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Showing posts from 2017

Fall TV Roundup, Week 6

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We're deep into the new fall TV season now, and the wave, or rather flood, of new shows is washing over us. There's been a lot of options but, for me, few diamonds in the rough. Hopefully you've found something new you like. If not, the wave isn't about to abate any time soon. In these weekly posts I review the pilot and second episode of new scripted shows this fall. Don't see a new show listed below? Check previous weeks.

Monday:
Valor, Mondays at 9 p.m. on The CW (Premiered October 9)
About:
The CW offered a pair of new shows this fall, "Valor" is about a group of special forces helicopter pilots embroiled in something deeper. I thought the pilot leaned a bit too much into other soapy shows on the network. By contrast, the second episode plays it a little more straight. But I found that's not always better. There's a lot going on here, and on the one hand I give The CW a bit of praise for stretching out of their typical demographic. But I wasn…

2017 Broncos' Season, Week 6

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We all feel that way, Trevor...

Week 6: New York Giants 23, Broncos 10
Season Record: 3-2 (3-1 Home)
Key Play: In the first half, with the Broncos trailing 10-3 and less than two minutes left in the half, Trevor Siemian threw a short pass that was intercepted by Janoris Jenkins, who returned it for a touchdown, making the score 17-3 and putting the game away.

Recap: For years now, I've been leery of the uniform combination that includes Navy Blue tops and Navy Blue pants. I think it's really the pants that put it over-the-top, especially in Prime Time. We always seem to find new ways to lose. Such was the case on Sunday night, as we returned from a bye week for a nationally televised home game against a team that came in 0-5 with their best players all out and injured. The Broncos were favored by 12.5 points, and it felt like the classic trap game. As was the Week 3 game in Buffalo. And for the second time this season, the Broncos fell into the trap. The team came out flat, never…

Veteran TV Check In — DC Heroes on the CW

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The TV Season is up and going again, and though they were the final network to make the leap, the CW is finally going, too. And, for the most part, that means DC Universe series. So here's a look at how all four shows returned and how they're looking as we kick off a new season.

Super Girl, Mondays at 8 p.m.
About: As we left off, "Super Girl" wrapped up her second season, first on the CW, on a sad note. She saved Earth but lost her love, Mon-El. And as we pick up season three, she's not taking things too well. She's detached, focused on saving as many people as possible and has let her life as Kara Danvers go, which isn't good for her or anyone. Don't worry, by the end of the premier she's back to something of her old self, but it was interesting to see Melissa Benoist take a new dimension. And the season is setting up well, too. Kara's friend, Lena Luthor, bought the paper, which will bring in a new dimension, and we got to see this season…

2017 Broncos' Season, Bye Week Hopes

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The Denver Broncos will begin their post-bye portion of the season tomorrow night as they host the New York Giants. But heading into the bye, the team was a Top 5 squad in the NFL, going 3-1 and, at times, looking unstoppable. It's also fair to argue they haven't played a complete four quarter game yet, so here's three hopes for the rest of the season.

1. Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders get more involved. The Broncos are winning. That's important. And I don't want to diminish that. But DT and Sanders have complained about not being more involved, and that's a fair point. They are two of the best receivers in the NFL, and yet it seems like the offense has somewhat passed them over. In fact, DT hasn't scored a TD yet this season. That's got to change, and I think it could change as early as Sunday night.

2. Get healthy and stay that way. The Broncos have struggled with injuries pre-season and early in the season, and the injuries have come where the …

Now Playing

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

Blade Runner 2049
Starring:
Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Jared Leto, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis, and Ana de Armas
Synopsis: "Blade Runner" is considered a cult classic and a sci-fi masterpiece. Based on the short story from Phillip K. Dick, the Ridley Scott film wasn't an immediate hit when it was released. But over the past 30 plus years, it's become a classic and revered film. Which is why the idea of a sequel, especially one executive produced by Scott and once again starring original film hero Ford, was met with such excitement. On Friday, we finally got that film. This new one, set 30 years after the original, is directed by Denis Villenueve, and featured Gosling in the starring role as a contemporary Blade Runner, and a new wave of replicant, named K. K is charged with "retiring" an old model replicant, still viewed as a threat, and there uncovers a deeper mystery. It leads him to seek out former B…

NFL Picks, Week 6

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After briefly taking the lead following Week 4, Lindsay surged back in front in Week 5, outscoring me by three picks. Will it last? Let's find out.

