Friday, May 30, 2008

Penny's Boat

I have always been a fan of the show Lost. Even through it's rough second season, I still had hope - and actually still enjoyed the episodes. But, I never realized just how good a plan can actually start to come together.

The producers of the show were treading water during the shows second season, and possibly the third. They weren't exactly sure just how long this show would last - so some of the stories were stretched, and things sort of slowed down.

Then came the end date. ABC executives and the Lost producers came together and decided just how long the show will run, and when the last episode would air. And then there was closure. The producers could finally map out their vision - and their vision has truly become amazing.

Last night's fourth season finale answered some of the most intriguing questions that have developed - Who was in the coffin? Are those that didn't leave still alive? How did Ben arrive in the Middle East? How exactly did the Oceanic 6 get off the island? - but of course, more questions were made - and we now have to wait until January of February until the start of season five.

Below is my review of the season finale, and season four in general. For those not wishing to learn anything about the show - might be best to stop reading.

"There's No Place Like Home (2-3)". Last night's episode was a combination of two that finished off what started two weeks ago.

The most important pieces to this finale were 1) The Orchid Station 2) The Freighter 3) The Flash Forward.

The Orchid Station appears to be some sort of time machine. Ben leads Locke deep into the islands core, telling him that he has to go someplace cold to save the island, and they he could never return again.

This is how Ben ends up in the Middle East. He goes into this deep hole behind the Orchid Station and turns what looks to be a sideways boat steering wheel. By doing so, the island vanishes and Ben is whisked to where we find him in the future - in some Middle Eastern country.

On the freighter, however, Michael has decided to try and keep the bomb cold in hoping it could delay the inevitable. Just as the helicopter (carrying Jack, Sun, Aaron, Kate, Lupidus and Hurley) lands Desmond forces them to take off again - leaving both Jin and Michael behind.

We learn that the bomb is actually connected to Kearny's heart rate. If he dies, the boat will explode. So of course he eggs Ben on about killing his daughter (before the island disappears), and Ben jumps out and stabs him in the neck about three times. Locke does all he can to keep him - and those on the freighter - alive, but he can't. Just as the bomb is about to go off, Christian is shown in front of Michael. There is something going on there, obviously, but I wouldn't be surprised if neither Michael nor Jin are actually dead - despite the bomb destroying the freighter.

Those on the helicopter are heading back to the island just as it disappears. With no place to go, the helicopter loses fuel and crashes into the ocean. Everyone survives and are bobbing along on a life raft, when a boat is discovered. This time it actually is Penny's boat.

This is when Jack actually starts to listen to Locke. Thanks to the miracle he proclaimed, Jack starts to believe and carries out his wishes. To save those on the island, those the Oceanic 6 must lie about what happened on the island. So that is how they landed on that other island - they left Penny's boat together and went there on purpose to be rescued.

At least we now know that most, if not all, of everyone else is still alive. And, more people did survive and got off of the island - Desmond and Lapidus.

The Flash Forwards were a continuation of last season's season finale, where Jack is basically insane and trying to get Kate to go back to the island.

Things we find out, though, is that Sayid has busted Hurley out of the insane asylum; Kate is having dreams about Claire; Ben tells Jack that in order for them to go back to the island - everyone must go back, including the person who is in the coffin ------ non other than Mr. Locke himself.

A fitting finale to a very exciting thrill ride to a season. Like I said, now that there is an end in sight - the Lost people certainly have a guide to their remaining seasons.

I wish, however, that we didn't have to wait so long, but I guess that is television nowadays.

I am very anxious to see if/how those who got off the island get back to the island. Who exactly survived that is still on the island. How Locke got off, and died. So many unanswered questions - the rest of the season's have a lot to answer, it should be a fun ride.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

New Title, New Blog

Hey fans (all six of you it appears), thanks for voting on my poll. The poll officially closed today at 10 a.m. so I have changed the name of the blog to Kano's Kogitation.

This title won over Kano's Ramblings 4-2. Again thanks for voting. I am sure to have more polls up in the future, so keep a look out.

Also, I would like to apologize for not getting my Top 10 done on Tuesday as I had initially said I would be doing from now on. I admit, the 3-day weekend truly screwed me up, so I kept thinking that Tuesday was Monday. I didn't realize until it was too late. So I am thinking there will be no Top 10 this week - but it shall return next Tuesday.

Yesterday I took Erika to the dentist to get her wisdom teeth out. I figured I would be there for at least an hour, and she would pretty much be out of it for most of the day. Well, it took about 30 minutes and when I pulled the car around to get her - she was sitting up and talking with the nurse.

I thought the worst. I had witnessed two other patients stumbling alongside their driver to their cars. And when I was told to pull around to the back, I figured she must be in the same state. But, she was up and talking - I didn't find out 'til later in the day that she was still not 100% with it - as she listened to the nurse and asked questions, but had no recollection of this later.

This reminded me of the day that I got my wisdom teeth out. It was my freshman year of college, and I got gassed (apparently Erika was put out by an IV). My mom said that I when I woke up I was pretty out of it, constantly smiling and making jokes.

