Archive for December, 2011

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Ratings For Every 2011 Movie I’ve Seen

December 29, 2011

I’ve been slacking on my movie reviews this year and have backed myself into a hole so deep it seems a daunting task to dig my way out of. With 2011 coming to a close and everyone always asking for my opinions on recent movies, I figured I’d at least rate everything I’ve seen this year. Some of these films deserve further elaboration–and I hope to provide that in due time–but I’d rather start fresh in 2012 and review everything as I see it rather than try to post reviews for a bunch of movies I saw ages ago. With that in mind, it’s worth noting that some of these ratings aren’t 100%; mostly because I saw a lot of these movies a while ago or have only seen them once. I can say with conviction, however, that these are films you absolutely have to check out if you haven’t already:

-Attack The Block
-Super 8
-Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows
-Crazy, Stupid, Love.
-Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes
-Moneyball
-The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
-The Help

Also, my nominations for worst movies of the year are Sucker Punch and Green Lantern. The former because I thought it had potential and it was pure torture; and the latter because it’s just a colossal mess and that superhero deserves better.

Check out my 2011 Movie Reviews for ratings and/or reviews of everything else.

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College Basketball MACrankings: December 26th, 2011

December 25, 2011

TOP 25:

1. Syracuse (13-0)
Key Wins: (n)VT, (n)Stanford, #10 Florida, Marshall, @NCSU
Key Losses:
Last Week: #1
Comments:

2. Ohio State (12-1)
Key Wins: #7 Florida, #3 Duke
Key Losses: @#13 Kansas
Last Week: #2
Comments:

3. Duke (10-1)
Key Wins: (n)MSU, (n)Tennessee, (n)#15 Michigan, (n)#14 Kansas, (n)UW
Key Losses: @#2 OSU
Last Week: #3
Comments:

4. Kentucky (11-1)
Key Wins: (n)#12 Kansas, (n)ODU, #5 UNC
Key Losses: @Indiana
Last Week: #4
Comments:

5. Louisville (12-0)
Key Wins: @Butler, LBSU, #20 Vanderbilt, Memphis
Key Losses:
Last Week: #5
Comments:

6. Connecticut (10-1)
Key Wins: (n)#22 FSU, #25 Harvard
Key Losses: (n)UCF
Last Week: #6
Comments:

7. Baylor (12-0)
Key Wins: SDSU, @Northwestern, @BYU, (n)SMC, (n)WV
Key Losses:
Last Week: #7
Comments:

8. North Carolina (11-2)
Key Wins: (n)MSU, #9 Wisconsin, LBSU, Texas
Key Losses: @UNLV, @#1 Kentucky
Last Week: #8
Comments:

9. Missouri (12-0)
Key Wins: NDU, (n)#20 Cal, (n)Villanova, #25 Illinois
Key Losses:
Note: Laurence Bowers out for season.
Last Week: #9
Comments:

10. Florida (10-2)
Key Wins: Arizona, #22 TAMU, FSU
Key Losses: @#3 OSU, @#4 Syracuse
Last Week: #14
Comments:

11. Mississippi State (12-1)
Key Wins: (n)#19 A&M, (n)#15 Arizona, WV
Key Losses: Akron
Last Week: #13
Comments:

12. Georgetown (10-1)
Key Wins: (n)#8 Memphis, @#12 Alabama, Memphis
Key Losses: (n)#14 Kansas
Last Week: #16
Comments:

13. Marquette (11-1)
Key Wins: @#9 Wisconsin, (n)UW
Key Losses: @LSU
Last Week: #11
Comments:

14. Michigan (10-2)
Key Wins: (n)#8 Memphis, (n)UCLA
Key Losses: (n)#6 Duke, @Virginia
Last Week: #17
Comments:

15. Wisconsin (11-2)
Key Wins: (n)BYU, UNLV
Key Losses: @#5 UNC, #16 Marquette
Last Week: #18
Comments:

16. Indiana (12-0)
Key Wins: Butler, @NCSU, #1 UK, @UND
Key Losses:
Last Week: #19
Comments:

17. UNLV (13-2)
Key Wins: #1 UNC, UCSB, @#19 Illinois, Cal
Key Losses: @Wichita St, @#14 Wisconsin
Last Week: #20
Comments:

18. Michigan State (11-2)
Key Wins: FSU, @#23 Gonzaga
Key Losses: (n)#1 UNC, (n)#6 Duke
Last Week: #21
Comments:

19. Kansas (8-3)
Key Wins: (n)Georgetown, (n)UCLA, Long Beach St, #2 OSU
Key Losses: (n)#2 Kentucky, (n)#6 Duke, Davidson
Last Week: #12
Comments:

20. Xavier (9-3)
Key Wins: Georgia, @#20 Vandy, Purdue, @Butler, UC
Key Losses: Oral Roberts, (n)LBSU, @Hawaii
Last Week: #10
Comments:

21. San Diego State (11-2)
Key Wins: LBSU, @#23 Arizona, #24 Cal
Key Losses: @# 11 Baylor, Creighton
Last Week: #23
Comments:

22. Pittsburgh (11-2)
Key Wins: @Tennessee, OkSU
Key Losses: LBSU, Wagner
Last Week: #15
Note: Travon Woodall out 4-6 weeks
Comments:

23. Murray State (13-0)
Key Wins: Dayton, @#21 Memphis
Key Losses:
Last Week: #24
Comments:

24. Creighton (10-1)
Key Wins: @SDSU, Northwestern
Key Losses: @St Joes
Last Week: #25
Comments:

25. Illinois (11-2)
Key Wins: @Maryland, #19 Gonzaga
Key Losses: UNLV, @#9 Mizzou
Last Week: #22
Comments:

DROPPED OUT:

BUBBLE:

Alabama (9-3)
Key Wins: (n)Wichita St, (n)Purdue, VCU, Detroit, OKSU
Key Losses: Georgetown, @Dayton, @KSU

Gonzaga (9-2)
Key Wins: NDU, Arizona, Butler
Key Losses: Illinois, MSU

Florida State (8-4)
Key Wins: UCF
Key Losses: (n)Harvard, (n)#4 UCONN, @MSU, @#11 UF

Harvard (10-1)
Key Wins: (n)#22 FSU, (n)UCF
Key Losses: @#9 UCONN
Comments:

Kansas State (10-1)
Key Wins: @VTU, #23 Alabama, (n)LBSU
Key Losses: WV

Saint Louis (11-1)
Key Wins: Washington, (n)Villanova
Key Losses: @Loyola Marymount

Virginia (10-1)
Key Wins: (n)Drexel, #14 Michigan, George Mason
Key Losses: (n)TCU

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The Change-Up (2011)

December 19, 2011

Starring: Jason Bateman, Ryan Reynolds, Olivia Wilde, Leslie Mann
Director: David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers)

Quick Thoughts: The Change-Up is really just a rehash of things Freaky Friday, Trading Places, and, to some extent, Big have all already done more successfully. In the film, family man Jason Bateman and womanizing, weed smoking, and soft-core porn star Ryan Reynolds switch bodies after urinating in a magical fountain together and wishing they had the life of the other. After the film opened with Bateman’s character getting a mouthful of diarrhea while changing diapers, I was fully expecting to hate this movie, but wound up finding it moderately endearing and somewhat watchable. We’re not breaking new ground here and the level of comedy doesn’t make up for that, but the film isn’t the train wreck I was anticipating. The best aspect of the movie is being able to see Bateman play against type when his body is possessed by Reynolds’ foul-mouthed, free living persona. The film has some funny and charming moments, and while it’s nothing I’d really recommend, it’s not a total waste of time either.

