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Showing posts from August, 2017

Upcoming Releases — September, 2017

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Summer has slipped away, as has the summer movie season. The Fall Movie season really doesn't pick up until October, so where does that leave us when it comes to this month? Well, September is kind of a mixed bag, as you'll see below.

Friday, September 8:
IT — The newest version of Stephen King's classic novel has kids terrorized by a clown (pictured above, you're welcome). Frankly, you had me at clown. This is supposed to be incredibly scary. I don't want to see it, but I know I will...
Home Again — This is a new romantic comedy with Reese Witherspoon, and it looks in trailers like it wants to be a James L. Brooks movie in the worst way. This will be a nice alternative to "IT" though.

Friday, September 15:
American Assassin — This film, starring Michael Keaton as a CIA trainer and Dylan O'Brien as the wounded soul who becomes his latest trainee. This looks like a an interesting premise with a good cast.
Mother! — Darren Aronofsky's latest looks like w…

Faith in Film, Week 1

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Tonight we kick off our 10 week journey through movies together, and I couldn't be more excited. I have a passion for watching films and digging into the worldview and lessons presented, and I love sharing that passion with others. That's what we're doing through the next 10 weeks together.

And that begins with "The Peanuts Movie," which was released in 2015. "The Peanuts Movie" is based on the long-running characters created by Charles Schulz in 1950 for his daily comic strip. The strip ran until February 13, 2000, one day after his death. Schulz produced 17,897 comic strips for The Peanuts, and it's been an iconic part of American culture for decades.

Beginning in the 1960s, the Peanuts expanded to TV specials, staring with "A Charlie Brown Christmas" in 1965, a personal favorite. Though some have debated Schulz' faith, in 2013 his widow stated that his faith was deep and complicated. Many have seen religious themes in his work, and…

Summer TV Roundup, Week 16

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The new Fall Season kicks off next week, with "American Horror Story," "The Orville," and "The Deuce" all kicking off. So the summer TV cycle is finally over. But before it ends, the streaming services are continuing to drop new series. 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.

Streaming Series:
Disjointed, Now Streaming on Netflix (Premiered August 25)
About: This is the latest series from producer Chuck Lorre, the man responsible for "The Big Bang Theory," "Two and a Half Men," and many other CBS sitcom staples. More and more creators, including big network TV producers, are moving over to streaming series. It will be interesting to see how this trend works, and what it means for content production moving forward. That being said, this show is a dog. If you love Lorre's comedies (I don't), then maybe this is for y…

The Long Night Begins

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And now we wait. That was all I could think as I tried to calm down and watch the closing credits. The penultimate season of Game of Thrones is in the books, and while it might not have been all we’d hoped for, it was never dull. We have just six episodes left, and plenty of big moments still to come. The question is when that season will come.
All we know for sure is production begins in October, and the show is “likely” not to return until 2019. It’s gonna be a long 18 months for fans. But at the same time, I’m not sure I want this ride to end, especially after an emotional and revelatory season like the one we just had. But enough about the future (at least for now), and on to the present.
All season I’ve recapped episodes done a deep dive on what we saw and what stood out to me. Has this been the best Game of Thrones season? No. Has it been a good season? I say yes, and I know that’s controversial. I, like many, am a super fan that borders on obsessive in theorizing, reading and …

2017 Broncos' Season, Pre-Season Week 3

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There's nothing like my annual trek to Mile High for a Broncos game, especially when they win.

Pre-Season Week 3: Broncos 20, Green Bay Packers 17
Pre-Season Record: 3-0 (1-0 Home)
Key Play: In the third quarter with time running down and the Broncos nursing a 13-10 lead, rookie third string QB Kyle Sloter took the field and connected with Hunter Sharp on a 21-yard TD strike to make the score 20-10. The Broncos held on to win.

Recap: You play to win the game. From that standpoint, the Broncos are killing the pre-season. But in the pre-season, you also want to see improvement and correcting issues, and you want to stay healthy. That part's not going so good. The Broncos allowed the Packers to make some big runs, which is an issue. The Broncos also struggled to block. Both CJ Anderson and DeAngelo Henderson had big runs of 16 yards, but also a lot of carries getting hit early or in the backfield. And both Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch got hit plenty, too. That's not great. Pe…

Death is the Enemy

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"Game of Thrones" has long been my favorite show on TV. It's daring, it's built a fascinating world, and I've come to be deeply invested in the characters. But I readily acknowledge it doesn't align with my worldview.

Sometimes, as in Sundays episode, it keeps me thinking about exchanges and interactions for long periods after they're over. One such circumstance was Sunday, as Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) and Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer), had a conversation about the real enemy.

