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Showing posts from July, 2017

Crafting a Legacy

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Earlier this year a film called The Last Word was released in theaters. In the film, Shirley MacLaine played a woman near the end of her life who became concerned about her legacy. She brow beat the local obituary writer (Amanda Seyfried) into writing her obituary early and, after seeing it, decided she needed to work on crafting her legacy. She wanted to change her narrative.
But that desire to craft a legacy isn’t strictly the purview of those near the end of their runs. Lukas Graham, a group fronted by a number of 20-somethings, released a song called “7 Years.” In it, they opine about time, where they’ve been, where they are and where they might end up. It is, essentially, about legacy.
And by now you’re probably totally confused. Isn’t this a Game of Thrones recap? The thing is, while watching last night’s third episode, “The Queen’s Justice,” I couldn’t help but think about the idea of legacy. It seems all the decisions being made for the past few weeks have been about the futu…

2017 Broncos Season, linebackers

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Training Camp is in full swing, and it's time to look at the roster and try to project who makes the final 53. Today it's time to look at one of the strongest units, the linebackers.

On the Roster:
* Von Miller
* Shane Ray
* Todd Davis
* Brandon Marshall
* Shaq Barrett
* Corey Nelson
* Zaire Anderson
* Vontarrius Dora
* Quentin Gause
* Deon Hollins
* Danny Mason
* Kevin Snyder
* Ken Ekanem
* Jerrol Garcia-Williams

A Look at 2016: The Broncos' linebackers are the strength of the team, but over the past few seasons it's been a war of attrition. Last year it was at middle linebacker, where Davis and Marshall are the starters, but depth is an issue. And when they both had different bouts with injury, that stretched the defense. On the outside, the same is true. The Broncos have retained the top people, but depth continues to be a issue. Meaning injuries to crucial pieces could leave the Broncos in a precarious situation. But when your position group starts with the Super Bo…

Upcoming Releases — August

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Summer is nearly over. While August is still considered a summer movie month, it features decidedly fewer blockbusters than what precedes it. Here's a look at what's coming in August.

Friday, August 4:
The Dark Tower — This highly anticipated film, based on the books from Stephen King, looks pretty good. I haven't read the books, so I don't know that much about the original story, but I've been taken with the trailer. Plus, with Idris Elba and Matthew McCounaghey, this looks good.

Detroit — This film comes at an interesting time. It looks at police violence during a time of race-related turbulence in our country. It feels especially relevant to our current political climate, sadly.

Kidnap — This film stars Halle Berry as a woman whose son is kidnapped, so she decides to take it upon herself to get him back. It looks like the kind of movies dumped this time of year.

Wind River — This limited feature comes from Taylor Sheridan, writer of "Hell or High Water" a…

2017 Broncos Season, Running Backs

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Training Camp has begun, and the first official game of the 2017 season, the Hall of Fame game, we're tantalizingly close to football. In the meantime, I'll be deep diving through position groups. I've already looked at wide receivers, defensive line, and quarterbacks. Today it's time to look at those who are charged with carrying the rock. In this case, I'm lumping tailbacks and fullbacks together.

On The Roster:
* CJ Anderson
* Jamaal Charles
* Devontae Booker
* DeAngelo Henderson (Rookie)
* Juwan Thompson
* Andy Janovich
* Stevan Ridley
*Bernard Pierce

A Look at 2016: By any metric, the Broncos' ground game was lacking in 2016. As a team, the Broncos ran for 1,484 yards, 11 TDs and a 3.6 yard per carry average. That wasn't sufficient to be a solid offense. What made it worse was the promise this time last year. Anderson came in off a big free agent contract, and Booker was a hot and promising rookie. Anderson played lights out in the premier, but suffered…

