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Showing posts from July, 2016

Upcoming Releases — August

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We're cruising to the end of summer. August tends to be an up-and-down month for movies. Kids go back to school, sports heats up, and the movies wind down as they wrap up blockbuster season and prepare for the fall lull before holiday movie and award movie season. Here's a look at what to expect in August.

Friday, August 5:
Suicide Squad — This is probably the biggest, and best, summer movie left. There's a lot riding on this unconventional superhero team from D.C. Comics. I expect big things, and there's a lot of expectations here.

Nine Lives — Kevin Spacey deserves better than this flaccid children's tale about a self-centered man taught a lesson about family when he's transported into the body of a cat. The audience deserves better, too.

Friday, August 12:
Pete's Dragon — This re-make of the Disney classic will benefit from better special effects and performances from Bryce Dallas Howard and Robert Redford. This could be a sleeper gem of late summer.

Sausage …

Now Playing

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Here's a look at the new movie I saw this week.

Star Trek Beyond
Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Idris Elba, Karl Urban, John Cho, and Simon Pegg
Synopsis: Gene Roddenberry first created “Star Trek” the TV series 50 years ago. It was a brave new world, as we explored the reaches of space and what it meant to live in a different kind of world; a more utopia society. That show lasted just three seasons, and it didn’t have great ratings or great critical acclaim. But the concept has endured. There’s been countless “Star Trek” series since, and with the release of the latest film, “Star Trek Beyond,” there’s been 13 major motion pictures. In 2009, J.J. Abrams brought a new vision for “Star Trek.” That film featured the original characters with a completely different cast and a new vision for the world. It was followed by “Into Darkness” in 2013, a film that was decent but not as well received by fans. While Abrams moved on to direct the new “Star Wars” film last December, the futu…

2016 Broncos Season: Player Profile, CJ Anderson, a Love Story

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I am a life-long Denver Broncos fan. I love the team and its players, always have. So I tend to be a fierce defender of those I think are getting a raw deal and, at times, a harsher critic than most. Some of it is rooted in outright fandom. A lot of it is rooted in watching every single play – pre-season, season and post-season – of every single Broncos game. Often, it comes from watching it more than once.
That feeds into my belief in CJ Anderson, who I think should be a Top 15 running back, and could be a Top 10 back. It’s because I’ve seen what he can do, and I have faith he can do it in this Gary Kubiak offense. But I’d also argue he’s the most important player on the Broncos’ roster.
A Grim 2015: Sure, the Broncos won the Super Bowl in 2015, and when you win nothing else matters and no one really wants to hear about your complaints. That’s fair. But for as historically great the Broncos defense was in 2015, their offense was incredibly mediocre. And that isn’t just a fan’s take, tha…

Superhero Movie Countdown - No. 6

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Today I continue my superhero movie countdown with one that might be the most unexpected on this list.

No. 6 - Superman Returns (2006)
Starring: Brandon Routh, Kevin Spacey, and Kate Bosworth
Director: Bryan Singer
Quote: "Live as one of them, Kal-El, to discover where your strength and your power are needed. Always hold in your heart the pride of your special heritage. They can be a great people, Kal-El, they wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all, their capacity for good, I have sent them you... my only son." - Jor-El
About: By most metrics, "Superman Returns" was a bust. It was supposed to jump start the Superman franchise again, but instead it failed to earn  big Box Office returns. It would be another seven years before they tried to jump start the Superman franchise again. But, for me, "Superman Returns" was pitch perfect. It takes place directly after the events of "Superman II," pretending the events …

Summer TV Roundup, Week 10

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We're in that bubble where we're about to transition to the Fall TV season, so new shows have slowed to a trickle. In these weekly posts I review the pilot and second episode of new scripted shows this summer. Don't see a new show listed below? Check previous weeks.

