Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Academy might completely screw the best cinematic sequel of all time.

So the Golden Globes aren't the Oscars but they're seen as a prequel to the Oscars. Golden Globe nominations usually closely mirror those of the Oscars a few months later.

This summer, a little movie entitled The Dark Knight hit theaters and proceeded to blow away some of the highest expectations modern day cinema goers have had for a movie. It instantly shot to the #2 greatest film of all time on the Internet Movie Database's Top 250 films of all time. ALL TIME! It's since settled nicely into the #4 spot but if you look at the top 20, all of those films have Oscar written all over them. And if the Golden Globes are a true precursor to the 09 Oscars, The Dark Knight is going to get the greatest cinematic shaft of them all. Now, you may be screaming the words Shawshank Redemption at your screen right now but remember, it got NOMINATED FOR SEVEN OSCARS! The fact that it didn't win a single one is truly tragic but as of now, The Dark Knight stands to get one and only one nomination come March. So, I'm throwing the first stone as I expect the Oscar nominations to closely mirror those of the Golden Globes. Here's my list of ten reasons The Dark Knight should be getting more Oscar press than it currently is. Of course I'll be happy to eat my words if it gets the nominations it deserves.

10. It's the first film EVER to use a combination of IMAX and 35mm formats in a theatrical release. All of the action sequences were filmed in IMAX so if you saw the film in IMAX, you were treated to some of the most awe inspiring images you've ever seen on an 80 foot hight movie screen. And it's not getting a cinematography nod because???

9. Oscar winner Hanz Zimmer and Oscar nominee James Newton Howard collaborated to create the movie's score. Haunting and terrifying harmonies pushed you to the edge of your seat when you were watching the movie. Its score is sure to be used in trailers for decades to come. The score itself was just as much of a character as the actors in the frame. Where's the nomination for best original score. Can't nominated it because it's a sequel and the music has been done before? Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings are a few movies that come to mind.

8. Special effects. Everyone saw the big rig flip in the trailers and when we got to the scene in the film, we all knew it was coming. But we still laughed and clapped our hands when we saw it happen. When Batman and Mr. Lau were zipped from the blown out building in Hong Kong, applause. Nearly all of the effects were done for real but using a computer to enhance these effects is a skill all in its own. And the Oscar goes to Indiana Jones for making big ants look really really scary and for making a Jeep chase in the jungle look really really bad!

7. Directing. How do you make a two and a half hour movie worthy of re-watching it a mere seconds after the credits start rolling? Two words. Christopher Nolan. Think that this was a fluke? Have you seen Memento (IMDB #28), The Prestige (IMDB #82), and oh yeah, Batman Begins (IMDB #99)? Some films like are great fun to watch because of the special effects and action scenes such as Mission Impossible III and Aliens (IMDB #64). But then there are films such as Heat (IMDB #132), Saving Private Ryan (IMDB #57), Casino Royale 2006 (IMDB #242) and The Bourne Trilogy (Ultimatum #139) that bring emotion and complexity to the equation. Nolan did that in spades when he directed the fourth best film according to voters on the IMDB.

6. Why do we care about a semi-psychotic billionaire that dresses up in a bat suit? Because Oscar caliber writing makes us believe in Batman and his motives. Christopher and Jonathan Nolan deserve a nod for adapted screenplay. Yes, the story of Batman has been told for well over half a century but making the new Batman story is a work of genius all in its own.

5. The cast. Now, there isn't an Oscar for best cast but let's take a moment to look at the caliber of actors and actresses that have contributed to the film. Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Aaron Eckhart, Heath Ledger, and Christian Bale.

4. The impact of The Dark Knight on the action hero and super hero genre. No longer do we follow our hero without wondering where they came from or why they do what they do. We movie goers want to feel what the hero is feeling. We want to hurt when they hurt. We want to see the world through their eyes and not through that of the third person. We have yet to see The Dark Knight's true influence but look back on this post in a couple of years and you're sure to see that many films have used Nolan's work as a template for their own.

3. The Dark Knight is a masterful collage of genres. It is an action film. It is an adventure film. It is a love story. It is a summer blockbuster. It is a tragedy. How do you put all of that into a a package and make it believable as well as entertaining? See #7.

