Hello everyone, and welcome to 111 Archer Avenue. What started as a film review blog has become my online judgment forum. I will review the occasional movie or DVD, post an interesting trailer, critique a newly-read book, talk about sports, and share my thoughts and opinions on random issues. You can also follow me on Twitter (@OlieCoen) or check out my work on DVDTalk.com. Thank you and enjoy!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Sports - NFL Picks, Week 17

Here are my NFL Week 17 Picks:
(I was 10-6 last week)
Bye teams: none

TB @ Atl - Sometimes the Week 17 games are a little wonky, as some teams have it all wrapped up and some teams are dead in the water.  Such is the case here.  The Falcons win, probably.
NYJ @ Buf - What a mess for the Jets.  They finally move on from Sanchez, only to call on him when McElroy gets hurts.  Messy, messy, messy.  With both teams out of the playoffs, Bills win.
Bal @ Cin - The Bengals surprised me last week and played themselves into the playoffs.  The Ravens already won the division, but look for them to get a practice win in Cincinatti.
Chi @ Det - The Bears are still alive, but need a win here, big time.  The Lions would like to play spoiler to their division rivals, and I think they're just nasty enough to pull it off.
Hou @ Ind - The Texans are in danger of losing their first round bye.  They need to get their act together, and now!  The Colts have nothing to play for and will lose at home to a superior team.
Car @ NO - Both teams are out, but both teams have some momentum going into next season that they would like to see continue.  The Saints are the better team and will win at home.
Phi @ NYG - The Giants are technically, TECHNICALLY, still alive.  They need to win and to have three separate teams lose.  I think they'll win, but I doubt they'll get in.
Cle @ Pit - What a sad end to the Steelers season.  It's odd to think of the Giants and the Steelers both being out of the playoffs, but cest la vie.  The Steel Curtain will get one more win though.
Jax @ Ten - No wonder the Texans and the Colts got in the playoffs; they got to face these two clowns twice each.  This is an unwatchable game.  Titans by default.
KC @ Den - So far this season the Broncos haven't fallen for trap games.  With a win here, the Broncos get a bye.  Peyton will make it happen and Denver will prepare for the playoffs.
GB @ Min - All the Vikings have to do is win to get in, and the Pack doesn't have much to play for, so I look for the Vikes to win a home game on Adrian Peterson's shoulders.
Mia @ NE - The Pats are hoping for the pieces to fall into place so that they can get a bye.  First they have to beat the Dolphins ...shouldn't be much of a problem.  Patriots.
Oak @ SD - What an end to the Norv Turner era.  The Chargers aren't awful, they just need new life.  A new coach could make the an immediate impact next season.  SD will get one more win.
STL @ Sea - The Seahawks were very impressive last week, and now are in a position to win the division.  They shouldn't have much of a problem at home against the Rams.
Ari @ SF - The Niners were embarrassed last week by the Hawks, but can still win the division and gain some momentum with a win against the Cardinals.  Should happen.
Dal @ Was - The biggest game of the week is on SNF.  Winner takes the division, loser needs some luck to get into the playoffs.  I love Romo, but the Boys will fall once again to RG3.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Thought - Merry Christmas!

Well, I'm off on a little holiday break and I will see you again soon.  I hope you have been enjoying reading my blog and that you will continue to read once I get back from my hiatus.  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Book Review - I, Robot

Author: Isaac Asimov
Year: 1950

My first experience with Asimov was reading Robot Dreams, a collection of short stories centered around the topic of robot development, intelligence, and incorporation into the human world.  When I picked up I, Robot I was expecting something more akin to the movie.  I was very wrong, but thankfully so.  It was much more a collection than I expected, and had very little to do with the film, but this classic sci-fi masterpiece turned out to be a wonderful read.

The story of I, Robot is one of time.  It is a series of short stories, all interconnected, and chronologically placed to show the history of robot production, improvement, and integration.  The narrator and main character, Susan Calvin, works for U.S. Robotics, a company than ultimately runs the robot world.  As these man-made creations become more and more sophisticated, problems arise that must be faced, solved, and dealt with in a surprisingly human way.  The lines begin to blur between robots as slaves and robots as peers in this scientifically interesting work.