Wednesday Nights:
The A Word, Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on Sundance (Premiered July 13)
About: This latest series on Sundance comes from across the pond and focuses on a family dealing with the revelation their five-year-old son is autistic. The premise is fascinating, and it's timely. Autism is something more and more families are having to deal with, and the show attempts to show the ways parents can be in denial, try to control the situation, or get it wrong. But this show also wants to be a drama about the adults and their myriad of marital and familial issues. That's the part of the show that sort of takes it off the rails for me. I like the idea, but I haven't enjoyed the way the first two episodes …

2016 Broncos Season, Training Camp Begins

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The Broncos begin training camp on Thursday. The season is getting so close. Time to take a look at some position battles that need to be clarified over the next three weeks. The focus, for the most part, is on the offense, which needs to improve in 2016.

Quarterback:
Contenders — Mark Sanchez, Trevor Seimian, Paxton Lynch
About: Sanchez is the veteran, Lynch is the first-round draft choice and Seimian is the wild card. Who's it going to be? Heading into camp, Sanchez and Seimian are reportedly neck-and-neck. Now comes reports the Broncos want Lynch to play at some point in the season. That remains to be seen. My gut feeling is Sanchez is the starter week one, and he does well. I think Seimian starts the season at No. 2 but that could be Lynch by the time it's all said and done. I think in 2017, Lynch and Seimian are the last two standing, unless Sanchez had a Pro Bowl year that ends with a Super Bowl ring.

Running Back:
Contenders — C.J. Anderson, Devontae Booker, Ronnie Hillman,…

Your New TV Obsession

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"Six. Six people have been taken this week. This thing that took your son... We don't really understand it. But it's behavior is predictable. Like all animals, it eats. It will take more sons. More daughters. I want to save them. I want to save your son. But I can't do that. Not without your help." — Dr. Martin Brenner, "Stranger Things."

On July 15, Netflix released its latest series, "Stranger Things." It's a brisk eight episodes, none longer than 55 minutes, made for binge watching. In fact, it's the show of the summer, and one of the best shows of the year so far.

"Stranger Things" is set in 1983 in Hawkins, Indiana. After something goes wrong at a government laboratory in town, things begin to go wrong in town. A boy goes missing, people grow concerned and, well, strange things begin happening.

I won't ruin the plot here, because it's a joy that needs to be discovered through watching. But I will list a few thin…

Top 5 of Summer... So Far

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We're 12 Fridays deep on summer so far at the movies. There've been a lot of blockbusters that have competed for the title of summer's best. Some have been worthy, some have disappointed. And we still have a month left. But for now, here's my five favorite and three biggest disappointments of summer 2016 at the Box Office.

Five Favorites:
1. X-Men: Apocalypse. This was the third, and possibly final, "X-Men" film featuring the prequel cast, had a lot of hype and a lot of questions. But, to me, it's been the best of the big blockbusters to be released in 2016. It introduced new characters, brought our favorite heroes together and followed a fascinating story arc. Plus, it had a rich emotional fabric that drew you in and kept you hooked.

2. Money Monster. This isn't the kind of movie you typically expect to see during the summer. It takes a serious look at the economic problems in America. It stars George Clooney and Julia Roberts, and is directed by Jodie…

For Whom Bell Tolls

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"Right now, it's hard to imagine the Steelers are ready to pay Bell, a 2017 free agent, as a top-shelf back." - Jeremy Fowler, ESPN

I am a big fan of Le'Veon Bell. I love his talent and potential. After a slow start as a rookie during the 2013 season, he was by far and away the No. 1 running back in 2014. Last season should have been a continuation.

Prior to the 2015 season, even knowing he faced a possible three-game suspension, Bell was the No. 1 player in fantasy. I traded for him in a Dynasty league and took him in several re-draft leagues. And after sitting out his two-game suspension, he was great -- right up until the point when he got injured and was forced to miss the rest of the season.

But supposedly healthy, hope was high that Bell would return to that league-leading form in 2016. Prior to Friday, he was the consensus No. 1 back in fantasy rankings. And I doubled down, taking him in even more leagues.

