Saturday, April 28, 2012

2012 NBA PLayoff Predictions - First Round

#1- San Antonio Spurs vs #8- Utah Jazz - I have always been a die hard Jazz fan my whole life and I am really glad that we made the playoffs. When we crashed last year, I will be completely honest, I had begun to lose hope for the future of our team. Things didn't look very bright at the start of this season as well and I was almost certain that we were destined for the lottery this year. However, our young players stepped it up big time and gave us a lot of hope. A young team consisting of Burks, Hayward, Favors, and Kanter actually could be quite scary in a few years. It took some injuries to players like Raja, Howard, and CJ to get Corbin to play them more, but hey. Now they have experience and will get some much needed playoff experience. However, if there is one team in the playoffs that I don't want to play it is the Spurs. One, the Spurs are on fire. They have lost only like one game in their last 20 games (to the Jazz ironically - but that was a fluke because they rested the big three) and momentum is huge in the playoffs. Two, the Jazz have a terrible history against them. Ever since a man name Tim Duncan started playing for them, they have beaten us like 90% of the time they play us. This playoff series will end quite quickly, but it will be good for our young team. The future is bright. Prediction: Spurs 4-0

#4- Memphis Grizzlies vs #5- Los Angeles Clippers - This match-up here just might be the most intriguing match-up of the first round. Neither franchise has had a great history in the playoffs as both have had one playoff series win in their team's history. This stat is more embarrassing for the Clippers since they have been around since 1970 while the Grizzlies came into existence in the mid-90's. However, both these teams are in a position right now that could do some damage and/or pull of some upsets that will throw the playoffs off of the track people expect it to go. The Grizzlies are a team that no one especially wants to play. They are a tough team that is riding the momentum train via a 6 game win streak and a last minute push to grab the number 4 seed. Meanwhile, the Clippers just recently fell from the number 3 spot to the dreaded 5 spot. Despite that I still believe that Paul, Griffin, and company will get the job done. But it will be a dog fight. Prediction: Clippers 4-3

#3- Los Angeles Lakers vs #6- Denver Nuggets- Kobe and the Lakers haven't been overly impressive this year, but they've been good enough to get the job done. Which makes it kinda hard to predict what they are going to do come playoff time. I could see them getting knocked out early and I could see them barely making it through the first two rounds and sneak into the conference finals. In looking at all the match-ups, the Lakers have the highest chance out of all the top seeds (not counting the number 4 seeds) to get eliminated and so I am going to roll the dice and call upset on this one. The Nuggets are riding a good four game win streak in addition to winning eight of their last ten. Plus, this isn't a Phil Jackson coached Laker team. It's Mike Brown. Since when has he ever been a good playoff coach? Prediction: Nuggets 4-2

#2- Oklahoma City Thunder vs #7- Dallas Mavericks - This one is an easy one to pick in my mind. I really don't think the Mavs have much of a chance. Yes, the Mavs are the defending Champs, but they haven't played nearly as well this season than they did last season. They've had their moments this year, but having those moments at the right time is key and right now the Mavs have been reeling recently and only avoided dropping to the eight spot because they hold the tie breaker against the Jazz. You can't go into the playoffs playing like that and expect to knock off the Thunder in the first round. It's just not gonna happen. The Thunder are just too good. Prediction: Thunder 4-1 

#1- Chicago Bulls vs #8- Philadelphia 76ers - I don't know how the Bulls have done it, but they did. They have been playing without Derrick Rose for a big portion of the season. Also, Deng has been injury plagued a bit as well and him, Noah, and Boozer have had up and down haven't played great either. Yet they still manage to win games. Kudos to Tom Thibido. That's the only way to describe it. I think their great regular season will translate into a great playoff and playing to 76ers will only be a minor block in the road. I respect what Doug Collins has done with the 76ers and I think that they could become one of the top teams in the future, but this year is not the year. Prediction: Bulls 4-1.

#4- Boston Celtics vs #5- Atlanta Hawks - Now this is quite the interesting match-up. Because of the fact that the Celtics won their division they couldn't drop lower than four, but they ended up with a worse record than the Hawks, so the Hawks get homecourt advantage. This match-up is quite even, but the Celtics know how to win in the playoffs and the Hawks don't. They Hawks are the team that always does good in the regular season, but flops come playoff time. I think the Celtics have at least one more playoff run in them and so that's where I am going with this one. Celtics 4-2

#3- Indiana Pacers vs #6- Orlando Magic - Pacers anyone? They quietly had a really good season. I mean, come on. How many people have talked about the Pacers much this year? All the press goes to the Bulls, Heat, Magic, Knicks, and Celtics in the Eastern Conference. Not the Pacers. But I think that they could turn some heads and do some serious damage in these playoffs. And I think that they will take out the reeling Magic quite easily. Maybe after they do so, people will start realizing that they are actually pretty good. Prediction: Pacers 4-1

#2- Miami Heat vs #7- New York Knicks - This will easily be the biggest and most talked about match-up in this first round with Carmelo and the Knicks facing off against LeBron and the Heat. Carmelo has never done good in the playoffs, but could this be the year? Knocking off the Heat in the first round would be a huge accomplishment. Imagine all the crap the Heat will get if they get dropped in the first one? I certainly think they will give the Heat a run for their money and I wouldn't mind at all a Knicks victory, but I think the Heat will pull this one off by the skin of their teeth. Prediction: Heat 4-3