NFL Picks, Week 6:
Panthers Over Eagles (Panthers)
Falcons Over Dolphins (Falcons)
Ravens Over Bears (Ravens)
Texans Over Browns (Texans)
Lions Over Saints (Saints)
Packers Over Vikings (Packers)
Patriots Over Jets (Patriots)
Redskins Over 49ers (Redskins)
Jaguars Over Rams (Jaguars)
Buccaneers Over Cardinals (Cardinals)
Chiefs Over Steelers (Chiefs)
Raiders Over Chargers (Raiders)
Broncos Over Giants (Broncos)
Titans Over Colts (Titans)

Last Week: 6–8
Lindsay: 9-5

Season: 45–32
Lindsay: 46-31

NFL Picks Spread, Week 6:
Panthers -2.5 Over Eagles
Falcons -11.5 Over Dolphins
Bears +7.5 Over Ravens
Texans -9.5 Over Browns
Lions +4.5 Over Saints
Packers -3.5 Over Vikings
Jets +9.5 Over Patriots
49ers +9.5 Over Redskins
Jaguars -2.5 Over Rams
Buccaneers -2.5 Over Cardinals
Chiefs -3.5 Over Steelers
Chargers +6.5 Over Raiders
Broncos -12.5 Over Giants
Titans -3.5 Over Colt…

Faith in Film, Week 7

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Tonight we tackle the world of dreams with "Inception," a fascinating film that came out in 2010. It comes from director Christopher Nolan, and it was incredibly well received by critics and audiences. It got an 86 percent critical score and 91 percent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, which is pretty outstanding.

It was also a big player during awards season, nominated for eight Academy Awards and winning four for its technical presentation. And this was a labor of love for Nolan, who began working on the screenplay after seeing "The Matrix" in 1999 and presented an 80-page treatment to Warner Brothers in 2001. He worked on it for nine to 10 years before finally making it into a film, and I think that dedication to story and craft shows.

But what the film really boils down to (aside from a controversial ending that had people talking for years) is an exploration of the weight of grief and loss. Many of Nolan’s films have similar themes. By worldview he’s somewha…

Fall TV Roundup, Week 5

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We're in early October and the onslaught of new series is in full swing. This week The CW joins the fray. In these weekly posts I look at the pilot and second episode of new series this fall. Don't see a new show listed below? Check previous weeks.

Monday Nights:
9JKL, Mondays at 8:30 p.m. on CBS (Premiered October 2)
About: It's fair to wonder how the CBS comedy block on Mondays is going to fair in a few weeks when "The Big Bang Theory" moves back to Thursday nights. Veteran "Kevin Can Wait" isn't strong, and "Superior Doughnuts" didn't have a huge following last year. Then there's the new shows. "Me, Myself, and I" slid in its few weeks on the air. But "9JKL" might be the true weak spot. I mentioned last week that I didn't care for much of anything about the pilot. Shockingly, the second episode was possibly worse. It wasn't funny, the pacing was off, and the storytelling was painful. This is easily the …

NFL Playoff Predictions at the Quarter Pole

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We've reached the quarter point in the NFL Season, so it's a good time to take a look at my pre-season predictions and make some revised playoff predictions. Below are my pre-season predictions followed by lessons learned and some revisions.

AFC:                                                                      NFC:
1. Pittsburgh Steelers                                            1. Green Bay Packers
2. New England Patriots                                       2. Seattle Seahawks
3. Tennessee Titans                                               3. Carolina Panthers
4. Oakland Raiders                                               4. New York Giants
5. Cincinnati Bengals                                           5. Atlanta Falcons 
6. Baltimore Ravens                                             6. Washington Redskins

Super Bowl: Steelers Over Packers

What I Got Right: The Packers are really good, and both the Panthers and Falcons look like playoff teams. In the AFC, well, let's…

Holiday Movie Preview

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We're firmly in October now, which means we're in the final stretch for the end of the year. And to that end, we're close to some of the biggest movies of the year. Sound odd? Well, in years past the blockbusters were typically part of the summer. But in recent years, November-December has been a Blockbuster haven, too, as that's a time when people are out, free, and looking to hit the movies.

