Fury Road Is A Cinematic Muscle Car With Kick

Posted in Film-Addict Pieces on May 22, 2015 by dbuff82

imageedit_1_7203765016Max Rockatansky. Imperator Furiosa. Rictus Erectus. Toast The Knowing. The Splendid Angharad. Cheedo The Fragile. The Organic Mechanic. Keeper of the Seeds. Nux. Slit. Those are just a few of the characters I met last night.

If the future indeed belongs to the mad men and women of George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road, then strap me in for the long ride. This 120 power packed thrill ride is exactly the kind of movie to spring us into the summer wind. After getting superpower wasted with Avengers last weekend, Miller’s full throttle rebooting is just what the audience needs. Engine, grease, bullets, blood, tears and lots of extreme action. The kind of action that makes you forget about all the amateur action you’ve seen lately. The kind of chase scenes that make you want to get into a muscle car, find a sandy road and blow down it without thinking about anything else. Fury Road is an original model, something you’ve never seen before and may never see again, unless you see a chained up Tom Hardy swing into your front seat.

Hardy’s casting and Miller’s return made me get excited about this Mad Max return. Hardy doesn’t take a day off at the office and sinks his teeth into every single project he does. While some movie stars see fit to waste their lives and talent for a boatload of cash, Hardy doesn’t like to mess around and makes the Max role his own. The hero here is cut from the darker cloth and doesn’t speak a ton, so it’s good that Hardy can transcribe a thesis statement of emotions and words with a series of looks. Hardy is like Clive Owen and Russell Crowe at their best, actors who can carve a lot out with a little. People have complained Hardy isn’t fit to fill Mel Gibson’s shoes, and I’ll tell them Gibson signed off on Hardy and it’s easy to see. He’s dirty, grimy, and keeps you on your heels. This is his first bona fide action hero role and Hardy never lets it seem like a gimmick. He’s in every single scene and carries the weight of the film on his back, since his name is kind of in the title. Sure, the first 30 minutes of the film sees him wheezing out of a metal mask on his face, so people will think this is Bane reloaded, but Hardy turns him into something else entirely by the end of the film. A walking wounded loner looking for redemption. Aren’t we all? Continue reading

Pound Of Flesh: For Van Damme Addicts Only

Posted in Film-Addict Pieces on May 21, 2015 by dbuff82

s4fjgkfdbwkyuww8jtydWatching a 54 year old action star with a receding hairline try to keep the good old days alive on screen carries a well mixed brew of nostalgia, sadness and hidden glee. Jean-Claude Van Damme’s latest direct to On Demand/DVD effort, Pound of Flesh, isn’t a complete waste of time or miserable experience but it does make you think about the sharper days of Lionheart, Kickboxer and Double Impact. If this movie was released 20 years ago, it may have worked. Today, in a day and age where fight choreography has been taken to a whole other level, Pound of Flesh seems tired.

Van Damme plays Deacon, a man who checks into a hotel only to wake up the next day not feeling so hot. A woman who crossed his path rolls around in his head while he figures out that a part of him is missing. A kidney. He finds money, meds and an ace of spades waiting for him. That’s the first complaint. How many times are filmmakers going to use an ace of spades as a big turning point in a story or a big bad guy mark. Why not use a Jack of Hearts or a scrabble piece just to change things up. Like I said, the mechanics used here by director Ernie Barbarash and writer Joshua James are overused and stale. Continue reading

Good Kill Doesn’t Shy Away From The Tough Questions

Posted in Film-Addict Pieces with tags , , on May 20, 2015 by dbuff82

good_kill_quad_v0nTowards the end of Good Kill, Ethan Hawke’s post traumatic stress riddled morally corrupt drone pilot tells a clerk that just sold him enough booze to numb his pain for one night, “We got no skin in the game. I feel like a coward. Worst thing I can get is carpal tonal or spill coffee on my lap. Have a rough drive home on the free way.”

Hawke’s Thomas Egan used to be a real pilot, flying jets into enemy territory and fighting the war face to face. These days, he sits in a closed off trailer with a few other officers, works a stick, aims, and shoots drone missiles at the bad guys and goes home to barbecue after his shift. For some cold to the bone or wanting the quick thrill of doing the right thing, the job would be a breeze. For the few who can’t shake old memories and like to crash hard internally after pushing a button and ending lives, the gig eats away at the soul.

Good Kill is the third film that Hawke and director Andrew Niccol have worked on together, after the impressive Gattaca and the vastly underrated Lord of War. One can tell the two work seamlessly in any cinematic adventure because Hawks fits this character to a tee, refusing to overplay scenes that are sitting on a tee and letting the pot boil slowly over the 100 minutes running time. He is the reason to watch this film, because there isn’t much going on that we haven’t seen before and the pacing is erratic. Burnt out soldier can’t shed the old skin of being a cold blooded killer and it eats away at everything around him. Continue reading

10 Reasons Banshee on Cinemax Deserves Your Attention

Posted in Banshee with tags , , on May 19, 2015 by dbuff82

images (1)A beautiful Amish girl gone bad challenging a pair of criminals to a game of chicken on an open road. A criminal posing as a cop trying to reconnect with his daughter, whose dad happens to be the Mayor. A Kinaho Tribe chief walking down the middle of a road firing arrows at military trucks. A seemingly quiet town lit up with enough noise to equal a monster truck rally.

This is an ordinary day on Cinemax’s Banshee, the best show on television and one that deserves your attention. It’s currently in the middle of its third season and instead of slowing down, it’s speeding up. Forget the DVR folks. Find this show and digest it right this minute. If you don’t put “Cinemax” and “quality TV” in the same sentence, start working on it with Banshee. This show has it all. Action, drama, sex, fast pacing, sly comedy and a confidence that can’t be bought. It’s putting Cinemax on the map as a network to be reckoned with. The premium cable channel is beefing up its original content, and Banshee is at the center of that bullet.