Quick Glance Beyond the First Round

Conference Semi Finals 
Spurs over Clippers
Thunder over Nuggets
Celtics over Bulls
Heat over Pacers

Conference Finals
Spurs over Thunder
Heat over Celtics

Spurs over Heat

Thursday, April 26, 2012

2012 NFL Mock Draft - Part Two

Continued from here:

17- Cincinnati Bengals - Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina - Andy Dalton had a great rookie season that gives this team hope. However, he could use a few more offensive weapons because their offense wasn't fantastic. And outside AJ Green, the Bengals don't have much on the receiver end now that Jerome Simpson is gone, so picking a wideout here is an option. However, despite a great performance by their defense, they had some key losses in free agency to their defensive line. Their cornerbacks are getting old and/or broken and so they could also go that route. Quinton Coples is a great player that would go much higher if not for character issues, but that never seems to bother the Bengals, so they will jump at the chance to get him here at 17, especially because they have a second first round pick here in four picks after this.

18- San Diego Chargers - Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama - The Chargers could go a few different ways with this pick. They could go for a receiver to try to replace Vincent Jackson. An offensive lineman would also help a lot. However, I think grabbing a defensive player is the most pressing need for them. A better defense last year could've put them over the top with winning the division. And now that Peyton Manning is a divisional rival they either need to grab a pass rusher or sure up their secondary. Upshaw would definitely fulfill that and is a great selection at number 18.

19- Chicago Bears - Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina - It seems like the Bears have chronic troubles at wide receiver and offensive line. At receiver they had several players that are a good number two or number three receiver, but no true number one. They did sign Brandon Marshall, so that could potentially solve that problem, but a young talented receiver to put next to him would make the Bears passing attack really strong, which is something they've never had. If one of the good offensive lineman fall to them, that would be a no brainer for them, but in this scenario, neither option is solid, so instead they go the best player available route and pick the corner from South Carolina. The Bears passing defense wasn't solid last year and in a division with the Lions and the Packers a solid pass defense is necessary to have success. Gilmore could easily be a top 10 pick, so if he falls to the Bears at 19, they should be ecstatic.

20- Tennessee Titans - Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama - The Titans could do one of two things with this pick. Their first option is to grab a pass rusher. They were the second worst team in the league when it comes to number of sacks, so that needs to be fixed. If there is one of the top defensive ends still available here, then they will be tempted to grab one. However, their most glaring need comes at cornerback due to Cortlan Finnegan. At this point in the draft, either Stephon Gilmore, Dre Kirkpatrick, or Janoris Jenkins would make a lot of sense. They will take whichever one is available and since it is either Jenkins or Kirkpatrick in this situation, Kirkpatrick is the safer option.

21- Cincinnati Bengals - Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama - Like mentioned earlier, the Bengals will most likely take a cornerback and a defensive lineman with their two picks in the first round and having taken Coples with their first pick, they will take the best available corner and in this case, Jenkins is the one that is available. Now Jenkins does have serious character issues that will scare many away, but if he can keep himself in line, he will end up being a really good corner in this league, so it will be worth the risk for the Bengals.

22- Cleveland Browns - Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor - Having taken Richardson with their first pick in this draft, the Browns will now look at giving Colt McCoy a receiver to throw to. The three options that the Browns will be looking at is Kendall Wright from Baylor, Stephen Hill from Georgia Tech, and Reuben Randall from LSU. Out of those three, I personally think Kendall Wright is the best option. He is a bit small, but he's a huge playmaker and could develop into a number one receiver for the Browns.

23- Detroit Lions - Amini Silatolu, G, Midwestern St - For what seems like the first time in history, things have actually started to go well for the Lions. Matt Stafford threw for over 5,000 yards and Megatron was a beast with 1,600 receiving yards. The defense of the Lions is one thing that killed the Lions, so they could select the best defensive player that is left on the board, but they also need to focus on keeping Matt Stafford on his feet and healthy, so going for Silatolu is a great choice for the Lions.

24- Pittsburgh Steelers - Dont'a Hightower, ILB, Alabama - This pick is almost a match made in heaven. Now that the Steelers are without standout linebacker James Farrior, a huge hole is left in that spot that they will try to fix here in the draft. Now Hightower may end up getting taken by several teams ahead of the Steelers, but if he falls to this spot, this could be a rather quick decision for the Steelers to make. He would be immediately plugged into the center of Alabama's defense.

25- Denver Broncos - Michael Brockers, DT, LSU - The Broncos lost defensive tackle Broderick Bunkley in free agency, so selecting Brockers here makes perfect sense because it fills a big whole and Michael Brockers is probably the highest value on the board right, so it would be the best player available. The Broncos will also take a look at Jerel Worthy, the defensive tackle from Michigan State, but I think they will stick with Brockers. Other options with this pick are to draft a safety to help replace the recently retired Brian Dawkins or draft a receiver to give Peyton more weapons to work with.

26- Houston Texans - Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech - The Texans finally made the playoffs for the first time in franchise history and have things working rather well for them. This is the first time they head into a draft with very few pressing needs. Despite Andre Johnson being injured for a good portion of the season, the Texans receivers didn't perform horribly, but grabbing a wideout to start beside Johnson would give the Texans a very strong and deep receiving corps. Stephen Hill doesn't have extremely flashy numbers, but he does have great height and great speed, so he would work out well in the Texans organization .