Viewings: 1
Replay Value: Questionably worth one viewing.
Sequel Potential: Shouldn’t have any.
Nudity: Leslie Mann gets naked. Oliva Wilde does not. Bad beat.
Grade: 3.5/10 (Skip It/Netflix It)
RottenTomatoes Scores: Critics: 24% Audience: 52%
IMDB Rating: 6.4/10
Recommendation: A decent comedy that is a little better than expected, but probably still not worth your time.

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Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels Of A Tribe Called Quest (2011)

December 19, 2011

Starring: A Tribe Called Quest and associates
Director: Michael Rapaport

Quick Thoughts: This documentary serves as an homage to the legendary hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest. Director Michael Rapaport spends the duration of the film telling the personal stories of the group and then tensions that broke them apart with the voice of a long time fan hoping to reunite one of his favorite rap ensembles. Whether or not you’re a fan of the musical genre should matter little; while this film is certainly a testament to Tribe’s accomplishments, it’s ultimately a story about friendship and how instant fame and success can hinder the relationships of people. Beats, Rhymes, & Life is the perfect hip-hop film, highlighting one of rap’s best all-time groups and rekindling my own love for their music, while telling a story of how two best friends can become silent enemies due to creative differences.

Viewings: 1
Replay Value: A must own for any credible hip-hop fan worthy of multiple viewings.
Sequel Potential: N/A
Nudity: N/A
Grade: 8/10 (Excellent)
RottenTomatoes Scores: Critics: None Audience: None
IMDB Rating: 7.4/10
Recommendation: One of my favorite films of the year and a no-brainer for hip-hop junkies.

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College Basketball Top 25

December 18, 2011

TOP 25:

1. Syracuse (11-0)
Last Week: #1
2. Ohio State (10-1)
Last Week: #2
3. Duke (9-1)
Last Week: #3
4. Kentucky (9-1)
Last Week: #4
5. Louisville (10-0)
Last Week: #5
6. Connecticut (9-1)
Last Week: #6
7. Baylor (9-0)
Last Week: #7
8. North Carolina (9-2)
Last Week: #8
9. Missouri (11-0)
Last Week: #10
10. Xavier (8-1)
Last Week: #9
11. Marquette (10-0)
Last Week: #11
12. Kansas (7-2)
Last Week: #12
13. Mississippi State (11-1)
Last Week: #13
14. Florida (8-2)
Last Week: #14
15. Pittsburgh (10-1)
Last Week: #15
16. Georgetown (9-1)
Last Week: #16
17. Michigan (9-2)
Last Week: #17
18. Wisconsin (10-2)
Last Week: #18
19. Indiana (10-0)
Last Week: #19
20. UNLV (11-2)
Last Week: #22
21. Michigan State (9-2)
Last Week: #23
22. Illinois (10-1)
Last Week: #21
23. San Diego State (9-2)
Last Week: #24
24. Murray State (12-0)
Last Week: Unranked
25. Creighton (8-1)
Last Week: Unranked

DROPPED OUT:

20. Alabama (8-3)
Last Week: #20
25. Texas A&M (8-2)
Last Week: #25

BUBBLE:

Harvard (9-1)
Gonzaga (7-2)
Saint Louis (10-1)
California (9-2)
Cleveland State (10-1)
Florida State (8-3)
Stanford (9-1)
Virginia (9-1)

Notes:

*Nothing changes in the Top 8. North Carolina is ranked significantly lower than they are in the national polls. While I still think they are a top 3 team in the nation, it’s hard to argue they have better resumes than the teams I have ranked ahead of them. Most of the top teams coasted this past week, but Louisville posted a strong win against Memphis and Baylor got taken to the buzzer by BYU.

*Xavier took its first loss of the season… to Oral Roberts. However, they only drop one spot because Tu Holloway and Mark Lyons–their two best players–were both suspended for the game.

*Missouri jumps a spot due to the Xavier loss. I’d consider holding Xavier at #9, but Mizzou has just been MASHING every team they play.