I didn't have that big of an issue with them - I had really puffy cheeks, I bled for awhile and had some minor bruising. I did have to go back to get checked because my mouth took forever stop hurting so I could eat normally.

Things appeared to have gone a lot better for her, thank goodness. She is definitely a trooper. We went to Wal-Mart immediately after her surgery and picked up her drugs, plus some other things we needed to get. Even though I guess she technically wasn't all the way into things yet, I couldn't even tell.

Things are pretty busy at work right now - I have to get this estimate finished by Friday, so my blogs might not be as interesting. If, however, I am able to stay up tonight and watch the Lost finale, I might be able to blog about that tomorrow. We shall see.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Quick Rant: Tim Duncan

I have been an NBA fan for a long time, basically since the end of the Pistons dynasty and the beginning of the Bulls.

In my opinion, Tim Duncan is the greatest power forward of all-time. Now, if you put Bill Russell in today's game - he would most likely be considered a power forward, but in his day he was a center, so that is where he should be. Also, Duncan has the size to be considered a center as well, but for most of his career he has always played next to a center, whether that be David Robinson, Rasho Nesterovic or Frabricio Oberto.

Duncan is probably the most fundamentally sound player in the NBA, even earning the nickname "The Big Fundamental" from Shaquille O'Neal. He has led the Spurs to four NBA championships in 1999, 2003, 2005 and 2007.

I have been watching the playoffs, on and off, and two things that have really been bugging me about Tim Duncan is this: he shows absolutely no emotion and he complains on every play.

Basketball to Duncan appears to be a job. I would love for a reporter to ask him if he actually enjoys playing the game. It's obvious he is excellent at it, so of course he does it - and makes a ton of money doing it. But on a few occasions last night, when his teammates made a strong play or whatever, they showed emotion (screaming, chest bumps, etc.) - Duncan did not.

And the most annoying thing, Duncan complains on every play. For as good as he is, he thinks he must be even better. If he misses a shot - he must have gotten fouled. If he commits a foul - he didn't even touch him. It's disgusting really - and in my opinion truly tarnishes his legacy. Sure, star players complain about calls - but not every single one.

You've been in the league forever, Tim. You have four championships, plus I am sure a couple more in your future. You can go down as arguably the best power forward in NBA history. Stop complaining - or at least put a smile on your face.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Movie Booms I

I must say that the total lack of television on now, thanks to most of the seasons being completed, I have found some extra time to dive into some movies I have been longing to see.

I posted a review of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull on Saturday, but I was also able to catch four other movies during this extended weekend.

Things started off on Saturday, when on one of the movie channels I noticed that Next was about to start (I am one of those people that can't watch a movie he has never seen, unless it's from start to finish), so I decided to record it and watch it when Kasey went up for his nap.

Next stars Nicolas Cage, Julianne Moore and Jessica Biel. Cage is Cris Johnson, a Las Vegas magician who just might be the real thing. Johnson has this ability to see into the future - but only two minutes ahead and only things involving himself.

The only occurrence of him seeing further into the future involves Liz Cooper (Biel), whom Johnson believes is part of his destiny.

The FBI, however, led by Callie Ferris (Moore) is trying to lure Johnson into helping them find and stop a group of bombers. Johnson, though, just wants to remain normal and resists - until Cooper is kidnapped by the bombers.

I was actually pretty interested in the film, Cage is always hit or miss with me, and he was pretty tolerable here - I was not too impressed with Moore as the FBI agent, however. The movie flowed pretty well - that is until the ending, which I felt ended much too soon. It was a pretty interesting play of events, but I was looking for me.

I would have to give this movie a 3/5 thanks to the disappointing ending.

Sunday night I managed to finally watch a movie I had been interested in seeing since it was in theaters.

The Kingdom revolves around a single incident in Saudi Arabia that involves two U.S. government agents. The agents, who had been stationed at a Saudi Arabian base, were killed when a bomb went off.

The movie stars Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman and Chris Cooper. Foxx plays Ronald Fleury, who without permission, sneaks himself and three other members of his team into Saudi Arabia to help track down the culprits behind the bombing.

Once there, however, the crew is not allowed to touch anything or go anywhere without supervision - until Fleury gets permission from one of the local princes.

It's hard to explain this movie without truly giving something away, so I will just say that the movie has a lot of action - a few squeamish scenes - and the acting is pretty top-notch. Bateman plays Adam Leavitt, and his character gives some much needed comedy to a very dramatic situation. I give the film a 4/5.

The third movie of the weekend was more of a television movie. I had actually heard that this movie was going to be on during an interview on The Mike O'Meara Show and thought it might be worth a look.

Recount premiered on HBO during the weekend. It stars Kevin Spacey, Ed Begley Jr., Tom Wilkinson, John Hurt, Denis Leary and Laura Dern.

The film is about the 2000 presidential election year between Al Gore and George W. Bush. I have never been a very political person, but this proved to be a very interesting movie.