27- New England Patriots - Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse - The Pats, like always, were great on offense with Tom Brady running the show. They added Brandon Lloyd to that receiving corps this offseason which will boost that even more. They don't really have a running back to lean on as Green-Ellis has departed and neither back played great to begin with, so they could go that route, except there really is no running back they could select here at this point. However, the Pats defense is what was their demise this season. Had they had a defense that wasn't terrible, they could've won that Super Bowl, so with two first round picks, that's probably the direction they will go and Chandler Jones of Syracuse makes sense with that first pick.

28- Green Bay Packers - Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame - It's hard to look at a 15-1 team and determine what they need to do to improve. However, for the Packers this one is actually quite easy to see as they were dead last this past season in pass defense. Some of that may be because they beat teams so bad that everyone was throwing the ball to try to catch up, but help in that secondary would help the Packers greatly. Harrison Smith won't be their defensive savior, but he should at least improve that safety postion.

29- Baltimore Ravens - Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin - With this pick, the Ravens should be looking towards the future. People like Ray Lewis, Matt Burk, and Anquan Boldin won't play forever. I believe that the Ravens will seriously consider their options at wide receiver and provide some more depth and more targets for Flacco, but in the end the selection of Konz makes sense. One, he can be the eventual successor at center for the Ravens and two, he is versatile enough that he can be used at the guard spot in the meantime.

30- San Francisco 49ers- Reuben Randall, WR, LSU - Niners fans have a lot to be excited for since Jim Harbaugh has seemingly resurrected this franchise. Despite going 13-3, they still aren't perfect and will have plenty of challenges from the other teams in their division. One weakness that they have attempted to address is the passing game. Alex Smith made huge strides, but the Niners still wound up with 29th best passing offense. Vernon Davis is a beast at tight end, but their top receiver currently is Michael Crabtree. He's been decent, but hasn't yet developed into the star receiver they thought he would be when they drafted him. The Niners did bring in both Randy Moss and Mario Manningham, which will make things interesting, but continuing the trend by bringing in yet another receiver to help things would be a good idea and Reuben Randall would be a great fit for them.

31- New England Patriots - Lavonte David, OLB, Nebraska - Word is that the Patriots may actually trade this pick. But if they decide not to trade it, then I believe they will once again go defense and select what is the top linebacker at this point in David. In this scenario, they have already used a pick on a defensive lineman, so grabbing another linebacker would make sense because with what is left on the board, grabbing a corner or safety would be a reach, so they will play it safe and use later picks to pick up a defensive back and a running back.

32- New York Giants -  Nick Perry, DE, USC - The Giants have a few needs that they could address with this pick. They desperately need a tight end, so Coby Fleener from Stanford makes a lot of sense. They also lost Brandon Jacobs to the Niners, so they really need to pick up a running back and while it would be a bit of a stretch, they could take Doug Martin from Boise State if they like him enough. However, when it comes down to it, I think they are going to use this pick to grab yet another defensive end. The Giants never shy away from taking a defensive lineman and it always seems to work out to their advantage. The case here comes with the uncertainty behind Osi Umenyiora. Drafting Nick Perry would give them some insurance there in case Osi is done with the Giants.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

2012 NFL Mock Draft - Part One

So I am a little bit late in getting this up, especially part two of this, which will cost me some views, I know, but nonetheless it is here. I like creating mock drafts because it makes following the draft that much more fun. And yes, I split this into two posts so that it is easier to read. If I were to keep it in one post, it would be awfully long and boring. So, without further ado, let us begin!

1- Indianapolis Colts - Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford - Earlier today, the Colts officially announced that they are going to take Andrew Luck with the first overall pick, so this here isn't a prediction, its me telling you what is going to happen. We all knew this was going to happen for a long time and so did the Colts. They didn't decide to cut their Hall of Fame quarterback to go take Matt Kalil or Trent Richardson. They have decided to start over and they hope that Luck can be their new franchise quarterback for them to build around. Luck is said to be the best quarterback prospect to come since Peyton Manning or John Elway, both of whom were drafted by the Colts, so the Colts sure do know when to lose. However, things aren't all flowery and peachy just because the Colts get Luck. The Colts were awful last season and Luck will most likely struggle in his first season just because he has nothing to work with. Its a long road for Luck and the Colts and their is no guarantee that Luck will turn out like Manning and save this franchise. With that said, I believe that Luck will be great and if the Colts can put the pieces together to help him, they can be back in playoff contention again in a few years.

2- Washington Redskins- Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor - This pick hasn't been officially announced like the Colts pick, but once again everyone knows who it is going to be. The Redskins made a huge risk to jump up to the number two spot with the intention of taking the Hiesman winner RG3. And I say huge risk because they traded three first round picks and one second round pick to get this guy. So if he doesn't end up being their star franchise quarterback, they have screwed themselves over big time and will be stuck in the NFC basement for 5-10 years. That's a lot of pressure on one man. They say RG3 has the potential to become what Michael Vick was supposed to be. I think in the long run, Andrew Luck will end up having the better career, but Griffin will probably have the better rookie season because he has slightly more to work with in Washington than Luck does in Indianapolis.

3- Minnesota Vikings - Matt Kalil, T, USC - This pick will come down to one of three players for the Vikings. Either the tackle Matt Kalil, the cornerback Morris Claiborne, or the receiver Justin Blackmon. Out of those three, either of those would be helpful for the Vikings, but Blackmon would be the least helpful at this point. They could afford to wait until the second or third round to grab one. The popular pick is Kalil because the Vikings' offensive line was one of the worst in the league last season. The tricky thing is that they also had one of the worst pass defenses, so both players would really help. I am picking Kalil because he seems like he could be a great player for a very long time and picking a corner third overall seems a bit high. Plus, if they ever want Christian Ponder to be a good quarterback, they are going to need to protect him.