So below are six films to get excited about to close the year, three from November and three from December.

November:
Thor: Ragnarok, Friday, November 3
About: Thor isn't the most popular of the Avengers, and his stand alone movies haven't always been the best — usually ranking near the bottom of the list of Marvel Cinematic Universe films. But there's something that feels different about "Ragnarok," the third solo outing. I like the inclusion of The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and the trailers hint at a more fun and light tone.

Murder on the Orient Express, Friday, No…

Veteran TV Check In — Scandal

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The 2017-18 TV season is in full swing. While that means a lot of reviews of new shows, it's also worth checking in on some veteran shows to see how things are going. Today I'm turning that gaze to "Scandal," which kicked off its seventh and final season on Thursday night.

"Scandal" was once the crown jewel in the Shonda Rhimes empire and on ABC's weekly schedule. But its seventh season premier generated ratings that were just OK — not surprising given where it slid last season. It's fair to wonder if the show has somewhat jumped the shark given some of the ridiculous plots the past two seasons.

Knowing this is the last season, I was curious to see where it would go. Some of the actors noted that this season almost felt like a series re-boot. That, too, is easy to understand. Oliva Pope (Kerry Washington) is the Chief of Staff to the new President, Mellie Grant (Bellamy Young). Cyrus Beene (Jeff Perry), meanwhile, is the Vice President, Jake Ballar…

Now Playing

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

Stronger
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Tatiana Maslany, Miranda Richardson, and Clancy Brown
Synopsis: The tragedy of the Boston Marathon bombing is one that, even four and a half years later, sticks with us. Earlier this year, in "Patriot's Day," we saw a film version of the hunt for justice. But that's not the end of stories coming out of the events of that day. More recently we got "Stronger," which is the story of Jeff Bauman. Bauman was one of the spectators at the finish line that fateful day in 2013, waiting for his on-and-off girlfriend, Erin Hurley, to complete the race. He saw the bomber up close, and was right on top of the blast. As a result, he lost both his legs and was forced to make a long road to recovery. That's the focus of "Stronger," which debuted in limited release in September and has been expanding to more screens ever since. The film is directed by David Gordon Green, who …

NFL Picks, Week 5

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After the fourth week of the season, we finally have a little separation. I got 10 right, Lindsay got eight, so I have a scant two pick lead. Will it last? Signs point to no... Lindsay's Picks are in brackets.

NFL Picks, Week 5:
Buccaneers Over Patriots (Patriots)
Bills Over Bengals (Bills)
Jets Over Browns (Jets)
Lions Over Panthers (Lions)
Titans Over Dolphins (Dolphins)
Colts Over 49ers (Colts)
Chargers Over Giants (Giants)
Eagles Over Cardinals (Eagles)
Steelers Over Jaguars (Steelers)
Raiders Over Ravens (Ravens)
Rams Over Seahawks (Rams)
Packers Over Cowboys (Packers)
Chiefs Over Texans (Chiefs)
Vikings Over Bears (Vikings)

Last Week: 10–6
Lindsay: 8-8

Season: 39–24
Lindsay: 37-26

NFL Picks Spread, Week 5:
Buccaneers +5.5 Over Patriots
Bills -2.5 Over Bengals
Jets +1.5 Over Browns
Lions -2.5 Over Panthers
Titans -2.5 Over Dolphins
49ers +1.5 Over Colts
Chargers +3.5 Over Giants
Eagles -6.5 Over Cardinals
Steelers -8.5 Over Jaguars
Raiders -3.5 Over Ravens
Rams -2.5 Over Seahawks
Packers +1.5…

Faith in Film, Week 6

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Week 6 of Faith in Film brings a look at "Arrival," my second favorite film from 2016. It's a movie that went against expectation (and marketing) when it debuted, and one that's an even better re-watch. The film was nominated for eight Academy Awards, and won the Academy Award fro sound editing. It was a technical marvel, and a film that was a critical, popular, and commercial success.