Then came word Friday that Bell faces a four game sus…

Now Playing

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Here's a look at the new movies I saw this week.

Ghostbusters
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, and Chris Hemsworth
Synopsis: In 1984 legendary comedians Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd and Harold Ramis came together with director Ivan Reitman to deliver an iconic classic, “Ghostbusters.” It was about a group of scientists who battled the paranormal — and their doubters — to save New York City. The classic film inspired a toy line, an animated series, a follow up film and endless talk of another sequel. For years ideas bounced around but nothing came of it. And after Ramis passed away in 2014, it seemed to put a lid on the possible third “Ghostbusters” film. But good ideas never really die — sometimes they just change. Enter director Paul Feig and two of his favorite actresses, Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy, and “Ghostbusters” had life again. The question all summer has been whether this new team — rebooting the franchise with the blessing and partic…

Superhero Movie Countdown — No. 7

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Today on the countdown I pivot to one of the most interesting entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

No. 7 — Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Starring: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Redford, and Sebastian Stan
Director: The Russo Brothers
Quote: "Attention all S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, this is Steve Rogers. You're heard a lot about me over the last few days. Some of you were even ordered to hunt me down. But I think it's time to tell the truth. S.H.I.E.L.D. is not what we thought it was. It's been taken over by HYDRA. Alexander Pierce is their leader. The S.T.R.I.K.E. and Insight crew are HYDRA as well. I don't know how many more, but I know they're in the building. They could be standing right next to you. They almost have what they want. Absolute control. They shot Nick Fury. And it won't end there. If you launch those helicarriers today, HYDRA will be able to kill anyone that stands in their way. Unless we stop them. I …

Summer TV Roundup, Week 9

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As we approach the Summer Olympics, the new shows are slowing to a trickle. In these weekly posts I look at the pilot and second episode of new scripted series this summer. Don't see a new show listed below? Check previous weeks.

Wednesday Nights:
The A Word, Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on Sundance (Premiered July 13)
About: This latest series is another import from England, this time centering on a family coming to grips with the fact their son is autistic. It's a dysfunctional family. Grandpa (Christopher Eccleston) is too involved, the parents are in denial, and the aunt and uncle have marital problems. But they come to realize that the little boy, Joe, is not your average five year old. The first episode of the series was about coming to that point of realization. The rest of the six-episode run is how they adjust to that reality. This is a serious question to ponder for many in America and England. Autism is on the rise, and it can be a challenge for parents to deal with. That ma…

Emmy Nominations Reaction

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Last Thursday the Emmy nominations were announced. I don't follow the Emmys as closely as the Oscars and Golden Globes, but it's always interesting to see the field. Below are some thoughts on this year's field.

Best Drama:
This year there are seven nominees and a lot of worthy options. It's worth celebrating that "The Americans" is finally getting the recognition it so richly deserves. "Mr. Robot" is a show that breaks barriers and has changed the genre, so it's nice to see it getting recognized. On the filp side, how is "Homeland" in this group? But no show had a better season than "Game of Thrones," which should win the Emmy for Best Drama.

Best Comedy:
Could HBO sweep the top categories? It's possible. "Silicon Valley" continues to improve, delivering a strong third season, while "VEEP" went off book for season five with some incredible results.

Best Limited:
This is, perhaps, the toughest category o…

2016 Broncos Season, A Bronco for Life

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"I'm super happy and excited to be back with my teammates for the next six years. This is something I really wanted-to stay with the Denver Broncos. I am so appreciative and grateful for this opportunity. I want to thank Mr. [Pat] Bowlen, Joe Ellis, John Elway and Coach [Gary] Kubiak for making this possible. I'm also thankful for the way my teammates and our fans have supported me. I'm excited for the future and ready to get back to work." - Von Miller, Denver Broncos

Broncos fans, our long national nightmare is over. On Friday afternoon, just about an hour before the deadline, the Broncos and Miller agreed on a new six year, $114 million contract. It also included $70 million guaranteed, making it the second largest deal in NFL history.