4- Cleveland Browns - Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama - The Browns could use a lot of help and there are a lot of picks that make sense. If they were to draft Claiborne, then they would possibly have the best young cornerback tandems in the league and when you are playing in a division with the Steelers, Ravens, and Bengals, that could come in handy. However, I really feel that they need the most help on offense. Some claim that they should draft Tannehill, but one I think it is way too high for Tannehill and two I don't think that the Browns are ready to give up on Colt McCoy just yet. Instead they should give him some weapons because he has none. Blackmon would make a lot of sense here, but the key with this pick is that the Browns also have another pick in this first round and there should be some top receivers left there and with Trent Richardson still on the board, going with that route would be best. Personally I think it would be a bad decision to pass on Richardson. The man is a beast and could quickly become one of the top running backs in the league here within a few years.

5- Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU - With this pick, the Bucs will be more worried about what the Vikings do than what the Browns do. The Bucs want to pick either Trent Richardson or Morris Claiborne. If the Vikings end up taking Claiborne then both players they want will be gone and the Bucs will be in a tough situation, but if the Vikings go with Kalil then the Bucs will just pick the player that the Browns don't pick. Trent Richardson would be ideal and there is a possibility that they could swap spots with the Vikings to get him because a Richardson and Blount duo would be scary. But in this mock, the Browns take him and so the Bucs won't be upset and grabbing a top corner in Claiborne. Blackmon could be an option, but with the Bucs signing Vincent Jackson, they will probably go elsewhere with this pick.

6- St Louis Rams - Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma St - The Rams really played their cards well in this draft. They could've stayed at number two and been guaranteed the guy they wanted, but there was enough teams that wanted to trade up to the two spot to grab RG3 so the Rams traded down to six and thus gained two additional first round picks and a second round pick. The best part is that they will get the guy they wanted anyways. Now as a Rams fan, I have wanted the Rams to get a good receiver for several years now and now they will finally get that guy in Blackmon. Sam Bradford needs weapons and Blackmon has a good chance of developing into Bradford's number one target. Yes, there is a chance that Blackmon is gone by now as the Vikings, Browns, and Bucs will all think hard about taking him and if that is the case either Claiborne or Kalil will fall to the Rams and either one of those guys will be a great consolation prize.

7- Jacksonville Jaguars - Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame - The Jaguars' offensive line this past year didn't do a very good job at all in protecting Luke McCown an Blaine Gabbert and they could also use some help in their pass rushing on defense. It is also reported that they are seriously considering drafting Stephon Gilmore, so it is apparent that the coaching staff isn't too terribly happy with the secondary either. But when I look at the Jaguars the biggest glaring need that I see is their receiving corps. Can you name their top receiver? The tight end Marcedes Lewis led the team in receiving yards with 460. In terms of actual wide receivers, not including tight ends, the leading receiver was Mike Thomas with 415. Selecting Michael Floyd might be a risk due to some injury and character concerns, but its a risk that the Jags need to take because if Gabbert never has anyone to throw to, he will end up as a quick bust because that rookie season of his was horrid.

8- Miami Dolphins - Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M - The Dolphins really don't have much of a choice here with this pick. They officially gave up on Chad Henne  and Matt Moore will never be greater than a backup. They desperately tried to bring in a big name quarterback but failed on Peyton Manning, Matt Flynn, and Alex Smith. So they settled with David Garrard, who flopped for the Jags and didn't play any football last year. Tannehill is an interesting prospect because he started his college career at receiver before switching to quarterback and only has one full season at quarterback, so because of that he is a huge risk, but he did play really well that senior season and is a guy with his head screwed on straight. If someone happens to trade up and take Tannehill before the Dolphins have a chance, Brandon Marshall leaving makes the Dolphins really thin at receiver and they could also use a pass rusher as well.

9- Carolina Panthers - Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College - Cam Newton played really well in his rookie and gives this team a lot of hope for the future, given Newton can learn not to turn the ball over as much. The one thing that would really help the Panthers is to give Newton a few more weapons because while Steve Smith was really good last year, he was playing football still back when Abraham Lincoln was elected president, so he doesn't have too many years left and the Panthers don't have any other receivers that are that great. That said, with Floyd gone in this mock, any other receiver is too big of a reach and the Panthers need defense. Ron Rivera is a defensive minded coach and the Panthers didn't play well on defense, so he probably wants to fix that. The could either go with Luke Kuechly or Fletcher Cox with this pick, but I predict they go with the linebacker here. Kuechly has a knack of always being where the ball is and would fill a huge whole that was left when Dan Conner walked in free agency.

10- Buffalo Bills - Riley Reiff, T, Iowa - The Bills are another team that would benefit from an additional receiver on their roster. Ryan Fitzpatrick did good and Stevie Johnson proved to be a solid number one, but Johnson can't catch all the passes and they could could an upgrade over David Nelson as a number two receiver, so Michael Floyd would be a great fit, but as he is gone in this mock, the tackle position is another position that the Bills need given that Demetress Bell left and Riley Reiff is a great value pick when it comes to the tackles available. Now there are reports that Kalil could fall in the draft and end up available here for the Bills, which would be their dream pick, but that probably won't happen.