For the past two seasons, we've seen Jon struggle. Some have suggested that Jon is depressed. Maybe that's true. But I also feel like Jon is lost. He doesn't understand. He did what he thought was good and what he thought was right. And he was killed for it. Then he was brought back by something he doesn't understand, and seemingly forced to keep fighting.

In some ways, it was beautifully beneficial for Jon to run across Beric, a man who'd also been brought …

Player Profile: Trevor Siemian

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Every summer we enter NFL training camps with some high-profile battles. For the second summer in a row, Trevor Siemian has entered the Denver Broncos’ training camp in a battle to be the starter. And for the second year in a row, he’s been named the winner.
Siemian was an afterthought in the 2015 NFL draft. Denver got him in the seventh round, at Pick No. 250, and there wasn’t much expected. Siemian came into camp off a knee injury suffered at Northwestern, and he wasn’t exactly a highly touted NFL prospect before the injury. Still, Broncos’ coach Gary Kubiak liked what he saw, and decided to take Siemian as a project.
He spent that first year as the third quarterback after impressing in camp. He was behind Peyton Manning, a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and Brock Osweiler, who is famous for another reason, as the Broncos rode the wave to the Super Bowl 50 title.
Then in the off-season Manning retired, Osweiler signed with the Houston Texans (sorry guys, I know that still hurts), and …

Now Playing

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

The Hitman's Bodyguard
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Elodie Yung, Selma Hayek, and Gary Oldman
Synopsis: Once you get to a certain point August you know that the summer season, for all intents and purposes, the great films have gone. We hit that point realistically a couple weeks ago. And from now until about the beginning of October, we hit a slow period where the Box Office amounts decline in proportion to the quality of the films. Which doesn’t mean there’s nothing to get excited about. Even in the slowest period there’s diamonds in the rough. Or, at the very least, there’s films that entertain. “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” fits that mold perfectly. Featuring Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson in the lead roles, it isn’t a deep or complex movie. But it’s got a decent story, good performances, some strong character building, solid action sequences and plenty of laughs. At the end of a long week in the dog days of summe…

Best of the Small Screen, Drama No. 1

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Over the past 25 weeks I've been 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, it all ends with my No. 1 drama (at least until "Game of Thrones" ends its run).

The Wire (2002-2008)
Number of Seasons/Episodes: 5/60
Network: HBO
Starring: Dominic West, Wendell Pierce, Lance Reddick, Michael Kenneth Williams, John Doman, Clarke Peters, Sonja Sohn, Jim True-Frost, and Andre Royo
Creator(s): David Simon
Favorite Episodes/Season: Season 4; 3.11 "Middle Ground," 3.12 "Mission Accomplished," 4.13 "Final Grades"
About: Simon is a great writer who has a knack for capturing important stories in life. He created "Homicide: Life …

Summer TV Roundup, Week 15

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September is achingly close, and that means the fall TV season. But before we get there, networks and streaming services are still providing a flood of new content. 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:
Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on HBO (Premiered August 8)
About: "Hard Knocks" is the original football documentary series, following a different NFL team through training camp, pre-season, and cutdowns each year. This is the 12th iteration, and this year we get the 2017 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I love the series for the inside look it gives to the life of an NFL team, and gets you hyped for the NFL season. But as a piece of entertainment, it really lives and dies on the players it finds to follow and connect with. Unfortunately for HBO, this Bucs team doesn't seem to have a lot of personality or …

The Real War Begins

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There’s a tradition in Game of Thrones around the penultimate episode. And it’s something all long-time viewers and fans know to be weary of. Think of “Baelor,” “The Rains of Castemere,” “The Dance of Dragons,” or “Battle of the Bastards.” People talked about it as being weary of the ninth episode of the season, but it’s really because it’s the penultimate outing.
Season seven of Game of Thrones doesn’t have nine episodes. It will only run for seven episodes. But the showrunners haven’t forgotten about the penultimate episode. “Beyond the Wall,” the penultimate episode of this shortened season, delivered another classic in the cannon of the show. And, much like other penultimate episodes, it was at turns thrilling and heart-breaking.
Earlier this Spring I saw the image above of an ice dragon. It was beautiful and captivating, and something that I couldn’t let go. At one point I even named one of my Fantasy Football dynasty league teams the Ice Dragons. But the question was whether we…

2017 Broncos Season, Pre-Season Week 2

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The Broncos are 2-0 this pre-season, but there are still plenty of questions to answer.