You have got to enjoy science to enjoy this book, even more so than other sc-fi novels.  There is a technical side that is very interesting, but also very in depth.  However, beyond the science is a very human element; the attempt to understand the robot brain leads to some intriguing conversations on religion, thought processes, morals, etc.  It sounds cheesy to say, but the study of robotics leads to some fascinating insights on humans.  I, Robot is part story but mostly idea, as it poses a possible future and leads us in a discussion of the various topics related to it.  A very interesting read, one of sci-fi's groundbreaking stories.

My rating: ✰ ✰ ✰ ✰

Friday, December 21, 2012

Thought - The Reason for the Season

If I read one more Facebook post reminding me that "Jesus is the reason for the season!" that vein in my forehead might finally pop.  In all ways and explanations, Christianity, a Jonny-come-lately religion anyway, has no claims to this winter holiday.

Without trying to sound elitist, I would urge you to read something, anything, on the topic and notice a recurring theme; that almost every religion, culture, and people performed some sort of celebration during the winter solstice.  The Pagans celebrated the physical season, the Syrians celebrated the birth of the sun god Adonis, and even the Jews claim this time as the birth of Yahweh, all before the supposed birth of Jesus, the forming of a religion around him, or the development of a holiday called Christmas.

Of course, it was very intelligent of early Christians to place their holiday on this date.  With everyone already celebrating something, it makes sense to claim this time as YOUR savior's birth, put YOUR stamp on it, and try to get some converts, or at the very least get people thinking about Christmas while they're celebrating the birth of Sol.

We see this in the way that the majority of Americans celebrate Christmas, even devout Christians; it is a combination of ancient traditions (pine trees, wreaths, Santa) with religious practice (Nativity scenes, baby Jesus).  There is nothing wrong with this, as it is fundamental to our nation; the merging of many cultures and many traditions into a new society that will forever be influenced by both new religions and ancient traditions.

Believe in whatever fairy tales you want.  Believe in whatever God/gods/spirits you wish.  But don't attempt to tell me that "Jesus is the reason for the season!".  He isn't.  He may be the reason someone made up the term 'Christmas' and then planned his birthday party on the same day that everyone else was celebrating THEIR savior's birth, and that may have resulted in a veritable smorgasbord of American religious and traditional practices that all melted together.  But don't forget that the vast majority of the peoples of Earth have been celebrating a holiday of their own during this time of the year that has nothing to do with your new-found religion.

I say "Merry Christmas!" even though I'm not a Christian.  I think this is ok, if for no other reason than that Christmas is a melting pot of culture as much as America itself is, and I don't see that as a bad thing.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Movie Trailer - The Great Gatsby

Director: Baz Luhrmann
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan
Release: May 10th, 2013

I guess I forgot that this movie was coming out.  I saw the trailer months ago, filed it away, was reminded of it, and watched it again.  If anything, it is going to be more spectacular than I had imagined.  Luhrmann is not for everyone (Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge!), but his films are exciting, beautiful, and original; Gatsby looks no different.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sports - NFL Picks, Week 16

Here are my NFL Week 16 Picks:
(I was 12-4 last week)
Bye teams: none

Atl @ Det - The Falcons aren't perfect, far from it.  But they annihilated the Giants last week and they get to play an awful Lions team that has lost six in a row.  Matty Ice will dominate.

Oak @ Car - In a game of eliminated teams, even the winner doesn't win.  The Panthers have been playing fairly well, and the Raiders are 1-5 on the road this season.  Cam!
NO @ Dal - Although technically still alive, the Saints don't have a real chance at the playoffs.  They'd have to beat a hot Cowboys team to keep their hopes alive, and I doubt they can do it.
Ten @ GB - Should be a lopsided victory for the Packers, as the Titans have allowed an embarrasing number of points this season.  Rodgers and Co. are prepping for a deep playoff run.
Min @ Hou - The Vikings are a team that I definitely did not see coming.  Adrian Peterson is running wild, but I think that stops this week.  The Texans are the real deal and will come away with a win.
NE @ Jax - And I thought the Packers game was one-sided.  I don't care that the Pats got beat by the Niners, that won't happen again this week.  The Jaguars are pathetic.
Ind @ KC - The Colts are not a very good road team, and the Chiefs defense can actually be formidable at times.  But Luck has more to play for right now and will fight for the win.
Buf @ Mia - The Bills have had such a disappointing season.  Three seasons, actually.  With the Dolphins playing pretty well right now, I don't foresee any circling of the wagons this week.
SD @ NYJ -  Well Gang Green finally came to their senses and benched Sanchez.  Problem is A) they're not starting Tebow, and 2) they're already out of the playoffs.  Chargers.
Was @ Phi - Will RG3 be back this week?  Didn't matter last Sunday, as Cousins stepped up and played well.  No matter who plays at QB, the Eagles still suck and everyone there is getting fired.
Cin @ Pit - I like this matchup; divison rivals fighting for the last playoff spot.  The Steelers have been hurting, but Big Ben ALWAYS beats the Bungles and he will this week at home.
STL @ TB - Doesn't matter, don't care.  Neither team is awful but neither team is good.  The Bucs will win by virtue of home-field, but don't get excited about it.  I guess there's always next year.
Cle @ Den - Thank you, Peyton, for coming to Denver.  The Broncos are on a nine game win streak and couldn't be hotter.  Call it a trap game, but Manning doesn't fall for those.
Chi @ Ari - Talk about collapses.  The Cards finally stopped theirs, but not before being eliminated.  The Bears are currently riding theirs and are getting booed out of town.  Cardinals by a nose.
NYG @ Bal - Which embarrassed team with pull it out this week?  The Giants are playing for their lives, while the Ravens have already wrapped up a playoff spot.  G-men win in a bloody one.
SF @ Sea - A great SNF matchup between two teams fighting for the division title.  Both teams have scored and allowed almost the exact same amount of points.  So the deciding factor will be the 12th Man; the Seahawks are undefeated at home.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Movie Trailer - Zero Dark Thirty

Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Starring: Jessica Chastain, Kyle Chandler, Chris Pratt
Release: January 11th, 2013

I'm on the fence about this one.  It's a relevant and interesting topic, and I know people will eat it up, but I'm not that excited about it.  Perhaps because I didn't care for The Hurt Locker, Bigelow's Oscar-winning Iraq war drama.  It's just not my thing, but perhaps it's yours.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Movie Trailer - Kon-Tiki

Director: Joachim Ronning
Starring: Pal Sverre Valheim Hagen, Anders Baasmo Christiansen
Release: 2013

It's nice when you stumble across a foreign film that you would never have heard of and it looks this good.  In what seems like a Norwegian Castaway, I expect some good acting and beautiful scenery.  This is one of those films that's worth a shot in the dark.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sports - Broncos vs. Ravens

Today's game between the Broncos and the Ravens is an important one for many reasons.

  1. It is a personal rivalry between my team and the Scott's team.  Now, they're not huge football fans, but I still don't want my team to lose to Baltimore, I want them to have a good showing.
  2. Although the Broncos have already clinched the AFC West, they are attempting to become ranked as either the #1 or #2 seed.  If they can do that they will receive a one week playoff bye and then have home field advantage for two games in the playoffs.  Home field in January is very important.
  3. For the Ravens, they still haven't won their division.  The Steelers and the Bengals are right behind.  Baltimore has lost two in a row, fired their offensive coordinator, and are in a slump.  They need to pick it up now or risk losing home field advantage, or even a playoff spot.
  4. And lastly, the Broncos need to show that they can beat an elite team.  Earlier is the season they lost to the Texans, Falcons, and Patriots; three of the best teams in the league.  These are the Broncos' only losses on the year, and they came early when Peyton was still adjusting, but it would mean a lot to Denver's morale and momentum if they could beat a good team in a tough matchup.
The game is on CBS @ 1 p.m. and should be a good one.  We'll see if Baltimore's new offensive coordinator can fix their problems quickly and help them to score against the Broncos' #4 ranked defense.  Also #4 ranked is the Denver offense, which should be able to put up points on a Ravens team that is too injured to play up to their pedigree.  Ray Rice must be stopped, especially in the screen game, for the Broncos to win this game.  And a few Joe Flacco sacks or INTs would be nice as well.  The Broncos need to hold onto the football, no fumbles on kickoffs or punts or runs, and score when the opportunity presents itself.

Game Score: Broncos 31 - Ravens 16

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Book Review - The Cider House Rules

Author: John Irving
Year: 1985

Apparently it's easier to write a review of something I hated, because I am finding this very difficult.  When a book exceeds all your expectations, when it surprises you with just how deep it goes, and how strongly it affects you, it becomes hard to judge.  What can I write that will express what this story meant to me?  You might read it, enjoy it, even love it, but it will become something totally different to each person who experiences it, for good or for bad.  And that, I guess, is the magic of a great book.