11- Kansas City Chiefs - David DeCastro, G, Stanford - The word on the street is that the Chiefs really want to draft a guard and right now in this draft, their dream has come true as DeCastro would be the best fit for them. Guards usually don't go that high, but there is always an exception to the rule. There is a chance that they go for a DT in this draft since Kelly Gregg is ancient now. They could also go for other defensive players based on a best player available route with Poe and Cox still on the board here, but DeCastro seems logical for now

12- Seattle Seahawks - Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina - The receiving corps for Seattle this year was quite poor and the Seahawks could really use a receiver with this pick. This is yet another spot that Michael Floyd would work well in. If he is not available at this point, the Seahawks may consider moving down or if they decide not to, they may decide to use this pick to help with defense. Ingram is a great player that would help them get to the quarterbacks of other teams more, which is something the Seahawks could use. Quinton Coples might be the better talent, but character issues could cause him to drop in the draft. Help on the offensive line might also be a good idea for the Seahawks.

13- Arizona Cardinals - Cordy Glenn, T, Georgia - The Cards could easily go receiver here. Larry Fitzgerald told the team that he would love to play with Michael Floyd, but he may not get his wish. A pass rusher would also be helpful whether it be a defensive end like Ingram or Coples, or an outside linebacker in Courtney Upshaw. However, I think the smartest thing for them to do would be to get an offensive lineman and Cordy Glenn is great because of his versatility. He started his college career playing guard and finished by playing tackle, so he could fit in to wherever the Cards want to place him.

14- Dallas Cowboys - Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi St - At this point in the draft the Cowboys are super stoked because the two most glaring needs that they need to take care of come in the secondary, safety specifically, and the interior of their defensive line. Mark Barron at safety and Fletcher Cox at defensive tackle are two players that the Cowboys would really want to select that could easily be gone right now, but in this mock are still here. Fletcher Cox would be the biggest steal at 14, so if he falls to them here I don't see how they pass him up. If both players are gone, they could decide to go the offensive line route.

15- Philadelphia Eagles - Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis - The Eagles were everyone's early pick to go to the Super Bowl after all that they picked up during the offseason, but sadly it didn't work out and part of that was due to a could be better rush defense. Another big body added to that defensive line could really help them. Plus, Andy Reid seems to have a history of drafting lineman, especially defensive lineman, so this pick would make sense. Dontari Poe was a player who was up and down in college but started to shoot up draft boards after a stellar workout. This could lead to him being a risky pick causing a slight slide from what some project, but the Eagles because of the reasons I stated before could be the team that decides to take a chance on him.

16- New York Jets - Mark Barron, S, Alabama - Mark Barron could easily be gone by now, but if he is still here, this would be a great pick for the Jets as they need help at safety. LeRon Landry was only signed to a one year deal and is an injury prone safety, so some insurance there would be nice. Also, the Jets have issues at wide receiver. All they really have is Santonio Holmes and a currently unsigned 35 year old Plaxico Burress. If Michael Floyd falls this far, don't expect him to make it past here. The Jets will also take a serious look at other receivers such as Stephen Hill and Kendall Wright before making a final decision on who to take. 

Continued here:

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Mirror Mirror Review

"Mirror mirror on the wall, which Snow White movie coming out this year will be the best one of all?"

"What my dear boy? Why do you need to even ask this question? There really is only one Snow White movie coming out this year because the other one is a complete joke of a movie that is an embarrassment to the Snow White franchise. If it weren't for a few select good aspects, it would be an utter pile of garbage."

Yes, I saw Mirror Mirror recently on a fun Mother/Son outing with my mom and my opinion of it wasn't very high at all, if you didn't catch that from my first paragraph. Now if you didn't know this already, there is a slight Snow White fetish this year in Hollywood with two Snow White movies coming out this year. The more broad fairy tale fetish will continue next year with spin offs of Hansel and Gretel as well as Jack and the Bean Stalk. But I digress. This Snow White was intended as a light-hearted movie directed towards the younger crowd while the other is a Lord of the Rings esque movie directed towards adults. Mirror Mirror is the one that is directed towards kids.

The first issue I have correlates with the idea that this is a kids movie. Yes it is PG and no it doesn't deserve PG-13, but if I'm a parent, I'm not taking my younger kids to see this and I'm certainly not buying it as a movie for my 5 year old to watch over and over because it really isn't appropriate for that young age. A few examples. Snow White's outfits all show off cleavage. The dwarfs like making their captives take off their clothes, no there is no nudity and yes all the victims of this are wearing long underwear, but it still happens. One of these scenes has two males hanging chest to chest in their underwear. Then there is a scene where Julia Roberts is getting ready for the day and in what I guess is her wanting to feel evil, she spreads bird poop all over her face and uses several bugs like worms and scorpions to help her prepare. She is covered good enough with a few towels, but does show off a lot of skin in the process. Then there is a scene where the prince is acting like a dog due to a potion and jumps on the queen while she is on her bed and starts liking her in the face. Just small dumb things like that are scattered throughout the movie that are not a big deal for mature audiences, but for younger kids that the movie is directed to its not appropriate. When I get married and have a family, this is not a movie I will ever buy for my kids to watch.