Now Playing

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

Dunkirk
Starring: Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, Fionn Whitehead, and Harry Styles
Synopsis: I have long been a fan of director Christopher Nolan and the unique perspective he brings to his films. He burst onto the scene in 2000 with “Memento,” a time-bending film that caught many people’s attention. But he’s probably best known for his take on Batman, the “Dark Knight” trilogy, that began in 2005. But those who only know him from his Batman movies are missing some of his rare gift and genius. Nolan is also responsible for films like “Inception,” “Interstellar” and “The Prestige,” which bend stories and techniques, creating rich worlds that stick with viewers long after the cameras stop rolling. In that sense, “Dunkirk” might be his most conventional film. Nolan, born in the United Kingdom, doubtless has great affection for the crucial World War II mission that helped save the British Army and inspired a nation during a time…

Best of the Small Screen, Dramas No. 5

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Over the next 5 weeks I'll be taking a look at some of my favorite TV series, broken down into three groups (Limited Run Series, Comedies, and Dramas). In my post on March 1 I laid out the ground rules for these categories and this exploration, the biggest of which is no series that are currently airing. To read the whole thing, check out the post "Best of the Small Screen" from March 1.

Today I continue with a series that defined a large chunk of my life.

ER (1994-2009)
Number of Seasons/Episodes: 15/331
Network: NBC
Starring: Anthony Edwards, George Clooney, Juliana Margulies, Noah Wyle, Laura Innes, Maura Tierney, Eriq La Salle, Sherry Stringfield and Alex Kingston
Created By: Michael Crichton
Favorite Season/Episodes: 1.01 "24 Hours," 1.10 "Blizzard," 1.19 "Love's Labor Lost," 2.07 "Hell or High Water," 6.13 "Be Still My Heart," 6.14 "All in the Family," 8.20 "The Letter," 8.21 "On the Beach,&q…

Summer TV Roundup, Week 11

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Can you believe July is almost over? Where did the summer go? NFL training camps are beginning and we're about two months from the new fall season. But that doesn't mean there's not new shows. There are. Both on network, cable, and the seemingly unending number of streaming services out there. This is Peak TV. 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.

Monday Nights:
Loaded, Mondays at 10 p.m. on AMC (Premiered July 17)
About:
This series, an import from across the pond, basically takes four tech nerds who hit it big with an app, make a mint, and then try to figure out what to do next. It has been likened to what would happen if our core group from "Silicon Valley" ever achieved success. That might be a fair concept comparison, but the cast and characters here aren't strong enough. While I enjoy Mary McCormick as the no-nonsense American CEO who co…

Epic Clashes and Tender Moments

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Can there really only be five episodes of Game of Thrones left this year? Can there really only be 11 episodes left ever? It feels like the story is just getting so good, but also that there is so much left to do.

That’s why the show can’t take its foot off the gas, even for a moment. Even in a quieter episode, like “Stormborn,” the show had to accelerate the pace. In seasons past, the episode would have raised the stakes and tension, and let you sit with it for a week. But in this brave new world, as we hurtle toward a conclusion, even an expository episode like “Stormborn” contains an epic action set piece.

I am part of a fantasy football league full of Thrones fans, and where each team represents a great house. As part of our process for setting draft order, we make predictions about the show. Last year, it was about what would happen in the finale. This year, due to the timing of the season, it was about what would happen in the first four episodes. Given the previous patterns of…

Remembering Chester

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"I tried so hard and got so far But in the end, it doesn't even matter I had to fall to lose it all But in the end, it doesn't even matter" - In The End, Linkin Park
This week it was announced that Chester Bennington, lead singer for Linkin Park, had died. He took his own life, which is a tragedy, and has led to a lot of discussion and reflection. Suicide is awful for everyone. It's the last resort of those who see no hope for the future. And it can be deeply painful for friends, family, and loved ones. If you are feeling lost and alone, please get help.
In addition to feeling sad, I've been reflecting on Linkin Park, a band I've loved for more than a decade. Their first album, Hybrid Theory, was released in October 2000, and it wasn't long before I began hearing their songs. One of my favorite songs of all time is "In The End," the song quoted above. It still is, and I think always will be.
In college, I listened to Linkin Park all the time, s…

2017 Broncos Season, Quarterbacks

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We're on the cusp of a new season, so it's time to deep dive into the Broncos' roster. Today I continue my look with quarterbacks.