The Cider House Rules is the story of Homer, an orphan from St. Clouds, Maine.  His early life is sculpted by the people around him; from Dr. Larch, the obstetrician, to the two dedicated nurses on staff, to the children like Fuzzy and Melony who will always be a part of who he is.  Destined to be a doctor and follow in his mentor's footsteps, Homer's life veers onto another path when he meets Candy and Wally, two young lovers whose privileged existence is so very different from his own.  As he begins to understand the world outside of St. Clouds, Homer must make decisions that will effect his future, that of the orphanage, and of everyone he has come to love.

Very rarely does a story have so much of an effect on me that I can't describe it or even express myself.  Very simply, this is one of the best books that I have ever read.  It was more than a novel, it was a piece of life.  It was a record of an interesting time and the extraordinary people who lived it.  It was a window into a character that becomes more real than any I have ever known.  I will never forget the story, the conflicts and questions that it raises, the personalities that were so well written that they became physical.  The Cider House Rules will always be on my mind, and will change the way I read every book from now on.

My rating: ✰ ✰ ✰ ✰ ✰

Friday, December 14, 2012

Movie Trailer - The Impossible

Director: Juan Antonio Bayona
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts
Release: December 21st, 2012

Rarely do you watch a trailer that is so stunning and terrifying.  This happened, recently enough so that we can remember it, and that makes it all the more upsetting.  Pair a story like this with incredible actors, and you should come away with a phenomenal film.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Movie Trailer - After Earth

Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Starring: Will Smith, Jaden Smith
Release: June 7th, 2013

The last sci-fi post of the week, I promise.  I couldn't pass up this one though.  Will Smith and his son on a futuristic Earth, directed by M. Night Shyamalan?  It could be a disaster, but I actually doubt it.  I think it'll work, and I say that even after The Happening and The Last Airbender.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sports - NFL Picks, Week 15

Here are my NFL Week 15 Picks:
(I was 11-5 last week)
Bye teams: none

Cin @ Phi - I think 'yucky' describes this matchup fairly well.  At least the Bungles are playing for a possible playoff spot and they do pretty well on the road.  They should play harder and win.

NYG @ Atl - Tough call.  The Falcons are up and down, but then again so are the Giants.  The Dirty Birds are undefeated at home and can get back on track with win here.  Hotlanta by a nose.
Den @ Bal - Neither team is playing for much more than a seed at this point so it's hard to envision a hard-fought battle here.  The Broncos are the hotter team and should win a close game.
GB @ Chi - Jay Cutler is hurt again; what else is new.  He's body is always as fragile as his psyche.  I think the Packers win this one big, even though the game is in the Windy City.
Was @ Cle -The Brownies may be on a hot streak, but I see this as one of the easier calls of the week.  RG3 is in the zone and I don't see a way that Cleveland can win, assuming that he plays.
Ind @ Hou - I've been giving Luck more credit lately, and the Texans got smeared last week vs. the Pats, but I think they will bounce back.  The Colts might be up and coming, but Houston is there.
Jax @ Mia - In a battle between sad teams, the question is only which one is sadder.  The Dolphins have a little more ability and drive, the Jaguars have nada.  Miami at home in a blowout.
TB @ NO - Both teams have lost three in a row and their playoff hopes are fading fast.  Playing desperate, I see Brees coming up with a big game and outscoring the Bucs 30+ to 30.
Min @ STL - Just the opposite, both of these teams are trying to make a late season push and ride their momentum into the last wild card spot.  The Rams can win a tight one at home and stay alive.
Det @ Ari - The Cardinals are the most pitiful team in the league, having lost their last nine games.  Yes, I said nine.  The cowardly Lions might not be MUCH better, but they are better.
Sea @ Buf - The Seahawks and their defense are the real deal.  Problem is, they're no good on the road.  However, this game is in Toronto, not Buffalo.  Enough to make a difference, if barely.
Car @ SD - The Chargers always make a push at the the end of the season to save Norv Turner's job.  They'll try again this year, but even a win this week won't be enough.  SD wins, but so what.
Pit @ Dal - I think Ben came back too soon last week, like he always does.  You gotta be tough, but you gotta play smart.  He's not 100% and the Cowboys are gaining momentum.  Big D.
KC @ Oak - I'm sorry to say that the Broncos are in the same division as these guys, two lifeless teams with almost no positives to hang on to.  The Raiders win, but again, so what.
SF @ NE - Watching Tom Brady carve up the Texans last week, it's hard to doubt that he'll do it to San Fran this week.  The Patriots are clicking when it counts, like they always do.