The entire movie is focused on the state of Florida during the election, a state that proved to give the election - and the presidency - to Bush. Spacey stars as Ron Klain, an attorney for the Gore campaign, who trying everything in his power to find out the correct results of the election.

For those who might not remember, the state of Florida had a series of issues when it came to it's election. A handful of people, believing they were voting for Gore, accidentally voted for Pat Buchanon. Other votes were cast, with what is called a hanging chad (or a punch that didn't go all the way through).

Thanks to this, many votes for Gore were uncounted and thus gave Bush the presidency. There were so many twists and turns to this situation - which basically all came down to the decision of Florida's secretary of state, Katherine Harris (Dern), who decided not to count those that were uncounted. Harris is a Republican - perhaps that had something to do with it.

Like I said I am not too political, but this movie certainly had me enthralled. Imagine what could have been? Would we be in the situation we are now if Gore would have won? Very interesting. My lone complaint is I was hoping the filmmakers would have interviewed the actual lawyers and participants on the two campaigns. I was very interested to hear what say James Baker (Wilkinson) had to say about Bush now - eight year later. Nevertheless, I still give this movie a 4/5.

The final movie I was able to watch this weekend was Breach starring Ryan Phillippe, Chris Cooper. Laura Linney, Gary Cole and Dennis Haysburt.

Phillippe is Eric O'Neill, an upstart in the FBI, who is given his first real assignment as an agent. He is to work for, and investigate, Robert Hanssen (Cooper), an intense, religious, computer intelligence officer.

Hanssen has supposedly been selling off American secrets to the Russians for years, and before his retirement in two months, the FBI is looking to bust him. Phillippe is forced to outwit one of the most intelligent officers he has ever met - and actually begins to like him.

This movie was based on a true story. Hanssen is reportedly the worst spy in the history of the United States. The capturing of Hanssen was the one and only assignment for
O'Neill, as he decided to pursue law after the long ordeal.

Breach was an interesting movie which kept me involved, but it didn't have much action - and the 'spy games' used in it weren't as involved as I would have liked. However, it was a good watch so I give it a 3/5.

There you have it - hopefully there will be more of these Movie Booms throughout the summer - as I try to get caught up on the many movies I want to see.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

(For a different point of view, please Click Here)

You are in luck. I actually have both the time and a functional computer to write a blog review of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

It's been nearly 20 years since Harrison Ford was galloping on horseback in search of the Holy Grail in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Ford, now 65 years old, has dusted off his fedora for a brand new adventure - this time in search of a hidden, and some say imaginary, village.

Despite his age, a subject that is a running joke throughout the film, Ford definitely retains his magic as the titular character. The wit from the original trilogy remains, and in some cases is even better.

Joining Ford through this voyage is up and coming actor Shia LaBeouf. as Mutt Williams. I have enjoyed Shia since his run on the Disney show Even Stevens. And thanks to my joy of the creative process of movie making - I was able to witness Shia on the show Project Greenlight and subsequent movie, Battle of Shaker Heights. Since then he has really come alive, with hit movies like Transformers and Disturbia.

I felt that the addition of LaBeouf was very welcome. He did hold some chemistry with Ford and the future of the Indiana Jones franchise could be in his hands.

Karen Allen, who played Marion Ravenwood in Raiders of the Lost Arc, returns as Mutt's mother in this movie.

I will not dispose any of the secrets of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, but if you have been a fan of Indiana Jones in the past, then you should enjoy this movie. Like I said the humor definitely returns and the action is pretty much non-stop.

I wasn't sure if Cate Blanchett would be able to handle the job of being the villain of the film, but she certainly holds her own.

And if you are looking for the token animal attack (ie. rats, snakes, spiders), you don't have to worry - there is definitely something that attacks.

This film does have some unbelievable aspects to it. Certain things that are just pretty hard to believe. For instance, in two of the previous films Indiana goes after actual items - the Arc of the Covenant and the Holy Grail. In Temple of Doom and Crystal Skull the subject of the film is most likely fictional. Also, one of the parts of the action sequence is pretty hard to believe - but, this is a movie and it was fun to watch.

I would put this chapter pretty close to the originals. I wouldn't say it is the best of the bunch, but it certainly holds its own. I would definitely recommend this movie to anyone, especially those who enjoy action. An easy 5/5 grade from me.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!
Enjoy yourselves.

Wii Fit Arrives

The long anticipated arrival of Wii Fit has finally come. It arrived at our house yesterday around 2 p.m.

Erika was able to dive into the game while I was on my way home, and gave me a bit of a rundown of the game. She was also able to explain a few things to me when I got to try it out.

The Wii Fit game comes with what is called as a balancing board that is recognized by your Wii (minus the cords). When you first sign on, you will select a Mii that you have created for yourself. Then it asks you a series of questions - like your height and birth date.

Then you go through a series of tests to determine just how out of shape you are, which can be a bit disheartening.

I found out that I am, according to the game, an obese human being. I am about 28 BMI's over where I should be at. Then you get to select a goal for yourself. I selected that I would like to lose 15 pounds in two months - or about when we are leaving for the Outer Banks.