Pre-Season Week 2: Broncos 33, San Francisco 49ers 14
Pre-Season Record: 2-0 (0-0 Home)
Key Play: In the first half, with time winding down, Trevor Siemian connected with Jordan Taylor on a 17-yard pass for a touchdown to push the score to 20-0 before the half.

Recap: The Denver Broncos got a win in their second pre-season game and, more importantly, might have gotten some clarity and direction in their most pressing area of concern, who will start at quarterback. Paxton Lynch started on Saturday night, going 9-for-13 for 39 yards, and rushing three times for 27 yards. On the surface, that doesn't seem too bad. But if you watched, you'd have seen a young quarterback who struggled with some decision making, had trouble with accuracy on throws down the field, and frequently panicked in dumping the ball off or running. That's not great. What compounded matters was that Trevor Siemian came in…

Player Profile: Jay Cutler

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Well, we’re finally to the pre-season, and real football is right around the corner. And by real football, I mean the official Fantasy Football season. I mean, come on, that’s what we’re all here for anyway, right?

But before we get there, we have to survive camp and pre-season. And in terms of fantasy, that means trying to recover from crippling injuries. One of those came when Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill — already working his way back from a knee injury that ended last season early — took an awkward step and re-injured his knee. He’s now had ACL surgery and is out for the season.

That instantly left folks wondering what the Dolphins would do. Would they turn to Matt Moore, a well-paid backup who was serviceable to end 2016, including a playoff start. Would the Dolphins consider Colin Kaepernick, whose talent on the field seems to get lost in the off-the-field stories. Or would they sign Jay Cutler, the 34-year-old who seemed set to move to the booth but had worked with Dolphins coac…

2017 Broncos Season, Week 2 Expectations

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The Broncos head into the second week of the pre-season on Saturday against the San Francisco 49ers with plenty of questions to answer. They've also spent the past few days in joint practices, which is always a chance to measure yourself against other teams.

As we head into this second pre-season game, it's time to consider what we need to see in this second game, or at least what we'd like to see.

* Someone taking control in the quarterback race. It's Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch, and the first game didn't offer anything concrete. It seems like Siemian has taken the lead in practices, and if Lynch doesn't shine in the game, the Broncos could, and should, make a decision. It will help the team to have a decision made.

* Improvement on both lines. Allen Barbre has gotten run with the ones this week, and may do the same in the game. Clearly, the Broncos' offensive line needs to play better. So, too, does the defensive line, which has been really banged up…

Best Movies of Summer

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Technically summer (both the season and Box Office cycle) is still going. But, let's face it, the big blockbusters have come and gone. Now is a fitting time to take a moment, step back, and hail the best of summer. Below is my favorite films from this summer season, which also happen to be some of the best of the year so far.

Blockbusters:
* Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 (May 5): It's easy to forget this now, since it's almost September, but summer kicked off with this sequel to the best of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and it was awesome. The soundtrack was great. The performances were great. The film was a fitting follow-up, albeit not quite topping the original.

* Wonder Woman (June 2): It's been rough for DC as they've tried to create their own cinematic universe. They have some great heroes and properties, but they hadn't really made the most of them in their new cinematic universe. That is until Patty Jenkins saved the day with "Wonder Woman," w…

Best of the Small Screen, No. 2

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Over the next 2 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.

Getting close to the top, and really, this one could have had that spot.

The West Wing (1999-2006)
Number of Seasons/Episodes: 7/155
Network: NBC
Starring: Martin Sheen, Bradley Whitford, Allison Janney, John Spencer, Richard Schiff, Dule Hill, Rob Lowe, Joshua Malina, and Stockard Channing
Creator: Aaron Sorkin
Favorite Season/Episodes: Season 1, 7; 1.01 "Pilot," 1.10 "In Excelsis Deo," 1.22 "What Kind of Day Has It Been," 2.01-2.02 "In The Shadow of Two Gunmen," 2.22 "Two Cathedrals," 3.21 "Posse Comitatus," 4.23 "Twenty Five&…

Summer TV Roundup, Week 14

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We're nearly to September, which means the fall TV Season. But before we get there, we have a few more weeks of summer, and that includes more new TV shows. 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.

Tuesday Nights:
Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on HBO (Premiered August 8)
About: This sports anthology series is in its 12th season, but each year is new because it follows a different team. We have had two other sports documentaries air this summer ("All or Nothing" on Amazon and "Last Chance U" on Netflix), but "Hard Knocks" is always the most anticipated lead-in to the NFL season. But it can be made or broken on how interesting the players and coaches are. Unfortunately in the season premier, it looks like there isn't much to work with in Tampa Bay. Dirk Koetter is by all accounts a good co…