NYJ @ Ten - Man, talk about anticlimactic.  Does anyone even care who wins this game?  The Jets have been finding ways to win, and they should again this week, somehow.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Movie Review - Event Horizon

Director: Paul Anderson 
Starring: Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Joely Richardson
Year: 1997

As I've said, I enjoy sci-fi a lot, both books and movies.  I understand that in order to like this genre I have to be willing to accept a few things: 1) the acting might not be phenomenal, 2) the plot may have a few holes, and 3) I could be left wanting more.  A good sci-fi movie will minimize these negative aspects, and a bad one will compound them.  Guess which one Event Horizon did.

The story is quite simple yet interesting: a futuristic spacecraft is capable of faster-than-the-speed-of-light travel using black holes and the folding of space & time.  On its maiden voyage, the ship disappears and is not heard from again, until years later a distress signal is detected, coming from the lost vessel.  A team of doctors, pilots, and rescue workers travels across the solar system in order to save the crew and to uncover the truth, but the reality of the situation is far beyond anything they were trained for, far beyond human understanding.

Yeah, it was how it sounds; a little silly and a little muddled.  The premise was intriguing, and the actors actually pulled off the typical sci-fi setup; lost crew, dangerous mission, secret space tests.  But a good beginning was as far as it would go.  Eventually the plot disintegrated, people starting dying in unbelievable ways, speeches kept getting more and more ridiculous, and I began to lose interest.  Appreciate Event Horizon for being a sci-fi mainstay, but don't hope for much.

My rating: ✰ ✰

Monday, December 10, 2012

Movie Trailer - Oblivion

Director: Joseph Kosinski
Starring: Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman
Release: April 19th, 2013

I must be on a sci-fi kick right now.  Star Trek Saturday, Oblivion today, and a review of Event Horizon tomorrow.  But I can't help it, sci-fi is unique in its ability to blend reality with fiction in a believable and entertaining way.  Dramas are too real sometimes, fantasy can be too silly, but sci-fi takes a story that could come true and weaves it with action, drama, and effects to create a great movie.  You still have to pair up a good director with a great actor, and some would say that Tom Cruise is not that, but I would disagree.  Very excited to see this movie.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Movie Trailer - Star Trek Into Darkness

Director: J.J. Abrams
Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana
Release: May 17th, 2013

I'm not a huge Abrams fan (Star Trek, Super 8), but I liked the first one much more than I thought that I would.  I'll give the second one a chance and see if it can avoid being a cliche sequel.  And, hey, I might have a slight man-crush on Chris Pine.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Sports - Rivalries

The NFL and other sports leagues got at least one thing very right; divisions.  Competition between divisional opponents is the key to their success.  Why?  Because it creates rivalries, and rivalries are what we want to see.  Take last night's TNF game on NFL Network for example.  The Broncos are 9-3, the Raiders are 3-9.  Should be a lopsided victory for Denver, a foregone conclusion, and it was.  So why were people still watching if they could easily predict the result?  Because 'any given Sunday'?  No, because of the rivalry.  The NFL has created a hatred between these two clubs by placing them in the same division and forcing them to play each other twice a year.  Both teams are old AFLers, and the NFL did a great job in keeping them together and keeping the bad blood between them alive and well.  We love to see rivalries because they elevate the level of competition and make unwatchable games watchable.  This is the only way ANYONE can watch a Browns games, because sometimes they play the Bengals and Steelers.  In these games, teams play harder.  They play angry and they know their opponent.  It makes for a better game, one that could go either way, and that's what we want to see.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Movie Trailer - Epic

Director: Chris Wedge
Starring: Amanda Seyfried, Josh Hutcherson, Colin Farrell
Release: May 24th, 2013

Ok, yeah, it does seem a little silly, a tad juvenile, and a bit of a ripoff.  But I don't want to hear any complaining.  I guarantee you it will be twenty times better than Avatar, and that rotten tomato was nominated for a Best Picture Ocscar!  Have you no shame, Academy?!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Sports - NFL Picks, Week 14

Here are my NFL Week 14 Picks:
(I was 8-8 last week, worst week so far)
Bye teams: none

Den @ Oak -  The last time these two teams played the Broncos won 37-6.  Now, to be fair that was in Denver, but not much should change as the Broncos are on a roll.  Go Peyton!