It's also one with a rich narrative. Without saying too much about the plot twist that defines the film, it's a movie that looks at the complexity of language. It then literally shows you how important context is with a story flip that forces you to re-contextualize all that has come before. It's also a film that talks about the power of language, story, and working to understand one another, something that's not always appreciated in this world.

But the crux of the story, and the part that consistently gets to me, is the idea of free will versus determinism. And this …

Fall TV Roundup, Week 4

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The Fall TV season is in full swing. We went through a banner premier week last week, with more shows coming on line through the next five weeks. And that's exciting. In these weekly posts I look at the pilot and second episode of new scripted series this fall. Don't see a new show listed below? Check previous weeks.

Monday Nights:
9JKL, Mondays at 8:30 p.m. on CBS (Premiered October 2)
About: Woof. Sometimes you just hit a show that doesn't work for you at all. Such is "9JKL." Now, granted, I'm not a huge sitcom person, so it takes a lot for a sitcom to really connect with me. And this is a show that just didn't — not in any way. And, of course, this was one of the shows that, pre-season, I thought would be a complete flop. Nothing I saw Monday night altered that opinion. The shame of it is I like Mark Feuerstein, who is the star and creator here. And I know this is loosely based on a portion of his wife, and something he worked on with his wife, but it ju…

2017 Broncos' Season, Week 4

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The Broncos will head into their bye week 3-1, possibly with a share of first place in the AFC West.

Week 4: Broncos 16, Oakland Raiders 10
Season Record: 3-1 (3-0 Home)
Key Play: In the fourth quarter with less than two minutes left and his team trailing 16-10, Raiders' quarterback EJ Manuel was looking to drive his team for the winning touchdown. He lofted a pass down the sideline for Amari Cooper, where Broncos' safety Justin Simmons high pointed the pass for the interception, sealing the win.

Recap: Wins aren't always pretty, but they count just the same in the books. The Broncos are 3-1, but really only one of those wins came in an incredible offensive performance. Still, the team is 3-1 and hasn't played four good quarters together yet. That's saying something. And the Broncos head into their bye week in good shape, and when they come out they get another home game against the slumping New York Giants. That's followed by three straight on the road. Yes, the …

Upcoming Releases - October 2017

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We have finally made it to October, a time when we can celebrate the end of the traditional blockbuster only season and welcome in the Fall Movie Season. This is a great mix of fun holiday themed films, comedies, and giant tent poles. But it's also a time when we get some beautiful, deep, and serious films. In other words, it's the best season for movies, and October is the beginning. Much like the rest of this season, it mirrors a mix of all of the above.

Friday, October 6:
Blade Runner 2049 - Denis Villenueve is one of the incredible filmmakers working today, and I couldn't be more excited to see his take on "Blade Runner." This long awaited sequel returns star Harrison Ford, adds Ryan Gosling, and jumps the action 30 years into the future. This could be one of the coolest films of the year.

The Mountain Between Us - This film stars Kate Winslet and Idris Elba as a pair of strangers who must survive together after a plane crash strands them on a snowy mountain. I…

Kevin's Big Miss

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Last year, one of the most ballyhooed new shows was "Kevin Can Wait," a sitcom featuring the return of actor and comedian Kevin James to TV on CBS. It's a place where, with "King of Queens," he had become a star and done well for the network. And his new show started strong.

But the ratings continued to ebb down through the season. Finally, in the first season finale, the show did a bit of stunt casting and brought in Leah Remini, who starred opposite James on "King of Queens," in the hope pulling in some additional viewers. Little did viewers realize it was also the start of some behind-the-scenes work to re-tool the show.

I didn't love "Kevin Can Wait," but I watched the whole first season. It was a show that had its flaws, but also had its moments. But what I thought worked best was the fun interactions between James and his new TV wife, Erinn Hayes. That, to me, was the heart of the show.

Apparently producers felt differently or, at…