*I’ve kept UNLV in my top 25 ever since they knocked off North Carolina, but the national polls made a rash move in dropping them out after losses to Wichita State and Wisconsin, both tough teams. After handing Illinois their first loss of the season, however, the Running Rebels should make a return to the national polls tomorrow.

*After being one of the few publications to rank Michigan State in the preseason, I was happy to see them crack the top 25 last week. They are currently on a 9-game winning streak that includes wins over Florida State and Gonzaga, two teams that were ranked in the preseason. The Spartans only losses were against Duke and North Carolina, both top 8 teams.

*Much like UNLV several weeks ago, there’s no reason to push the eject button on Illinois just because they lost a game. They still deserve a spot in the top 25 for now… but Big Ten play should prove this is a team that eventually doesn’t belong.

*How many weeks have I had San Diego State in my top 25? Is this the week the rest of the nation finally catches on? With Alabama, Texas A&M, and Vanderbilt all likely dropping out of the AP Poll, I think so.

*Speaking of Alabama, what is going on with the Crimson Tide? The first several weeks of the season, they emerged as one of the stronger and more surprising teams in the nation. Now they’ve dropped three of four… to unranked teams. WTF?

*With 8 undefeated teams left in the nation, does anyone want to place bets on which team will last the longest without a loss? Put your money on Murray State. At 12-0 and with wins over Dayton and Memphis, I finally bite the bullet and rank them. They’ve managed to make it through non-conference play unscathed and have a better chance than anyone to enter the NCAA tournament undefeated.

*I put Texas A&M back in my top 25 last week solely on the strength of star Khris Middleton returning to the line-up. The Aggies rewarded my faith by promptly getting smashed by Florida. See ya.

*Creighton returns to my top 25 although they have only one notable win on their resume (vs. San Diego State). Doug McDermott is just too damn good though (24.1 ppg, 8.8 rpg).

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Christmas Wish List

December 17, 2011

Here’s an easy guide to anyone that is buying me gifts this holiday season. Ranked in order of preference:

1. The Legend Of Zelda: Skyward Sword
2. Advanced Pot Limit Omaha: Small Ball & Short-Handed Play by Jeff Hwang
3. Lids.Com Gift Certificate
4. Tommy Hilfiger cologne
5. Batman: The Animated Series Vol. 2
6. Batman: The Animated Series Vol. 3
7. Batman: The Animated Series Vol. 4

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College Basketball Top 25

December 11, 2011

I’m insanely tired and I have a long work day ahead of me tomorrow. I will clean this up and add commentary when I can, but this is my top 25 through today’s action.

TOP 25:

1. Syracuse (10-0)
Last Week: #3
Comments: Consider this a brief stay at the top. While Syracuse is clearly benefiting from recent losses for Kentucky and Ohio State, they have at least emerged as a legitimate national title contender.

2. Ohio State (8-1)
Last Week: #2
Comments: Good to see the national polls feel the same way I do: losing on the road to a good Kansas team without Jared Sullinger on the floor is a loss that comes with an asterisk.

3. Duke (9-1)
Key Wins: (n)MSU, (n)Tennessee, (n)#15 Michigan, (n)#14 Kansas, (n)UW
Key Losses: @#2 OSU
Last Week: #5
Comments: Take away the blowout loss to Ohio State and Duke might have the most impressive resume in the nation.

4. Kentucky (8-1)
Last Week: #1
Comments: Growing pains: that’s what we call the loss at Indiana.

5. Louisville (9-0)
Last Week: #4
Comments: Went against my conventional routine and dropped Louisville one spot even though they haven’t lost a game all season. Anyone care to argue that any of the teams ranked above them haven’t been more impressive?

6. Connecticut (8-1)
Last Week: #6

7. Baylor (7-0)
Last Week: #7

8. North Carolina (8-2)
Last Week: #8
Comments: I have UNC lower than the national polls because they have two losses and struggled against Long Beach State this weekend. I still think this is one of the nation’s top 3 teams, but they haven’t played that way so far.