2. $530,722,000. The Dark Knight's current domestic ticket sales total. $600,788,188 Titanic's domestic ticket sales total. Difference = $70,066,188. Did I mention that The Dark Knight is going to be released on January 23, 2009?

1. The Dark Knight's lasting appeal. This film is timeless. Heath Ledger's portrayal of The Joker will go down as one of the greatest achievements in acting the silver screen has ever been a party to. Christopher Nolan's masterpiece will be watched for decades to come. And it will be loved and admired. Why do films have lasting appeal? Because they're not only beautifully filmed, but because they've got the entire package. The stars, the director, the dialogue, and the story.

It's not often that a film of this caliber comes along. Sadly, The Dark Knight is set up for one of the biggest Oscar snubs in history. Let's hope and pray that I'm wrong.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

12-9-08 One of the best DVD/Blu-Ray release dates in history!

Oh yeah and . . .

Seeing as Lost is still on air, I'm not going to throw it in with The Wire and The Dark Knight, though the day that the complete series of lost comes out on DVD/blu-ray will be a historic one as well.

A blu-ray and a DVD box set were released on 12-9-08. These two releases included arguably the best sequel in the history of the silver screen and at the same time, one of the best movies ever made. IMDB's top 250 ranks it behind The Godfather I & II and The Shawshank Redemption as the fourth best movie of ALL TIME! Not bad for a franchise that once included a Pre-Oscar and pre-good choice in movies George Clooney, Chris O'Donnell who you've all forgotten about until you read his name, and a fat Alicia Silverstone. Thankfully, Christopher and Jonathan Nolan have completely erased that Bat-Era from out minds.

Now, on to the GREATEST TELEVISION SHOW EVER!!! It's called, The Wire and if you this is just another cop drama, you're incredibly wrong. I could go into specifics about the show but that would be like telling you about the first six episodes of Lost before you've seen them. It will ruin the show. All I will say is that The Wire is masterfully written, perfectly casted, massively underrated, and one of the greatest social commentaries ever broadcast. It will change your views on public schools, standardized testing, the printed press, law and drug enforcement, and child services. All while making you laugh at a character one minute and cry for them in the next. The sad thing is that The Wire NEVER got the praise it deserved while it was on the air. The Emmy's and Golden Globes are the most bullshit awards in the entertainment world. They might as well be called the best of NBC, CBS, ABS, and FOX awards. Anything that's aired on an alternative or cable network rarely gets recognized with even a nomination. The Wire was one of these series. HBO usually hits the mark with their original series but they struck gold with, The Wire.

If you have a spare $200 lying around and feel like buying yourself an early Christmas present, head down to the store and pick up The Dark Knight and the complete series of The Wire. You'll save nearly 40% by buying it this week and like HBO's Band of Brothers, you'll find yourself watching it all the way through at least once a year.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Giants making a "Splash Hit" in the offseason and winter meetings.

Bag on the Renteria signing all you want, I like it. Sure he's 33 going on 34 but unlike the majority of "old guy" signings the Giants have made in the past, Renteria is actually good. I mean, did you actually expect Aurilia to do well outside of the homer heaven in Cincinnati? Did you expect the post roid Ryan Klesko to continue to hit home runs?

Renteria is a career 290 hitter with pop from the right side. It's a known fact that it's easier to yank one out to right at AT&T than it is for lefties. Also, I like Burriss at second more than I do at short. Renteria is a decent defensive shortstop and not someone that would crack under the pressure of following up the best defensive shortstop the game has ever seen in Omar Vizquel. Remember the pressure that Lance Niekro underwent when JT left? How'd he fair?

With the addition of Affeldt (the best free agent lefty availble) and Howry, the bullpen has gone from a Matt Cain heart attack to something that actually might get him some wins this year.

And with the likes of Alderson and Bumgardner waiting in the wings, to trade Sanchez for a bat would be one of the best ideas in recent years. The Giants have a minors system of pitching talent that won't only make it to the majors, there are about three guys that have the chance of attaining Cain-like levels. Ditch Sanchez, get Cantu and sign Sabathia.

You do that and you've got your clean up hitter and one of the best rotations in baseball. How does Sabathia (Cy Young winner 07), Lincecum(Cy Young winner 08), Cain (Cy potential), Zito(Cy Young winner 02), and Lowry (Giants leader in wins 06-07) sound?