Broncos VP John Elway posted a note of excitement on Twitter. Miller posted a picture and said he wants to be a Broncos for life. All feels right in Denver again. As the team opens training camp they will be at full strength. D…

Pre-Season Ranks, D/ST and K

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Today I conclude my pre-season ranks with defenses and kickers. Many leagues (including several I play in) are going kicker free, but for those who aren't, enjoy.

Top 20 D/ST:
1. Denver Broncs
2. Seattle Seahawks
3. Carolina Panthers
4. Arizona Cardinals
5. Kansas City Chiefs
6. Houston Texans
7. Cincinnati Bengals
8. New York Jets
9. Minnesota Vikings
10. New England Patriots
11. Oakland Raiders
12. Green Bay Packers
13. Baltimore Ravens
14. Buffalo Bills
15. St. Louis Rams
16. Jacksonville Jaguars
17. Pittsburgh Steelers
18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
19. Detroit Lions
20. Indianapolis Colts

Highlights:
* A lot of people have the Broncos between 4-6 in rankings. I put them one. Call me a homer if you want, but they were No. 1 last year, and I think they'll be there, or at least have a good shot, again this year. Sure, Malik Jackson and Danny Trevanthan are gone, but Denver is hardly stripped bare. The secondary returns, we have a great pass rush, and I like the potential on the def…

Pre-Season Ranks, Tight Ends

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I continue my pre-season ranks today with a look at the most curious position, Tight End.

Top 25 Tight Ends:
1. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
2. Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins
3. Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers
4. Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals
5. Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans
6. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs
7. Gary Barnidge, Cleveland Browns
8. LaDarius Green, Pittsburgh Steelers
9. Julius Thomas, Jacksonville Jaguars
10. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles
11. Zach Miller, Chicago Bears
12. Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers
13. Coby Fleener, New Orleans Saints
14. Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions
15. Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys
16. Jimmy Graham, Seattle Seahawks
17. Vance McDonald, San Francisco 49ers
18. Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis Colts
19. Clive Wafford, Oakland Raiders
20. Will Tye, New York Giants
21. Jeff Heuerman, Denver Broncos
22. Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
23. Jordan Cameron, Miami Dolphins
24. Benjamin Watson, Baltimore Ravens
25. Charles Clay, Buff…

Now Playing

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Here's a look at the new movies I saw this week.

Free State of Jones
Starring: Matthew McCounaghey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Mahershala Ali, and Keri Russell
Synopsis: Based on the book from Sally Jenkins, the film follows the story of Newton Knight (McCounaghey), a poor Mississippi farmer who turned his back on the Confederacy and led a revolution of his own. Knight, fellow disgruntled farmers, and free slaves fought the Confederacy successfully during the war, then struggled to fight racism and injustice in the post-war South. It is a compelling book and a fascinating, though somewhat depressing story. The film only covers a part of the story — which includes the rebellion during the Civil War and some of the struggles in the years just after the war. It also touches on a legal case many years later that led people to look into this strange but true story of a man who ran counter to his time and place in history. McCounaghey does a nice job in the lead role, and the ensemble cast for the …

Superhero Movie Countdown - No. 8

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Today I continue my countdown with a classic from Tim Burton.

No. 8 - Batman (1989)
Starring: Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, and Kim Basinger
Director: Tim Burton
Quote: "Tell me something, my friend. You ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?" - The Joker
About: Some might quibble this is too high. Others might think it's too low. That's the case with "Batman," a film that seems to polarize viewers. It's ironic that I'm covering this now since it's about to be back in theaters as part of the Cinemark Classics series this summer. That, probably, is due in large part to the music of Prince, who died earlier this year. But it's also a classic film, and one that opened up Batman in a new way. Gone was the tights and camp of the Adam West era. In was a dark, moody, and fascinating take on the Dark Knight. It's not as great as the world created by Christopher Nolan, but it's incredible in how it began to change the genre on the big…

Summer TV Roundup, Week 8

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We're into July and the stream of new shows is slowing a bit. But there's still new ones to discover. In these weekly posts I review the pilot and second episode of new scripted series this summer. Don't see a new show listed below? Check previous weeks.