9. Xavier (8-0)
Last Week: #9
Comments: Hopefully the suspensions that resulted from the brawl with Cincinnati don’t cause this team to lose a game. The Musketeers have looked tough as nails so far.

10. Missouri (9-0)
Last Week: #10

11. Marquette (9-0)
Last Week: #11

12. Kansas (7-2)
Last Week: #16
Comments: Even without Jared Sullinger playing, the win against Ohio State is still impressive.

13. Mississippi State (9-1)
Last Week: #13

14. Florida (7-2)
Last Week: #14

15. Pittsburgh (9-1)
Last Week: #15

16. Georgetown (8-1)
Last Week: #17

17. Michigan (7-2)
Last Week: #18

18. Wisconsin (8-2)
Last Week: #19

19. Indiana (9-0)
Last Week: Unranked
Comments: Okay, the Hoosiers are for real. This team was undefeated before toppling #1 Kentucky and hyped freshman Cody Zeller has exceeded expectations.

20. Alabama (8-2)
Last Week: #12
Comments: I really liked Alabama the first couple weeks of the season, but they’ve been scuffling recently.

21. Illinois (10-0)
Last Week: Unranked
Comments: I might be a week late with this ranking.

22. UNLV (9-2)
Key Wins: #1 UNC, UCSB
Key Losses: @Wichita St, @#14 Wisconsin
Last Week: #20
Comments:

23. Michigan State (8-2)
Key Wins: FSU, @#23 Gonzaga
Key Losses: (n)#1 UNC, (n)#6 Duke
Last Week: Unranked
Comments:

24. San Diego State (9-2)
Key Wins: LBSU, @#23 Arizona, #24 Cal
Key Losses: @# 11 Baylor, Creighton
Last Week: #24
Comments:

25. Texas A&M (8-1)
Key Wins: (n)SJU
Key Losses: (n)Miss St
Last Week: Unranked
Comments:

DROPPED OUT:

21. Memphis (5-3)
Key Wins: (n)Tennessee, @Miami, Murray St
Key Losses: (n)#15 Michigan, (n)G’town
Last Week: #21
Comments:

22. Harvard (9-1)
Key Wins: (n)#22 FSU, (n)UCF
Key Losses: @#9 UCONN
Last Week: #22
Comments:

23. Creighton (7-1)
Key Wins: @SDSU
Key Losses: @St Joes
Last Week: #23
Comments:

25. Gonzaga (5-2)
Key Wins: NDU
Key Losses: Illinois, MSU
Last Week: #25
Comments:

BUBBLE:

Murray State (10-0)
Key Wins: Dayton, @#21 Memphis
Key Losses:

Vanderbilt (6-3)
Key Wins: (n)Oregon, (n)Oregon St
Key Loses: Cleveland State, #11 Xavier, @#6 Louisville
Comments:

Saint Louis (9-1)
Key Wins: Washington, (n)Villanova
Key Losses: @Loyola Marymount

Purdue (9-2)
Key Wins: (n)Temple, Miami
Key Losses: (n)#16 Alabama, @#11 Xavier

Arizona (7-3)
Key Wins: (n)SJU, Clemson
Key Losses: (n)Miss St, SDSU, @#12 Florida

California (8-2)
Key Wins:
Key Losses: (n)#21 Mizzou, @SDSU

Cleveland State (10-1)
Key Wins: @#7 Vanderbilt
Key Losses: @Hofstra

Florida State (7-3)
Key Wins: UCF
Key Losses: (n)Harvard, (n)#4 UCONN, @MSU

Stanford (8-1)
Key Wins: Oklahoma State, NC St
Key Losses: (n)#5 Syracuse

Temple (6-2)
Key Wins: (n)Wichita St, Villanova
Key Losses: (n)Purdue, @Bowling Green

Virginia (8-1)
Key Wins: (n)Drexel, #14 Michigan, George Mason
Key Losses: (n)TCU