crazy colored glasses

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Summer Blockbusters

Zoinks! It's been a while wince I updated this puppy. While working freelance onsite and having some time to kill I figured I'd finish the quick movie rundown I started more than a month ago.

One of the annual rites of the summer is the inevitable summer blockbuster. Now admittedly I have not seen everything, but everything I have seen has been of pretty high quality. With roughly half the summer still left (I started typing this on July 16) I doubt I will see a movie as entertaining, gripping and powerful as The Dark Knight.

In terms of comic book movies, as strong and smart as Iron Man was, as action packed as the Hulk was... this movie outpaces both, by a lot. The only movie that comes close to the quality level of Christopher Nolan's Bat epic is Pixar's Wall-E, which I also thought was excellent. Not only Wall-E and Dark Knight are the best 2 movies I've seen this summer, in fact they are the 2 best movies I've seen this year. Of course the fall movie season and the winter awards season push will provide plenty of fodder for my best of the year list.

Getting back to the Dark Knight though, I must say Christian Bale is perfect as Bruce Wayne. I do find his Batman to be a bit annoying with the way he's combed the depths of his lower register to try and give himself a gravelly tough guy voice. He sounds more ridiculous than he does tough. What more can be said about Heath Ledger's performance. Truly one of the most captivating movie villains to ever hit the big screen. His was the most chilling portrayal ever of the Joker, either in print or on screen... ever. Aaron Eckhart's transformation from DA to grotesque villain seemed a bit rushed but provided the backbone for the entire film. If the Joker could turn this top law man into a twisted villain he could do it to anyone. Maggie Gylenhal was also a pleasant upgrade over the lovely Katie Holmes. Her death providing the tipping point for Eckharts Dent. All in all a perfect film (note I didn't classify it as a comic film... with a film this good, no classification is necessary).

Here are some of the other notable films I saw so far this summer: Forgetting Sarah Marshall (yeah that was late April, but in my opinion it started my summer as I was laid off shortly after watching this film), Iron Man (3rd fave of the summer), Indiana Jones (dug it, felt like it belonged in the Indy family), Kung Fu Panda (much more enjoyable than I anticipated, great fighting scenes), The Incredible Hulk (better than the first, Ed Norton a plus), Wall-E (close 2nd best film of the year) Step Brothers (funny, funny, funny), Hellboy 2: The Golden Army (well told Del Torro tale. Solid second act to this character) Star Wars: The Clone Wars (aimed at kids, I dug it, would have been better received had the main characters not been so bratty)... more to come, as I plan on catching Tropic Thunder, and Pineapple Express very soon as well.


All Star Game Thoughts

One of the things i noticed while watching the All-Star game this week was the amount of great young catchers in the game today. Both leagues representatives were bright young stars who will be representing their leagues for years to come. I was very impressed with them on both sides of the ball as well. They are all as good defensively as they are offensively. Especially the National League catchers. Geovany Soto, Brian McCann and Russell Martin are all excellent on both sides of the ball. They call good games, they have good arms and they hit the hell out of the ball.

This isn't discounting the American League catchers who were both excellent as well. Joe Mauer and Dionar Navarro are both great young catchers as well. Dionar has the greater defensive reputation, but don't discount Mauer's ability to call a game. Every year the Twins staff performs well, that has to have a little to do with the young star they have calling the game behind the plate.
On top of that he is easily one of the top 5 pure hitters in the game. His approach to hitting as well as his sweet swing all a baseball sight to behold.

Youth was definitely served this year. It was a changing of the guard behind the plate. No mainstays such as Ivan Rodriguez or Jorge Posada. No one dimmensional Mike Piazzas or Paul LoDucas. Strictly very talented young catchers who seem to be the future of the sport behind the plate.


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Amazing Tennis!

Anyone who saw any of the finals at Wimbledon was treated to amazing tennis. Nadal/Federer is the greatest match I've ever seen. Although I've was cheering for Federer, there was no mistaking that excellence was on display on both ends of the court. The complexity of each of their shots was simply amazing. Every point featured at least one shot where I shaked my head in disbelief. Easily the best macth I've ever seen if not the best match of all time.

I do have to take this time and completely disagree with most of the media though. I do not think Federer is done and washed up at the age of 26. I do not think he will be like McEnroe and Borg who never again attained the level of success they reached before their 26th birthday. Federer just happend to be playing an extremely hot player. If Nadal goes on to win at the U.S. Open (a tournament he has historically been awful in) over Federer I will be ready to say there is a changing of the guard. Till then I still marvel at the brilliance that is Roger Federer.

Not to be outdone was the Venus vs. Serena Women's Final. This match featured two of the greatest female champions of all-time. These two girls stack up very favorably with the alltime greats. This match did not disappoint. Venus shows up at Wimbledon every year (this being her 5th title). To me, Serena was a little more surprising. She admittedly wasn't in great shape, but it didn't matter. A 70% Serena seemed to be more than enough for an overmatched field. More than enough for everyone that is except her older sister. Venus cemented herself as one of the all-time Wimbledon greats. Then shortly after beating her sister (can any of us truly understand the emotional toll that takes on these two) they turned and easily won the doubles title... simply incredible.

If that's not enough tennis, recently the inhabitants 1470 have been playing lots of Hot Shots Tennis. For those of you not familiar with the Hot Shots series of games they are awesome. Very cartoony, very easy to play. All of which means the 7 year old in the house enjoys it as the adults. If only I could get that game to load more often... then I could unlock the remaining competitors... soon, very soon, they will all be mine.

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