Once inside the actual game, you select a trainer (male or female) then can navigate through four different exercise types (strength, balance, aerobics, yoga). So far, I have only tried the balance and aerobics games that are available - depending how you do during these 'games' you get a certain amount of points. The more points you get opens up more 'games' in the game itself.

I hula-hooped, walked a tightrope, stopped soccer balls, did the step-up, had a brisk run, skiied downhill, skiied off a jump and tried to get balls into a hole. It was actually pretty fun - and it was exercise.

I will definitely be trying the rest of the game sometime this weekend. And I will try and keep you updated with how I am doing with my goals.

Last night, Kasey and I also got our haircut. It has been a chore in the past with Kasey, and it looked to be heading that way again. Even before Chas started last night, he saw her and started crying. Thankfully he did calm down enough to get his hair done.

Before we left I stopped in GameStop and picked up a copy of We Ski, which uses the Wii Fit balancing board. I haven't tried it yet, but it looks like it should be pretty fun.

Finally, last night Erika and I played online with Mario Kart - and were joined by Cyle later on. I have become pretty decent at the game, and when we have gone online have more than held my own against people throughout the world.

Last night, though, it appeared that everyone was out to get me. I would get near the top, and get smacked back down to the back of the pack - then work my way back, only to get smacked again. It was getting kind of annoying really. I did manage a few top three finishes, but not as many as I have been getting of late.

The bad part about that is, you gain points with how well you do. As you get more and more points, they expect you to do better. So even though I was getting near the top, I was actually losing points because the game expected better.

Oh well. Possibly could have another blog later today to get you through the long weekend. If not, please remember to vote on the poll to the right. And have a nice Memorial Day Weekend.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

First Poll

If there is anyone out there actually reading my boring blogs, I guess I will find out now.

I have posted my first poll (to the right). I am asking everyone that frequents this site to please vote for a new title to my blog site. Kano's Ramblings was thrown together without actually trying to think of a title.

Although it is still a candidate to remain the title of this blog, I have also added a handful more. I have also put in a selection for 'Other', but I ask if you are voting for this to please comment with what you are thinking - and that you try to remain tasteful.

Also, I was hoping to change colors or the layout to the page - please let me know if you have any ideas

I am out and about for most of the day here at work, but there is a possibility for another, more heart-felt (haha) blog later on today - if I have time.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday, Mr. T!!!

Softball Star

Softball has probably just landed itself a new star, but I can guarantee you it is not me.

The fun softball league started off last night with its first game. My father, sister, wife, mother-in-law and father-in-law have been playing on this team for a few years now. Due to my work schedule, however, I have not been able to participate. Two years ago, I did get to play one game as it fell on a day that I had off. I played pretty well - I should have retired when I had the chance.

Last night our team, which last year was apparently a .500 team, got throttled by a bunch of current or former CVBL baseball players. This league is by no means a competitive league, it is all supposed to be for fun - and I did have fun.

I played a new position last night, one I have never played before in my life. In my baseball career I was mostly a shortstop or second baseman, but also played a little of centerfield. Last night, however, I played third base - or the 'hot corner'. My arm is, to put it bluntly, weak. So even in a softball game, throwing to first from third is difficult for me. I had a few balls hit to me - the first of which I threw too short and the guy was safe. Two others I feel I made pretty good plays on - and another line drive that went in my glove, but fell right out - I did however throw him out at first, thanks to a nice scoop by my sister at first.

Hitting last night, was definitely the teams problem (although fielding could use some work as well). Aside from a handful of people - my dad and Mark come to mind - our hitting left a lot to be desired. I am definitely lumped into that group. In practice I had been hitting the ball pretty well, but last night I hit a hard grounder to third, a lazy pop fly to third and a soft liner to shortstop (this I did leg out to avoid a double-play - yay me).

Luckily the team we played is probably the best in the league, and we got it out of the way early in the season. I look forward to the rest of the year - even though I needed to sit in a bucket of ice last night. How quick you lose your athletic ability, it's sad really.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Top 10: Hot Athletes

I have decided that Tuesdays will now be the day for my Top 10 lists. I guess you could call them Top 10 Tuesdays if you'd like.

Anyway, to start things off this is a special Top 10 because I have brought my wife in for her point of view.

I have decided to list the Top 10 Hot Athletes, male and female. So to get the Top 10 male athletes my wife chimed in with her Top 10.

So here we got, more of a Top 20, but divided into male and female (in reverse order as always):

10) Alex Rodriguez
Comments: Rodriguez is baseball's highest paid player and arguably the best player in the game today. He currently plays third base for the New York Yankees.

9) Tiger Woods
Comments: Woods is the greatest golfer on the planet. He currently has 88 career professional victories, including 13 major victories.

8) Sidney Crosby
Comments: Crosby was the 1st overall selection in the 2005 NHL Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins. In just his second season, he led the league in scoring and captured the MVP award.