On The Roster:
* Trevor Siemian
* Paxton Lynch
* Chad Kelly (Rookie)
* Kyle Sloter (Rookie)

A Look at 2016: It was a year of transition for the Broncos after Peyton Manning retired. And it showed. Mark Sanchez looked to be the starter when camp began, but by the end of camp Sanchez was a Cowboy and seventh round pick Siemian took the starting gig. In 14 starts, he accumulate 3,401 yards, 18 TDs and 10 INTs. Not bad for a guy few expected much from. First round pick Lynch started a pair of games, looking very much like a rookie as he threw for 497 yards, 2 TDs and an INT. Many blamed the inexperience at quarterback for the offensive struggles, but that seems a little too easy.

What Changes in 2017: Aside from drafting Kelly as Mr. Irrelevant, and signing Sloter as an undrafted rookie, the Broncos didn't change the position group. But former of…

The Films of Christopher Nolan

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On Friday, Christopher Nolan’s latest film, “Dunkirk,” was released in theaters. It’s gotten incredible reviews, and some are even labeling it as the best film of the year. It’s the ninth feature film relased. While most know him for his work on the Dark Knight trilogy, and for lending his name to the “Justice League” brand, Nolan has a diverse resume of films.
Below, I looked at his previous eight films and ranked them from least to most favorite. Disagree? Have a comment? Hit me up. And be sure to check out these Nolan films before or after seeing “Dunkirk.” It’s more than worth it.
No. 8 Memento (2000)
About:
This was Nolan’s first feature film, and I like it OK, but to me it pales in comparison to his later work. The real hook here is the format (the film is told backwards). The story is OK, and you can see some of the traits that make him a good filmmaker, but I felt like the gimmick of the film’s style overshadowed a lot here. Even a mediocre Nolan film is wonderful, though, so g…

Now Playing

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

Baby Driver
Starring: Ansel Elgort, Jon Hamm, Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, Lily James, Elza Gonzales
Synopsis: This is the latest from director Edgar Wright, and it's unlike anything he's done before. This is a high-octane action film full of great car chases, tense moments, a kicking sound track and a fun romance between Baby (Elgort), a get away driver, and Debora (James), a diner waitress. It's a story that goes in ways you don't expect and features some unbelievable driving sequences and style. This has been one of the hits of summer, and it's one of the best movies of the year so far. The final act felt a little cliche and a little less interesting, but I loved the very ending and the way the film was put together. This is a heck of a ride, and one well worth seeing on the big screen.
Rating: R for violence and language throughout. Enter with caution.
Verdict: Four stars out of four.

The Big Sick
Starring: Kumail Nan…

Best of the Small Screen, Dramas No. 6

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Over the next 6 weeks I'll be taking a look at some of my favorite TV series, broken down into three groups (Limited Run Series, Comedies, and Dramas). In my post on March 1 I laid out the ground rules for these categories and this exploration, the biggest of which is no series that are currently airing. To read the whole thing, check out the post "Best of the Small Screen" from March 1.

Today I continue my countdown with another one from Damon Lindelof

The Leftovers (2014-2017)
Number of Seasons/Episodes: 3/28
Network: HBO
Starring: Justin Theroux, Carrie Coon, Christopher Eccleston, Amy Brenneman, Ann Dowd, John Carroll, and Scott Glenn
Creator: Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta
Favorite Season/Episodes: Season Three, 1.03 "Two Boats and a Helicopter," 1.06 "Guest," 2.10 "I Live Here Now," 3.02 "Don't Be Ridiculous," 3.06 "Certified," and 3.08 "The Book of Nora"
About: I've written a few times about the import…

Summer TV Roundup, Week 10

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We're deep in the midst of summer and new shows continue to flood the market. In these weekly posts I look at the pilot and second episode of new scripted shows this summer. Don't see a new show listed below? Check previous weeks.