Moving on, I have more things to complain about. First the story. I don't need to tell you what its about. Its Snow White. But if this were my first ever exposure to Snow White, I may never want to watch a Snow White movie again. The way they did things just made it dumb. I didn't like the story in this, even though I like Snow White. Part of the problem was the cast. Ok, scratch that. A huge part of that was the cast. It just didn't fit. Julia Roberts as the evil queen was just completely awful. The prince bothered me. There was a scene where the Queen turns his personality into that of a dog and throws something out of the window for him to fetch. In that scene I was hoping he would jump out of the window and kill himself. He certainly had zero chemistry with Snow White. The queen's little henchman was annoying. He got turned into a cockroach halfway through. I was really hoping he would get smashed.  On top of that, the script was overly cheesy and bad. It tried to be funny the whole movie and I think I chuckled once or twice and that was it. Really dumb. For the most part, the acting was also terrible. Especially Julia Roberts. Boy she bothered me. I think this could easily be the worst movie that she has ever done. My seven year old niece could've made a more convincing evil queen. And the costume work? Not horrible. But a little overdone and fake at times I thought. Yes I know that this is not supposed to be a action movie like Snow White and the Huntsman, but the battle scenes in this movie could've been a whole lot better.

Going into this movie, I had very low expectations. Was it as bad as I thought it would be? Surprisingly no. It's not the worst movie of the year so far. Those of you who liked the movie and are getting frustrated that I am doing nothing but ripping the movie to shreds, take a sigh of relief as I will now mention things I enjoyed, proving that I am not being biased and just hating it because I thought I would. The cinematography in this movie was great. Also along that lines, the visuals were also quite good and the music was decent. There was also a few characters that I did like. Now a quick minor *SPOILER ALERT*, the best actor in the movie by far is Sean Penn. Sadly enough, he only gets like ten minutes of screen time at the end of the movie. He does an excellent job and portrays his character quite well (check out IMDb if you want to know who he plays). Also a close second is Snow White. I really think Lily Collins is quite fantastic. She was believable and likable, unlike the rest of the cast. Also in the classic line "who is the fairest of them all?" she certainly fits those requirements. Now I am not a huge enough Snow White nerd to know how old Snow White is supposed to be in the story, but in this story Snow White is 18. Despite being 23, Lily Collins did look like an 18 year old girl and to me that seemed a bit young, but maybe that's how its supposed to be. Her eyebrows are also a bit big, but that's just me being nit picky. She did a great job. It was just one of those times where you have a great actor in the midst of a terrible film and you kinda feel bad for them because of it. I would say that they should flip-flop Snow Whites and use Lily in the Huntsman and Kristen Stewart in this one (she would fit well with by continuing the trend in Mirror Mirror of horribly casted characters), but I don't think she would quite fit in the role of hardcore warrior Snow White (I don't think Kristen Stewart does either, but that's a subject for another day). Light hearted fairly tale Snow White fits her well. Last but not least I have to mention the dwarfs. By the end of the movie they actually grew on me and were my only means of laughter from the film.

So that is that. If you are thinking of seeing this movie, I would personally recommend skipping it and saving your money for what should be a much better Snow White movie with Snow White and the Huntsman. If you insist on seeing it, then at least do me a favor and wait for the Dollar Theater or Red Box. I give this movie a 4 out of 10, mostly because of Lily Collins.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Donkey Kong Country 1 & 2 - SNES

I don't know about you, but personally the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) was a decently big part of my childhood. It was the game system that I grew up on. I remember when I was five or six on Christmas Day walking in to the front room before I was supposed to and learning that Santa had given us a Super Nintendo. I was very excited. So excited that I ran into the kitchen where everyone else was beginning to gather around the table to eat breakfast and announcing to my family that we had a Super Nintendo. They were all annoyed that I had spoiled it to them (I was one of the younger ones), but I couldn't help myself. So growing up that was our gaming system. We never had a Sega, N64, Playstation, or anything else. Just that Super Nintendo. Now yes, we would eventually get a Gamecube and a Wii, but that wasn't until make later. So to this day, the Super Nintendo is probably my favorite gaming system because it brings back a lot of great memories and the games on it are just so fun in a classic and non-complex sort of way.

So what is the point of this you are asking? Well, one of my favorite games was Donkey Kong Country and recently I have gone back and played it again. On my laptop with a SNES emulator. So its not quite the same, but it is still way fun. After beating it again, I made the decision to record the end part of the game. So in answering the question of what is the purpose of this, the real point is to unveil my two new YouTube videos I have just unloaded of me doing just what I mentioned. Recording the end credits. Now you may find it silly or boring, but I actually enjoy watching the end credits of Donkey Kong Country. One, it is brings great feelings of accomplishment. Two, the classic SNES music is just great. And three, its more than just credits, there is also a parade of characters and a lecture from Cranky that makes it mildly entertaining. So here it is. The end credits of Donkey Kong Country. Maybe it will bring back great memories and feelings of nostalgia as you watch. Or maybe it will just give you something to make fun of me for. 'Adam, you really just recorded the end credits to a video game and put them up on your YouTube account? You are an idiot!' But anywho, the deed is done and I am sharing. :) Here it is:

Now you may recall that I did in fact say I had two videos to unveil. Yes, after beating Donkey Kong Country, I decided to take on Donkey Kong Country 2. The second game isn't quite as epic and classic to me as the first one, but it is still a fun game. Donkey himself is not a playable character, as the story line is that he's been captured and you have to save him, but Diddy and Dixie are both fun characters. Now the second game is also slightly more complex and more difficult. The end credits are also a lot more elaborate than the first as you will see. But like I said, the game is still fun! Here is the end credits video of it that I have posted:

So there we go. That will be a wrap for today. Yes, I am just promoting my videos with that and I am perfectly ok with that. While you are checking these out, you might as well my other YouTube videos. There is a total of 7 of them. My channel is alienator345.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Movie Preview - April 2012

We've been on a roll so far this year with record months in February and March. When all is said and done, February of this year will have given us three $100M movies. The Vow and Safe house have been at that mark for a while now while Journey 2 is knocking on the door with $98.5M. Last year there was only one movie, Just Go With It, that topped $100M in February, and that barely accomplished the feat. March of 2011 only had one movie top $100M as well, as Rango led last March's group with $123M. This year when the dust is settled we will end up with one $300M movie (Hunger Games), one $200M movie (Lorax), and at least one $100M (21 Jump Street). Can April keep this positive Box Office trend going?  Well, May will be huge and so will this summer, but at the looks of things, 2012 will cool off a touch as we pass through April. Lets take a look at what these four weekends have in store for us.