STL @ Buf - It's very frustrating to pick winners and losers in matchups between bad teams.  The Bills have a good home record and the Rams are awful on the road, so Bills I guess.
Atl @ Car - My fantasy team is out of the playoffs thanks to Matt Ryan's epic collapse over the past three games.  Ironically, the Falcons won all those games.  They will continue this week.
Dal @ Cin - Tough call in what should be a good game.  Both teams have renewed hope and are fighting for the playoffs, but with Murray back the Cowboys have a leg up.  Big D.
KC @ Cle - Yuck.  An almost unwatchable game between boring teams.  I expect an emotional letdown with the Chiefs, and the Brownies are actually playing ok.  Cleveland.
Ten @ Ind - I keep doubting Luck and he keeps proving me wrong.  I have to take him at home this week against an abysmal Titans defense in what has become a pretty nice rivalry.
NYJ @ Jax - Last week the Jets won 7-6.  What is this, baseball?  And the points were scored behind McElroy.  What is this, golf?  The Jets are messed up.  But hey, they'll probably still win.
Chi @ Min - Ponder and the Vikings just aren't scoring enough points to keep up with their opponents.  The Bears have issues, but Cutler is scoring and the Chicago D is still formidable.
SD @ Pit - I was shocked by the Steelers win last week; the Ravens should be embarrassed.  The Chargers have their own problems, but their D can stop Batch if he starts.
Phi @ TB - I don't see how the Eagles can win with the mess that they've created for themselves.  The Bucs are not awful and can definitely win at home, and they should this week.
Bal @ Was - Another player I keep doubting is RG3.  They are on a mini-roll, knocking off the G-men last week.  The Ravens lost to Charlie Batch, and should play mad, but Flacco is struggling.
Mia @ SF - The Niners allow the least amount of points per game in the league.  They got themselves into some trouble by creating a QB controversy, but they should still win easy.
NO @ NYG - Both teams are coming off big losses to division opponents and should be playing good football.  Both teams can also score points, but the Giants can actually play D.  G-men.
Ari @ Sea - The Cards only score 15 points per game, lowest in the league.  Their defense is good, but all three of their QBs stink.  Russell Wilson does not, and should lead his team to a W.
Det @ GB - The Lions are a direct reflection of their coach; a pompous, dirty, juvenile wreck.  Let's just say I don't love Jim Schwartz.  I hope and imagine that they will lose this game.

Hou @ NE - A great Monday Night matchup and the clear game of the week.  Should be a very tough and physical game with a good amount of points scored.  I'll take the Texans by a nose.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Movie Review - Albert Nobbs

Director: Rodrigo Garcia
Starring: Glenn Close, Mia Wasikowska, Janet McTeer
Year: 2011

There exists an uncomfortable balancing point when it comes to film expectations: you want to be surprised, but you want to know what's coming.  In the case of Albert Nobbs, I thought I knew what the movie would be about.  When it turned out that I was wrong, I wasn't especially happy about it.  

The title character Nobbs is a waiter in a 19th century hotel in Dublin.  He is respected and frugal, planning on someday getting married and opening up an idyllic shop where he will spend the rest of his days.  The trouble is, Albert is a woman.  As he attempts to make his dreams come true, he must come to terms with who he was and how that will effect who he can become.

Now, the fact that the main character is actually a woman is not the surprise, nor is it the problem.  Glenn Close plays Albert to perfection and the supporting actors are more than capable of keeping the storyline going.  The problem is that what starts as a brilliantly edgy character movie begins to slowly drag and become bogged down in issues, not individuals.  We are left with a commentary on the history of feminism and sexism, without ever really getting to know Nobbs in the way that could have been extremely fascinating.  I thought I would be watching a great story, and when I got a documentarial period piece, I was disappointed.

My rating: ✰ ✰ ✰

Monday, December 3, 2012

Sports - Playoff Picture

I'm not sure why I'm obsessed with this, but I'm really enjoying keeping tabs on the NFL playoff picture.  Perhaps it's because the Broncos are relevant, or perhaps because I love the storyline of their projected matchup with the Colts.  Either way, it's interesting to see the potential scenarios and the current rankings.

Additionally, more teams punched their tickets to the playoffs this week.  Houston is officially in the playoffs, and Denver, New England, and Atlanta have already clinched their divisions, partly due to great play and partly due to poor competition.  But, doesn't matter, those teams are in.

The Broncos, for winning the AFC West, will host at least the first playoff game, which is a huge advantage, especially if they could draw a warm weather or a dome team (Indy) and welcome them to Denver in January.  Very exciting.  Take a look at the current playoff picture and check back each week to see the updates.