7) Michael Phelps
Comments: Phelps is a swimmer, who has recently represented the United States in the Olympic Games. He currently holds six world records, and captured six gold and two bronze medals in the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

6) Brian Giles
Comments: Giles is a two-time all-star outfielder for the San Diego Padres. He was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in 1989 and also spent time with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

5) David Beckham
Comments: Beckham is arguably the face of soccer, especially in the United States. He is currently a member of both the England national team and the Los Angeles Galaxy, of the MLS.

4) Andy Roddick
Comments: Roddick is currently the No. 1 American tennis player, and former No. 1 overall. He is ranked sixth in the world as of Nov. 2007, has a record of 434-135, and has won 25 singles titles.

3) Matt Leinart
Comments: So far, Leinart is more known for his National Championships at USC in college. He is currently announced as the starting quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals of the NFL. In his second season, he took over as starting QB, but lost his job due to injury.

2) Kasey Kahne
Comments: Kahne is a member of the Gillett Evernham Motorsports team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. He currently drives the #9 Budweiser/Allstate Dodge Charger. He has won seven times in his career, and finished in the top 10 54 times.

1) Tiki Barber
Comments: Barber is a former football player for the New York Giants. He retired at the end of the 2006-07 season and has since become a broadcaster on both the Today Show and NBC Sunday Night Football.

10) Becky Hammon
Comments: Hammon is a current member of the WNBA's San Antonio Silver Stars. She went undrafted out of Colorado State, but has since become a star in the WNBA.

9) Gretchen Bleiler
Comments: Bleiler is a professional halfpipe snowboarder and has represented the United States in both the X-Games and the Olympics. She captured the silver medal in the women's halfpipe in the 2006 Olympics in Turin.

8) Natalie Gulbis
Comments: Gulbis is currently a professional golfer on the LPGA Tour. She has two professional victories under her belt.

7) Danica Patrick
Comments: Patrick was named Rookie of the Year for both the IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500 in 2005. She became the first woman to capture an Indy car race with her 2008 victory in the Japan 300.

6) Paula Creamer
Comments: Creamer was named 2005 Rookie of the Year for the LPGA. She currently has captured eight professional victories, including six LPGA victories. Often wearing pink, she has earned the nickname 'The Pick Panther'.

5) Heather Mitts
Comments: Mitts is a defender for the United States Women's National Soccer team. She helped the U.S. capture gold in the 2004 Olympics.

4) Sasha Cohen
Comments: Cohen in an American figure skater, who represented the U.S. in the 2006 Olympics and captured the silver medal. A month later, she captured gold in the World Championships in Calgary.

3) Amanda Beard
Comments: Beard is an American swimmer, who has represented the U.S. in the past three Olympic Games, and will be returning again this summer. She currently has two gold, four silver and a bronze medal.

2) Maria Sharapova
Comments: Sharapova is currently ranked No. 1 in the world for women's tennis. She has 19 career titles and has accumulated a 300-68 record in women's singles. After the 2006 season, she was the highest-paid female athlete.

1) Sue Bird
Comments: Bird is a two-time National Champion in basketball at the University of Connecticut. She was the first pick in the 2002 WNBA Draft by the Seattle Storm and won the WNBA title in 2004. She was also a member of the gold medal winning U.S. Basketball Team in the 2004 Olympics.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Movie Weekend

Now don't let me get your hopes up, no I did not get to go to the movie theater (although I should be able to see the new Indiana Jones movie next Saturday).

I did, however, watch three movies with my wife on Saturday - as for the first time in a long while, there was nothing truly scheduled to do for the weekend.

I, of course, allowed her to select two of the movies (I had originally intended to watch four films, with each of us picking two, but we watched Lost instead).

The first movie she selected was No Reservations. A movie starring Catherine-Zeta Jones, Aaron Eckhart and Abigail Breslin.

To me, a lot of these romantic comedies are pretty predictable, and this movie was no exception. The concept is usually always the same - someone can't find love, then someone comes into their life who at first they can't stand, but end up falling in love with that person. In some cases other plots are thrown into the mix, such is the case with No Reservations.

Zeta-Jones plays Kate, a very successful chef at a restaurant in NYC. She has substituted love, family and friends to become a world-renowned chef, and so far has succeeded in her goal. A wrench, however, is thrown into her life's plan when her sister and niece come to visit - but before arriving, are involved in a car accident, which the sister doesn't survive.

Of course, Kate is forced to play the role of mother to her departed sister's daughter, Zoe (played very well by Breslin). Not truly knowing the first thing about parenting, Kate fails miserably at trying to reach her niece.

On the work front, however, things have begun to unravel as well, as when Kate returns from her short hiatus, the restaurant has hired another chef to work with her - a sous-chef named Nick (Eckhart). Being the perfectionist that Kate is, having the fun, singing Nick in her kitchen is working her last nerve, and although she begins to fall for him - asks him to leave when she learns that he has been offered her job.