And if it's offensive talent you're looking for, don't forget about Mr. Posey who's less then an year from donning a Giants uniform and top prospect Villanova who's a complete masher.

The Giants are going to be good and they're going to be good very soon. With the Padres and Rockies dumping salary, the D-Backs maxed out, the Dodgers are the Giants only contention in the West this year. You could figuratively be watching Joe Buck screw up a Giants playoff broadcast as early as this fall!!!
5-15 and no, that's not a reference to tax day.

The Warriors finished the miracle 06-07 season with a 42-40 record.
They finished the playoffless 07-08 season with a 48-34 record.

Right now, they're 5-15. Do you see them going 37-25 for the rest of the year? Do you see them finishing the season on a 43-19 run? Didn't think so.

Less than two years after their historic playoff run and less than a year after a heartbreaking yet wildly entertaining 07-08 season, the Warriors and their fans came into the 08-09 season with high hopes. Though Baron Davis would be wearing a Clipper's jersey, the Warriors still had the likes of Ellis, Biedrins, and Jackson, a formidable starting three. Not to mention 20pt a game Corey Maggette and a rising star in Kelena Azebuke.

Three weeks and nine loses ago, the Warriors looked good but not great. All they were looking to do was hang around in the west until Ellis returned. A week later with the addition of Jamal Crawford and the departure of Al Harrington, it looked as though the Warriors were poised to gain ground on the floundering Mavericks and the aging Suns. The only thing that the Warriors have done since their win at home against Brandon Roy's Blazers is show how horrible they are at defending the ball. They're the worst defensive team in the NBA and though I haven't googled it, they're probably breaking some sort of NBA records for points allowed.

While watching them score is fun, watching their "matador" defense is sickening. They make the interior of the opposing hoop look like a six lane freeway. And when Biedrins and Turiaf are the only ones crashing the boards, opposing offensive rebounds have at times equaled the Warriors rebound total.

It's sad to say that the Warriors of today have once again reverted to the Warriors of old. They're a bad team with good players and good fans. And though we're only 1/4 of the way through the season, it's most likely over. So why not get the young guys a chance to play? Why aren't Randolph and Wright starting or at least getting more than twenty minutes? These are two long and lean guys that can rebound and score inside. These are two guys that can help Biedrins gobble up some boards. I would love to see the threesome of Biedrins, Wright, and Randolph on the floor at the same time and see what happens. And why not? You know what you're getting from Maggette and Jackson, it's time to start to get an idea of what the Warriors can do with some young talent.

I've come to grips with the fact that the Warriors are going nowhere fast and being a Giants fan I've grown accustomed to watching bad teams. But like the Giants, the Warriors have a ton of talent. Why not get these guys ready this year and see what they can do with extended and regular minutes. We know the Warriors can score, we know that when Ellis gets back and gets healthy he and Crawford will be able to run a break. We need to know how Randolph, Wright, and Morrow factor into the equation for next year. And Don Nelson needs to get away from the six man rotation. There's a reason why at least twelve guys suit up every night and it's not to make the bench look good.

I'd like to see the starting five look like Crawford, Maggette, Jackson, Biedrins, and Azebuki/Ellis. With Randolph, Wright, Turiaf, and Morrow coming off the bench in a designated fashion. You know you can score with the starting five so why not try and build a lead with them and rotate long guys like Wright, Randolph, and Turiaf once a lead has been established? The only guy that's not going to score much is Turiaf but what he brings to the floor defensively is priceless. Build a lead and rotate Maggette for Turiaf, Wright for Jackson, and Randolph for Crawford, Ellis/Azebuki when you need to. That gives your guys a rest so that when they come back out onto the floor, they can run and guy at full boar all the time.

What I'm trying to say is that it would be nice to get a NFL-like rotation going. An offensive and defensive line if you may. But the cool thing is that 95% of the Warriors can score. Shuffle guys in and out of the game and keep the opposition on confused.

I'm a Warriors fan through and through. I'm not just a bandwagoner so I'll be watching them when they're good and when they're bad. I just want to see a little change is all. There's enough talent on this team to make a loosing season look good. But in order to do that, you have to start playing the unproven and the unknown to see what you can have for next season.