April 6th - 8th- Barring some surprise movie later in the month, this first weekend of April will be the biggest weekend of the month as it's two releases are possibly the only two movies that have a shot at breaking the $100M mark. First up, and releasing on Wednesday the 4th instead of Friday, is the 3D re-release of Titanic. This will be the 3rd re-release of the year and 4th since September. The most recent two re-releases didn't perform that well, but if I'm making a guess, I would say that Titanic fares closer to the Lion King in its success simply because of how popular it is. Personally I don't get the hype with it. It's just a 3 hour long chick flick that ends tragically and is placed in a historical setting. Yes, I can see how it can be popular, but not $600M popular. But that's just me. The same crowd that flocked to it before will probably flock to it again. And I don't know, maybe there will be a bunch of guys going that want to see if Kate Winslet looks even better in 3D, if you know what I mean. I personally will not be seeing it, if you didn't guess that already. But people will. And it only needs $160M to top Avatar domestically. Will it get that? I don't think so, but it will be fun to see how close it gets. The other release this weekend is is another movie I'll be skipping - American Reunion, the latest in the American Pie series. The American Pie movies do have a big fan base as all the previous three that hit theaters topped $100M, so the chances  that this one follows suite is pretty good. Although it could end up like a Scream 4 and just crash, but probably not. $40 million on the weekend will be enough for one of these two movies to dethrone The Hunger Games, as The Hunger Games will land somewhere in the 30M range on its third weekend. The likelihood of that happening is pretty good, although I don't know which one it will be.

April 13th - 15th- The most intriguing movie of this particular weekend in my opinion comes with the remake of The Three Stooges. Now my initial reaction to this is probably the same type of reaction that you and others have had. Why? The Three Stooges is a classic old TV series that many people love and deciding to do a new movie remake is quite daring because if it fails, people will be crying for your head. My initial thought is that this will be a dumb movie. However, the more I think about it, the more I am willing to guess that this movie will surprise people. Not that it is smart to trust one early user review on IMDb, but there is one up by someone who thought it would be dumb and ended up loving it. Another thing I didn't notice at first is that this movie is directed by the Farrelly brothers, who most people would them best for Dumb and Dumber. So could this movie turn out to be a really funny movie with a Dumb and Dumber feel? I think that is quite possible. Challenging The Three Stooges this weekend may seem like a randomly placed horror film in The Cabin in the Woods. However, randomly placed it is not as this weekend is Friday the 13th. So anyone who wants to see if this movie will give them a good scare, might want to give this movie a shot. The premise of the movie is pretty basic. You could probably look at the title and guess what it's about. There is a group of five friends that go to a cabin in the woods. Being a horror movie, its obvious that something goes wrong during their visit. It's written and produced by Joss Whedon and even includes Chris Hemsworth in the cast, both of whom will have a huge movie called The Avengers coming out a few weeks after this if you didn't know that already. Lastly, adding to a varied weekend is the action movie Lockout. Lockout has Guy Pearce teaming up with Lost star Maggie Grace and is about a man who is given a shot at freedom after being wrongly accused of a crime. To gain that freedom, he has to save the President's daughter from an outer space prison that is full of extremely violent inmates. It could be a good one for those wanting to get their action dose of the month.

April 20th - 22nd - This third weekend in April looks to be the weakest of April, thus opening the door for one of the movies from the previous weekend to take charge at number one if the holdover is good enough. But nonetheless, there are three new releases. One documentary and two book adaptions. Chimpanzee is the documentary coming from DisneyNature. If you remember African Cats from last year, it will probably be the same type of movie as that. And just like African Cats, it won't make much of a dent or scratch at all in the Box Office, but if you are interested in that type of movie, then be my guest. Tim Allen is the narrator. Now as far as the two book adaptions, I have read neither, so if you have you should be the one telling me about them, but the first one that looks like it will be the most successful release of the weekend is The Lucky One. The Lucky One is a novel by Nicholas Sparks who is best known for The Notebook and Dear John. It is about a marine who, after just serving in three tours in Iraq, travels to North Carolina to find the unknown girl who he believes was his good luck charm during the war. It stars Zac Efron and Taylor Schilling in the lead roles. Girls will be probably be swarming to this one as it looks to be the chick flick of the month. Last up for this weekend is Think Like a Man, which comes from the book by Steve Harvey. The movie is a comedy starring Chris Brown, Gabrielle Union, and Kevin Hart and the premise is that four friends decide to conspire to turn the tables on their women when they learn that the women have been using Steve Harvey's relationship advise against them.

