend and “coworker” is taken captive.  Danny must then assist the Sheikh with a series of kills, which once complete, that will avenge the assassinations of his eldest three sons and allow his remaining son to return to power. 

As the story progresses, Danny and his crew run into a worthy adversary in Spike (Owen), a retired SAS agent and member of “The Feather Men,” an underground organization of SAS agents that operates in secrecy, from the British government and even from the SAS itself. 

The tale, for a true story, is filled with as much action and intrigue one typically expects in fictitiously penned screenplays.  We watch Danny and his men gather intelligence on their targets, plot a course of action for each marks demise.  Additionally, each hit had two caveats for each portion of the assignment to be completed successfully.  The team must first get each of their targets to confess their role in the Sheikh’s son’s murders and then finish by making the murders look like routine or accidental in nature. 

While the set up is short, enough was provided, at the film’s onset, to establish Danny as both, the epitome of a skilled assassin, as well as illustrate the moral compass that he tries to live his life under.  The cinematography is outstanding, offering some tremendous shots, as we are treated to a variety of locales, including Paris, London, Australia, Mexico and Oman.  The acting is solid, as one would expect from this trio, each offering their characters with an untold sensibility, as shown through body movement, speech patterns and body language. 

While at times you’ll find a few slower paced scenes, which I feel are essential to the film’s pacing, enabling the audience to process the details and digest the action of the most recently completed scene, as well as offering brief-to detailed set-ups to the scenes that followed.  The structure, in this respect, is very emblematic of that of a roller coaster, where high points (action) alternate with lower points (dialogue and details).

Being a film inspired by a true story offers the audience a sense of awe that this type of events and lifestyle actually do exist in the real world.  But it also should be viewed as a warning too.  This idea goes along with any event based in non-fiction though or for that matter, any time a book is adapted without the liberties often taken by the writer.  We must understand that while the action can certainly be intensified, it should also be noted that, to come off as being as faithful as possible, to the original text or real-life events, that the action we come to expect in film has to be toned down a bit, if only for the purpose of deepening the link between screen and reality.

I think this is a story that many will enjoy.  It has a little bit of everything in it, including a romantic thread.  Killer Elite may not go down in the annals of film as one of the best all-time actions or thrillers, but it’s certainly a decent experience for moviegoers, packed with drama and adrenalin alike.  Yet, when you take into account that it’s inspired by a true story, then you may just choose to push it up the rankings a bit.  But as always, what one will find great another may find to be ho-hum and of course, the opposite always exists as well.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Fake Sports Team Logos

Anyhow, I've been working on Logo Design in my spare time.  I might no be the best at it, yet, but I'm having fun practicing and hopefully I'll get better with each one I make.  For these here today, I created this fake sports league.  There are 100 teams in the league and while the sport has not been defined, I have broken the league down into Conferences and Divisions.  Only 48 of the teams are listed here.  I've yet to create the logos for the other 52, which I'm hoping to have done relatively soon, but that said I'm just doing a few here and there in my spare time, so I really can't say when the others will be done, could be a day could be a year-hope not that long.

Anyhow, let me know what you think about these.  If you've experience in design or Logo creation, please offer me some feedback, if there's anything you see I've done particularly well or what needs work, any pointers and so forth?

If you happen to live in any of these cities let me know how you feel about the logo and the team name- other suggestions would be cool to hear as well.  I did try to make them as accurate as possible, either reacting to something historical, geographically or particular about each place.  In any case, all done in fun, so hope you enjoy.  I'll post the other 52 as they get completed, thanks.