Need more of a reason to take a dip? Here are 10 reasons to rush this show to the top of the must watch list. Continue reading

Yadier Molina: True Value

Posted in Sports, St. Louis Cardinals with tags , , , on May 18, 2015 by dbuff82

Yadi

Disclaimer-I wrote this last August for the Conclave but saved it on the dose here for a future publishing. I saved it for when people started to doubt Molina’s brilliance. They were worried about his lack of power or his ability to frame a pitch. Well, when you are king of a position in America’s favorite pastime, all people can do is chip away at your legend. I wrote this when Molina returned in 2014. Read on.

When I think of Yadier Molina’s importance to the St. Louis Cardinals, I think of one of my legs. He isn’t the heart and soul of the team because that position belongs to the logo on the front of the chest and is spread across the entire team. Yadi is a leg and it was broken on July 9th when he went down with torn ligaments in his right thumb. The loss of Yadi didn’t dismantle the team completely. They were able to soldier on and win more games than they lost. Tony Cruz couldn’t fill the starting role so A.J. Pierzynski was brought in to help. Together, they did a decent job in a pinch. In the end, they showed how important Yadi is to the Cards. He is easily the most valuable player and someone I attribute “true value” to every time he steps on the field. He is a leg on this team because since early July, this team has been hopping on one foot and barely getting by. They are scrapping the floor and the other healthy limb is getting tired. With Yadi, the team walks straight and glides. Without him, they are off, in pain and slowly falling apart.

You can try to calculate the value of Yadi but good luck getting anywhere with MVP voters. They prefer glossy baseball card mafia statistics instead of intangibles. They want home runs, RBI and hits. MVP voters like the long ball and Yadier’s career high is 22 in 2012. The WAR(wins above replacement) can’t be correctly graded for a catcher, but last year in that category, Yadi ranked first among catchers with a 5.7. In 2012, it was 6.7 wins above replacement. Yadier Molina should have at least 2 MVP’s but voters don’t want to look at the little things. Continue reading

Taking A Walk on HBO’s Boardwalk

Posted in TV Review with tags , , on May 17, 2015 by dbuff82

f847f7e88f0e5d464b4c79e0409fBeing Nucky Thompson, the king of Atlantic City, one can’t afford to stay out of danger for too long. It seems like every season the one time city treasurer and unofficial gangster is dealing with a big fish washing onto the Eastern shore to take a piece of his pie. Near the end of the season, he manages to escape. All this time, the authorities have never been able to touch him. Enemies come and go. Women are able to temporarily thaw his cold heart but eventually it hardens back up. In the fifth and final season of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, Steve Buscemi’s Nucky will face the realization that all good things eventually come to an end.

People cried outrage when HBO announced it is closing the doors on the expensive, elaborate and wonderfully shot drama this past winter. The show got better and better with every season, and the chances for more story growth and character development were there. However, when your seasons cost 100 million dollars to shoot and Creator Terence Winter is using real history with these famous figures, an end was always in sight in my eyes. Nucky doesn’t rule forever. Stephen Graham’s expertly crafted Al Capone doesn’t stay small time for long. Vincent Piazzo’s Lucky Luciano eventually becomes a boss. If you are familar with your ghosts of gangster’s past, HBO’s Emmy winning series was always booked with a ticking bomb attached to it. Continue reading

5 Remedies For The St. Louis Blues

Posted in Sports, St. Louis Blues on May 16, 2015 by dbuff82

Bylsma1Now that the latest playoff exit for the St. Louis Blues has sunk into the heartbroken minds of fans across the Lou, it’s time to look at some options this summer to improve the team. Some of them may be minor and some of them could be major. As I talked about last week, it’s time to depart the T.J. Oshie train, but it’s important to not stop there. There can be player moves and line transfers that could turn this team into a weapon not only this October but hopefully next spring as well. As the late comedian George Carlin once said, stop living in the past because it doesn’t care about your future. Let’s talk remedies.

1.) Hire Dan Bylsma

With no offense to Ken Hitchcock and his Stanley Cup success, he isn’t the man for this team’s future. The days of year to year contracts with a veteran coach who hasn’t tasted playoff success in quite some time must come to an end. Bring in a new coach and sign him for 3-4 seasons. Produce some stability instead of a substitute teacher behind the bench. While Mike Babcock can be enticing, I don’t see him leaving Detroit and the same goes for the old wolf, Darryl Sutter in Los Angeles. For my peace of mind, I’d like the gritty ex-player and ferocious Dan Bylsma. He coached the Pittsburgh Penguins to a Stanley Cup championship before they fired him last June and has spent the past year on the NHL Network and helping a friend on a WHL team. Bylsma wants to return to an NHL bench and could be the right guy for the Blues. He isn’t burned out after a year off, and has a chip on his shoulder after being canned in Pittsburgh so quickly. Bylsma is a player friendly coach who doesn’t just understand the game from a coaching level but can level with it from a young player due to his experience in the league. He has worked with superstars in Sidney Crosby and connected with younger grittier player in the minors. He is a fresh face in a Blues locker room needing a major face lift of any kind. If Doug Armstrong is not only practical but tactical, he calls Dan up and offers him the job. Start fresh and get serious. Bylsma has been to the promised land and knows what it takes, and will add a little intensity to the bench.

Or you could bring back Hitch and do the same old song and dance routine with your fanbase… Continue reading

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