April 27th - 29th - The final weekend in April has four movies coming out that are daring enough to open the weekend before the Avengers. They better hope that their grosses in this weekend are good because their is a good chance they get swallowed up when the entire country decides to go to the Avengers. First up are a couple of March cast-offs. And by that I mean two movies who were originally scheduled to release in March but shied away from those dates due to a very busy March, which will probably turn out to be a smart decision given the success of March. The first of those two that I will talk about is The Raven. The Raven is a fictional movie about Edgar Alan Poe. Now I say fiction because I assume that there wasn't a time in Poe's life where all of his stories came to life and haunted him and those around him. It looks like it is quite the thriller as it got slapped with an R rating for bloody violence and grisly images. The other March cast-off is The Pirates! Band of Misfits. This looks like a fun family animated film that all the kids and many adults should enjoy. It is the animation style of Chicken Run and Wallace and Gromit. Now recently that type of animated movie hasn't done extremely well in the Box Office, but it should be decent with somewhere between $50M and $75M. It has been well advertised, so that should help it. Finishing off April, we have a pair of R rated movies for certain crowds to enjoy. The first of those two is The Five-Year Engagement. This movie is of the R rated comedy genre and features Jason Segal and Emily Blunt. The plot is self explanatory as the tagline reads, "A comedy about the journey in between popping the question and tying the knot." Personally, I hope my engagement doesn't last five years, but that's just a random side note. Last up for this April review is Safe. Safe is a high-powered action movie about a former agent who is trying to rescue a Chinese girl who was kidnapped by the Triads and then using a safe combination to outwit the Russian mofia, corrupt NYC officials, and the Triads.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Wrath of the Titans Review

To be perfectly honest, Wrath of the Titans wasn't a movie that I was extremely interested in. My original plan was to catch it in the dollar theater, rent it on RedBox, or something like that. However, I ended up spending the weekend at my parent's house where there was a cheap theater and with nothing else to do on a Saturday night my brother and I decided that we were going to see a movie. Wrath was our choice. Being completely honest, right off the bat I will tell you that this was a terrible movie, but it fulfilled its purpose. It's a pure guy's movie. The exact opposite of a chick flick, if there's an official term for that. A brainless, action-packed movie with sweet special effects and explosions.

Wrath of the Titans is the sequel to Clash of the Titans if you didn't catch that yet. And to give you a bit of an insight to my perspective with this review, I actually enjoyed Clash of the Titans more than most people. Now I don't actually remember a whole ton about it, which does kinda say something about the movie, but that is besides the point. I enjoyed it. With Wrath I didn't come in with high expectations. What I did expect was a movie that was like Clash and I was thus preparing myself to be mildly entertained. And I was, but it was not what I was expecting. While Clash wasn't great, it at least had somewhat of a good story line in addition to some decent acting, good characters, and good character development, with some action thrown in there. What wrath does is go almost completely against that. Somewhere along the lines, the movie makers decided that they didn't need much of a story line and they didn't need great characters that developed as the movie went along. They decided that action and effects were all they needed in this one and that is exactly what they did.

Now, I can enjoy a good pure action movie, but I am a sucker for a story line. To me having a good story line is the most important part of the movie. That is what you are doing. You are telling me a story. I don't come to the theaters just to see things blow up or see people kill each other in battle. I want a good convincing story that I get sucked into and connect with. That is what Wrath missed the mark on. Their story was terrible and for me it ruined the movie. Now, I won't tell you the whole story line, but here is the basic premise. Ten years after the events of Clash, Perseus is still living with his son in the small town they are in after his wife died. One day Zeus comes to him in desperation. The people have stopped praying to the Gods and that is thus causing them to lose their power. So they need to do something about it. Well, Perseus decided that he wants to stay put and so Zeus decides that it is a good idea to go down to his brother Hades, with his other brother Poseidon and son Ares because that is going to solve the problem. And of course going down to Hades backfires and the all powerful Zeus is now prisoner to Hades. Then Perseus decides for once in his life that he is going to go to the temple and pray with his son. That's where he finds that his dad is in trouble so its time for a rescue mission down to hell to save daddy. Perseus also brings some comrades with him on his journey, Andromeda, Agenor, and Hephaestus. Oh yeah, Hades releases the Titans again. Or at least one of them, the Titans leader Kronos, the father of Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon. Which now I know that the father of these great Gods is a sweet looking lava monster. And yes, Gods can die. They turn into sand and melt when they do. 

Can you tell that I wasn't a huge fan of this story that was being told to me? I thought it was weird and awkward. I got bored of it during several places and found myself dozing off a couple of times, which is never a good sign. On top of that, I saw very little character development. And the acting was surprisingly not very good in my opinion. It wasn't horrid, but it also wasn't great and I am usually one that likes Liam Neesen. This was the first movie of his that I thought his performance was flat. The same goes with all of the other actors of which included some good ones with Sam Worthington, Ralph Fiennes, and Bill Nighy in addition to Neesen. None were great. Also, I am not one that knows a whole lot about Greek mythology, but I am pretty sure the only accurate thing this movie had was the correct names. It felt like the film makers knew just about as much Greek mythology as I do. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong about this, I would be interested to learn. Now there were some good aspects of this movie. The action was great. Lots of fun to watch. And it had really good effects with good cinematography. The music was also decent. I wasn't wowed by it, but it was good. And for those reasons, I did enjoy myself. Like I said earlier, it fulfilled its purposes by satisfying my needs for the night.

So in conclusion, if you want to see a brainless action-packed movie and having a bad story line or poor character development doesn't bother you, then you would enjoy this movie and I recommend you see it. Otherwise, I recommend you skip it or wait till it hits the dollar theater / RedBox to see it. I'm giving it a 5 out of 10.