Monday Nights:
Loaded, Mondays at 10 p.m. on AMC (Premiered July 17)
About: Ever wondered what would happen if the guys from "Silicon Valley" ever hit it big? Well, that's essentially what "Loaded" is all about. Four friends who developed an App together have just sold it for big money. But that doesn't mean everything is going smooth. Now they have to navigate the choppy waters of being successful web developers. The show comes from England, and the first episode featured stories about cars, buying stuff, and fending off a lawsuit. There's some potential here and the stars are likable enough. But I wasn't really sold on the characters or the story.
Pilot Grade: C

Tuesday Nights:
The Bold Type, Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on Fr…

Setting Up the Chessboard

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“Game of Thrones” is back. We’ve waited over a year to be able to say that, and it feels so good. Spoilers Below! If you haven’t seen episode 7.01, “Dragonstone” do that before proceeding.

Now that’s out of the way, let’s begin. The finale of season six, “Winds of Winter,” was an all-time classic episode. It’s one of the best in the show’s run (I had it No. 3), so that is what people were likely waiting for when the new season premiered. But that’s setting the bar a touch too high for a premier episode.

“Game of Thrones” typically has somewhat of a rythmn. Finales are about wrapping up loose ends and making sure we know where everyone sits. Of course, the last finale also featured a lot of action, but typically that’s been the pattern. Premiers are about setting up the chess board and moving the pieces into place. That was the case with “Dragonstone,” an episode that began with a lot of action but quickly settled into a familiar pattern.

Retribution
When last we saw Arya (Maisie Willi…

Winter Is Here

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The day has finally arrived, as “Game of Thrones” launches its highly anticipated seventh season tonight at 9 p.m. EST on HBO. Fans of the show have had some extra time to kill this year as the season was pushed from a normal spring starting time to mid-July.

Many have re-watched the previous six seasons and 60 episodes (sometimes more than once). I did, too! And in preparation for the launch of tonight’s penultimate season, here’s a look at the 10 best episodes of the series so far. Here’s the list in ascending order:

10. “The Dance of Dragons,” 5.09 (aired June 7, 2017)
About: This is, of course, a devastating episode to watch. Most will remember it for the horrible sequence when Stannis burned, or rather allowed his daughter to burn. That was one of the top five worst things I’ve seen on this show. So why then, you might ask, is this episode on the list? Well, the episode comes around with a stunning conclusion to the tensions in Mereen with the Sons of the Harpy. When Drogon enters…

Emmy Reactions

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On Thursday, the best of TV was recognized as the Emmy Nominations were announced. At least that's what it's supposed to be. Far too often, the best shows and performers get overlooked.

Today I'm going to look at nominations I liked, and some notable snubs.

The Good:
* Stranger Things made a big impression. Though it was released a year ago, the show has proved to have staying power. It got a nod as best drama series and a slew of other nominations, including an acting nomination for Millie Bobbie Brown. That makes me happy, seeing her work recognized.

* A strong field of dramas. I don't care of "This Is Us," and I certainly wouldn't have it in this competition, but there are some worthy competitors. I am happy to see "Westworld," "The Crown" and "The Handmaid's Tale" get some Emmy love, and it will be interesting to see who rises to the top in a year "Thrones" isn't eligible.

* I was glad to see "Unbre…

What Can We Expect from Blake Bortles?

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It’s summer. The days are hot and long, and fantasy football players have too much idle time. We use it to pause, reflect and dream of what might be. It’s also a time to take stock of potential assets and what their value might be.

Today I turn my gaze down to Jacksonville and quarterback Blake Bortles. Try to contain your enthusiasm. Bortles has never been a football fan’s dream (just ask people in Jacksonville), but at one time he was a dream fantasy football asset.

At this time last year, people were planning where they’d take Bortles. He was an attractive prospect as a fantasy starter. But something happened along the way. Now, his fantasy value is starting to mirror his NFL value, and that’s not a good thing.

But hope springs eternal in the summer, so is there reason for optimism for Bortles?

Bortles was taken with the third pick in the 2014 draft and became a hope for the future of the Jaguars franchise. That first season he began on the bench as Chad Henne took the starters ro…