The ending, I will leave a mystery to those wishing to see it, but again it's pretty easy to pick up on. I would give the film a 3/5 ranking, due to the fact that it kept me somewhat interested throughout, and that I feel Breslin is an amazing young actress (lookout Dakota Fanning).

The second movie was a movie that I was able to choose (and Erika decided to take a nap), so I chose The Bourne Ultimatum.

This movie stars Matt Damn, Joan Allen, Julia Stiles, David Strathairn and Albert Finney.

I wanted to see this movie last year in the theater, but again life comes at you, so I was unable to. It is, presumably, the final installment of the Bourne Trilogy (although there is a chance for another).

This installment continues to follow Bourne (Damon) as he tries to track down what happened to him. In the previous films, we learn that Bourne is an experiment to create flawless military personnel, and Bourne was the first prototype.

Something, possibly the experiment itself, has created Bourne to have amnesia, so therefore has no recollection of who he actually is, or how exactly he became who he is now.

Slowly, he has been putting pieces together despite the CIA trying desperately to not only keep Bourne a secret, but to stop him entirely. Stiles plays Nickey Parsons, a former CIA member who in the past had been trying to stop Bourne, this time lends him a hand in trying to track down where he has come from. Pam Landy (Allen) continues her pursuit of Bourne, but after learning the plans of current leader Noah Vosen (Strathairn), she too begins to help Bourne - and expose the secrets the CIA have been hiding.

Bourne tracks down the leader of the Blackbriar project (or what created him), Dr. Albert Hirsch (Finney). Hirsch explains who Bourne was, but that it was him that volunteered for the project, he was not forced. During his escape, Vosen gets a shot off at Bourne as he falls 10-stories into the river below. This is where the franchise leaves it up to the imagination - is this the final installment, or will we see another.

I give this movie a 5/5. It was very well done, kept me interested throughout - mostly because I had become interested in Bourne through the first two films, and wanted to see where it was going - and the action was pretty intense.

The final movie that Erika and I watched on Saturday was Mad Money.

This movie stars Katie Holmes, Queen Latifah, Diane Keaton, Stephen Root and Ted Danson.

Out of the three we watched it was my least favorite, although I am glad I watched it once. It had a nice premise, but for some reason it didn't work as well for me.

Bridget (Keaton) is a high-class type of woman, who suddenly learns she can't afford to live in her house anymore and has to cut back on her expenses due to her husband, Don (Danson), losing his job.

She is forced to get a job at a local bank as a custodian, where she immediately becomes interested in what is going on there. The bank collects old, worn out money and destroys it, so that new money can replace it in the economy.

On a trip out shopping, Bridget gets the idea of how to rob the bank of some of this money. After all, it's going to be destroyed anyway, why can't she have it? Or, that was her thinking. So, she recruits Nina (Latifah), who works in the shredding department, and also lives in a rough neighborhood with her children - so she wants the money to get out of the neighborhood and get her kids into a better school. Also recruited is Jackie (Holmes), who lives in a trailer with her husband, and at work delivers the bins of cash to Nina to be destroyed.

Everything was working wonderfully for the group. They would install their own lock on the bin (done by Bridget), then after getting the number of the bin Jackie would take a bunch of money out and throw it in the dumpster (out of camera view), then deliver it to Nina. Nina's part was to remove the lock, and replace it with the original.

But, they got a little greedy. Despite having enough money for Bridget to keep her house, Nina to get out of hers and pay for her kids tuition - they still wanted more. And this is how, they end up getting caught.

The ending is pretty interesting, but I will not spoil it. I will give this movie a 2/5. It was good, but again something seemed to be missing. I am not a huge Holmes fan (especially from Batman Begins), but I thought she delivered in this role. And Danson, again proves to be a talented actor. I can't understand why he doesn't get more roles in movies.

So there was my movie weekend. Still have lots more to view of course - but I should have a review of Indiana Jones next Monday.

Other things that happened this weekend: We finally had our second softball practice, and it's a good thing too as our first game is Tuesday. There was a huge fire on Chapman Street (the street perpendicular to us) on Saturday night, which Erika and I were in the group of people watching on the street corner. My sister and her fiance got a Wii, so we played Mario Kart with them last night for a little bit online.

I guess that is basically the weekend. Not too busy, but we had some fun and got to relax a little.

Pierce vs. James

I have not had a number of chances to watch a full playoff basketball game this year. A few years ago this would have been blasphemes due to my love for anything and all NBA, but my life is different now, with more things to do.

That being said I was able to watch most of the Celtics/Cavaliers Game 7 game yesterday.

In 1988, another Celtics Game 7 semifinal battle, included two superstars trying to will their teams into the next round. It is deemed one of the greatest playoff battles of all-time. Larry Bird's Celtics prevailed, thanks to Bird's 34 points (20 in the fourth quarter), over Dominique Wilkins' Atlanta Hawks. Wilkins scored a game-high 47 points in the contest, but fell to the mighty Celtics. The two combined for 81 points in a memorable battle.

In today's game, the superstar very rarely guards the other team's superstar at both ends of the court. As a coach it makes sense, why would you want to tire out your offensive juggernaut on the defensive side of the ball?