Tuesday Nights:
Dead of Summer, Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on Freeform (Premiered June 28)
About: This series on Freeform is about a summer camp that's about to re-open when some mysterious events begin to occur. Is it a killer? Is it a ghost? Does it have anything to do with the background of the counselors? Is it tied to the history? Those are all the questions that the series poses. It does a decent job of setting the scene and creating something of an engaging murder mystery. I like Elizabeth Mitchell, who leads the cast, and the general idea of this kind of story. But it's possible that it works better as a 90 minute film than as a weekly series. The first episode set the stage and was moderately engrossing. But I thoug…

Pre-Season Ranks, Wide Receiver

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No position matters more in Fantasy Football in 2016 than wide receivers.

Top 50 Wide Receivers:
1. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
2. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
3. Odell Beckham, Jr., New York Giants
4. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans
5. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
6. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals
7. Alshon Jeffrey, Chicago Bears
8. Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars
9. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos
10. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
11. Brandon Marshall, New York Jets
12. Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers
13. Julian Edelman, New England Patriots
14. Keenan Allen, San Diego Chargers
15. Brandin Cooks, New Orleans Saints
16. T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts
17. Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders
18. Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins
19. Sammie Watkins, Buffalo Bills
20. Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers
21. Jeremy Maclin, Kansas City Chiefs
22. Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina Panthers
23. Eric Decker, New York Jets
24. Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks
25. Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos
26. Go…

Pre-Season Ranks, Running backs

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I'm continuing my ranks countdown with one of the most difficult positions to handicap, running back.

Top 50 RBs:
1. Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers
2. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
3. Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams
4. David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals
5. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs
6. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
7. Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins
8. Devante Freeman, Atlanta Falcons
9. Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
10. Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints
11. Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers
12. Thomas Rawls, Seattle Seahawks
13. LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills
14. Dion Lewis, New England Patriots
15. CJ Anderson, Denver Broncos
16. DeMarco Murray, Tennessee Titans
17. Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers
18. Matt Forte, New York Jets
19. Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals
20. Ryan Matthew, Philadelphia Eagles
21. Jay Ajayi, Miami Dolphins
22. Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 49ers
23. Duke Johnson, Jr., Cleveland Browns
24. Jeremy Langford, Chicago Bears
25. Matt Jones, Washington…

Pre-Season Ranks, QBs

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Training camps and pre-season are approaching. Now seems like a good time to make my first set of positional ranks. Over the course of the next week I'll be looking at each position, beginning with quarterback. It's almost fantasy drafting season.

Top 25 QBs for 2016:
1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
2. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
3. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
4. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
5. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
6. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
7. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals
8. Tom Brady, New England Patriots
9. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals
10. Eli Manning, New York Giants
11. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars
12. Phillip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
13. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders
14. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
15. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
16. Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins
17. Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills
18. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
19. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
20. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins
21. Jay Cutl…

Loss, Anger and Sadness

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It's been a tough couple of days for the United States. There's been shootings by police officers and a mass shooting of police officers. In three states there has been violence. And that's just the shootings that have been publicized.

Of course, we're only a few weeks removed from the largest mass shooting in U.S. history in Orlando. No matter what else happens, this summer will be remembered for the tragic loss of life and violence.

In the wake of the Orlando shooting — and after the last couple of days — there have been calls for better enforcement of gun laws, new gun laws, and hate crimes legislation. I don't really want to get into the specifics of those laws or make a political statement, so I'll just say you can't legislate morality.

Regardless of what laws are passed or not passed — or how you feel about proposed laws — the problems in this country run deeper. Michael Moore made a documentary in 2002 called "Bowling for Columbine." It…