But yesterday, Cleveland's LeBron James and Boston's Paul Pierce settled in for a battle of the ages - as they not only guarded each other, but surpassed the brilliance of the Bird/Wilkins matchup.

Pierce erupted for 41 points to lead the No. 1 seeded Celtics into the Eastern Conference Finals with a 97-92 victory over the Cavaliers. James, however, didn't go down without a fight as he poured in a game-high 45 points. The combined 86 points surpasses that of the Bird/Wilkins duel.

It's something you don't get to witness too often in basketball - two players on opposite teams, totally taking over the game - trying to will their team to victory. But when you do, it's magical.

I fear that the 14 total games the Celtics have been forced to play will hurt their chances against a rested Detroit Pistons squad. Boston has yet to win a game on the road, so a loss in either of the first two games at home to the Pistons could prove detrimental. I shudder of the thought of Detroit making it back to the Finals. Hopefully the layoff will make them rusty - instead of rested.

(Large movie review coming later today)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Just for the Hell of It

I was actually pretty surprised when I saw this last night - yes I DVR'd it. Out of the many beautiful women on this show (Jennifer Morrison and Olivia Wilde come to mind), I was very surprised when soon-to-be 42 year old Lisa Edelstein (Dr. Cuddy) busted a pole-dancing move for House (in his subconscious). Not too bad, in my opinion

Missing in Action

Growing up, you are introduced to a lot of different shows and/or movies. In these are actors or actresses that you sort of start to like, most are child actors/actresses.

Sometimes, however, these actors/actresses sort of vanish. They may appear in the random B-movie, or in a very small guest starring role on a television series, but for the most part have completely vanished from the mainstream.

Here is just a few that have gone missing (this is not a Top 10 list):

Charlie Korsmo
You may remember Charlie from such hits as Hook, Dick Tracy or What About Bob? But not since Can't Hardly Wait have we seen this talented actor. According to his wikipedia page, he is currently a lawyer after being a part of the U.S. government.

Ben Savage
Savage was always in his older brother's (Fred Savage) shadow, until he scored big on the hit show Boy Meets World. Since then, however, Ben has not been seen in too many things, besides low budget movies.

Jonathan Taylor Thomas
Thomas portrayed the middle child on the huge television hit, Home Improvement. He was known for his wisecracks and good looks, and therefore bridged into movies. However, since I'll Be Home For Christmas with Jessica Biel, Thomas has not been a successful movie. His last stint on television was a guest role on Veronica Mars.

Jaleel White
White, as all of you should know, was Steve Urkel on the television show Family Matters. Of course he portrayed a nerd, but in real life was an athletic teenager, much like Steve's alter-ego, Stefan. White has since been hitting the television circuit in the form of guest roles, most recently on Boston Legal. He has also had small parts in movies like Big Fat Liar and Dreamgirls.

Jonathan Brandis
Brandis was a huge star in the '90's, both with his looks and with acting. He had starring roles in such films as Lady, The Neverending Story II and Sidekicks. His most famous role, however, was his portrayal of Lucas Wolenczak on television's SeaQuest DSV. Brandis had sort of dropped off the map in acting, but was hoping to get back in with a role in Hart's War. However is scenes were all cut, and Brandis fell into a depression - committing suicide. It was a tragic loss, for such a talented actor.

Ariana Richards
Best known for her work in Jurassic Park as Lex Murphy, Richards made a handful of movies in the 90's, but has not been in a movie since Tremors 3 in 2001. She has since become a successful painter and is an apprentice under a professional painter in Oregon.

Danielle Fishel
Fishel is another Boy Meets World veteran who has yet to make it out of the show's shadow. She has been on a few shows in a guest starring role, such as Yes, Dear, and has made a couple of B-movies like Dorm Daze and Dorm Daze 2.

Staci Keanan
Keanen made a pair of popular shows during her time on television in My Two Dads and Step By Step. Since the cancellation of Step By Step, however, Keanan has only been in a couple of movies.

Mayim Bialik
Bialik was the star of the television series Blossom. Since it left the television waves, however, Bialik has only been a guest star on multiple television shows - most recently Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Danica McKellar
McKellar has sort of made a small comeback by posing in men's magazine Stuff and being a guest star on How I Met Your Mother. But, she was the girlfriend of Fred Savage in The Wonder Years and has yet to make as big of a splash since then. She has, however, made a huge splash in the world of math - as she graduated from UCLA and has written a book entitled "Math Doesn't Suck: How to Survive Middle-School Math without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail". She also has a second book "Kiss My Math: Showing Pre-Algebra Who's Boss" coming out in August.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Random Netflix Movie #4: The Ten

Boy, I should get an award or something for actually making it through the 93 minutes it took to finish this film.

Looking at the cast - Paul Rudd, Jessica Alba, Oliver Platt, Gretchen Mol, Liev Schreiber, Winona Ryder, Ken Marino, Adam Brody and Famke Janssen - you'd think this is a can't miss hit. Well, that couldn't be further from the truth.

The Ten is a movie, well actually 10 little 'plays' really, about the 10 Commandments. Paul Rudd is the story teller, who actually ends up being 'Thou Shall Not Commit Adultery.'

Basically, a short little story is shown that somehow relates to one of the 10 Commandments, and what can happen if it is not followed - it is supposed to be a comedy mind you. However, this movie is extremely dumb, and not the usual kind of movie comedy dumb (those I usually enjoy), this was just plan dumb - and frankly, I didn't really get the humor.

I forced myself to finish the movie, but I am not recommending it to anyone. I am giving it a 1/5 in my grading system.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Top 10: Canceled TV Shows

These Top 10 lists I have been making appear to be coming in pairs, so here is another one for you.

The television networks are, within the week, announcing their Fall lineups for the upcoming season. Each year there is always a few shows that are pretty amazing that get the boot thanks to either terrible promoting or bad airtime given to it by the network - either way a good shows cancellation is usually the fault of the network itself.

This season I have been waiting patiently for the announcement if a few of my favorite shows would be making it back next season, or becoming yet another show that I spent time watching only to get axed before a real ending was given.

Thankfully Reaper was announced to be coming back to the CW Network for a second season on Monday, and just today How I Met Your Mother was asked back for a fourth season. Unfortunately, one of my shows didn't make the cut - and it is actually listed below.

Below are a list of 10 recent (within the last 10-15 years) shows that have been booted that I had a very strong interest in. I didn't really include comedies, due to the fact that basically every show there is an ending to a particular problem - comedies have no real cliffhangers like dramas, etc. do. This is sometimes not the case, but I couldn't come up with any off the top of my head.

Also, there has been a large cry for some shows such as Firefly, Futurama, Jericho, Freaks & Geeks and My So Called Life. I was not lucky enough to watch Freaks & Geeks or Firefly during its original broadcast, so I did not include them - not saying they aren't worth a spot on the list, just that I can't include them due to my not seeing them.

So here is my top 10 (in reverse order as always):

10) Popular
Comments: A pair of girls, who go to the same high school, but despise each other, learn that they will now be step-sisters thanks to their parents getting married.

9) Undeclared
Comments: The second attempt by Judd Apatow (Superbad, Knocked Up) in the television world. The first of which was Freaks & Geeks. Like its predecessor, Undeclared has a few of the castoffs like Seth Rogen and and Jason Segal. The show is about the first year of college and basically starting to spread your wings on your own.

8) Joan of Arcadia
Comments: I didn't get into this show right away, but I did later on thanks to it's airings on the baron Friday night. The story is about a girl that speaks to God, and her struggle to live life - as well as her families difficulties as well.

7) Playmakers
Comments: This is probably the most well done television show, or anything really, depicting life in the National Football League. Which is why ESPN (who broadcasts NFL games) was pressured into canceling the show after just one season. It followed players from a fake team and everything that went a long with them - including drugs, violence, money, adultery and homosexuality.

6) Traveler
Comments: This show really excited me, not just for its premise, but because it was shown during the summer - when all other shows had gone away from original broadcasts (which I think should happen more often). It followed a trio of college buddies on one last trip before going out into the real world - except one of them wasn't who they thought he was, and blackmailed them for a museum bombing. The show was never concluded.

5) Early Edition
Comments: This is a pretty interesting concept. Gary Hobson, played by Kyle Chandler, receives a newspaper every morning, with tomorrow's news. What would you do? He takes things into his own hands, becoming the reluctant superhero, as he saves lives by stopping accidents that he knows is going to happen thanks to his trusty newspaper.

4) Saved
Comments: This was a show very much like ER, except it followed the lives of the EMT's instead of the doctors. It was pretty interesting, but unfortunately only lasted one season on TNT - even though other shows like The Closer and Saving Grace get to return, despite not being as entertaining.

3) Standoff
Comments: I was first drawn to this show thanks to its casting of Ron Livingston (Office Space) in the lead role. But, it was yet another crime drama that I fell for, with a little different premise. Livingston and Rosemarie DeWitt are negotiating specialists, who are brought to hostage situations to try and talk the criminal out of hurting his hostages, and giving himself up.

2) Las Vegas
Comments: This show stings pretty hard. This is the show that was canceled from this season, with a huge cliffhanger in the balance. How can a network do that? Las Vegas has been on the air for five years, with very good followers of the show - and to just flat out cancel the series without at least wrapping up the loopholes is a slap in the face.

1) SeaQuest DSV
Comments: I have to admit that after the first two seasons of SeaQuest DSV it got a little too unbelievable. The third season, titled SeaQuest 2032, lost its captain and was transported even further into the future, and they lost a lot of their audience. However, the first two seasons of this show were terrific - and thankfully have been released on DVD. The show was a lot like Star Trek, but based on the ocean instead of space. The casting was great - especially Roy Scheider (Capt. Bridger) and Jonathan Brandis (Lucas Wolenczak), both who have since passed on in real life.