Thursday, November 29, 2012

2012 NFL Predictions: December

Time is running out on our NFL season and being that December starts this upcoming weekend, it's time for me to reveal my last updated predictions of the regular season. Usually in the NFL, the last month will include some really tight divisional races, but the way its worked out this year is that essentially all the divisional races are over. Barring some crazy breakdowns, the Patriots, Ravens, Texans, Broncos, Giants, Falcons, and 49ers will all be division champs. The one division still up in the air is the NFC North where the Bears and Packers will be fighting it out this month. The most interesting races this month will be happening with both wild card races. In the AFC we have a three headed race between the Colts, Bengals, and Steelers. The Bengals are on the rise, the Steelers are in bad need of Ben Roethlisberger, and the Colts still have two games against the Texans on the docket, so this is anyone's game. It gets more confusing in the NFC as there are six teams within one game of each other all fighting for the final spot. Seahawks, Bucs, and Vikings stand slightly ahead at 6-5 while the Saints, Cowboys, and Redskins are all at 5-6. Here is how I think it will all play out.

Regular Season Predictions


AFC East
z-New England Patriots - 13-3
Miami Dolphins - 7-9
Buffalo Bills - 7-9
New York Jets - 6-10

AFC North
z-Baltimore Ravens - 11-5
y-Pittsburgh Steelers - 9-7
Cincinnati Bengals - 8-8
Cleveland Browns - 5-11

AFC South
*-Houston Texans - 14-2
y-Indianapolis Colts - 8-8
Tennessee Titans - 6-10
Jacksonville Jaguars - 3-13

AFC West
z-Denver Broncos - 12-4
San Diego Chargers - 7-9
Oakland Raiders - 5-11
Kansas City Chiefs - 2-14


NFC East
z-New York Giants - 11-5
Dallas Cowboys - 8-8
Washington Redskins - 7-9
Philadelphia Eagles - 5-11

NFC North
z-Chicago Bears - 12-4
y-Green Bay Packers - 10-6
Detroit Lions - 8-8
Minnesota Vikings - 8-8

NFC South
*-Atlanta Falcons - 13-3
Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 9-7
New Orleans Saints - 6-10
Carolina Panthers - 6-10

NFC West
z-San Francisco 49ers - 10-5-1
y-Seattle Seahawks - 9-7
St. Louis Rams - 6-9-1
Arizona Cardinals - 4-12

x - clinched playoffs
y - clinched wild card
z - clinched division
* - clinched division and homefield advantage 

Playoff Predictions

Wild Card Round
3- Denver Broncos - W
6- Indianapolis Colts - L

4- Baltimore Ravens - L
5- Pittsburgh Steelers - W

3- New York Giants - W
6- Seattle Seahawks - L

4- San Francisco 49ers - L
5- Green Bay Packers - W

Divisional Round
1- Houston Texans - W
5- Pittsburgh Steelers - L

2- New England Patriots - L
3- Denver Broncos - W

1- Atlanta Falcons - L
5- Green Bay Packers - W

2- Chicago Bears - L
3- New York Giants - W

Championship Round
1- Houston Texans - W
3- Denver Broncos - L

3- New York Giants - L
5- Green Bay Packers - W

Super Bowl XLVII
1- Houston Texans
5- Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Predicted Draft Order

1- Kansas City Chiefs
2- Jacksonville Jaguars
3- Arizona Cardinals
4- Oakland Raiders
5- Cleveland Browns
6- Philadelphia Eagles
7- New York Jets
8- New Orleans Saints
9- Tennessee Titans
10- Carolina Panthers
11- St. Louis Rams
12- San Diego Chargers
13- Buffalo Bills
14- Miami Dolphins
15- Washington Redskins
16- Cincinnati Bengals
17- Dallas Cowboys
18- Minnesota Vikings
19- Detroit Lions
20- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
21- Indianapolis Colts
22- Seattle Seahawks
23- San Francisco 49ers
24- Baltimore Ravens
25- Pittsburgh Steelers
26- Chicago Bears
27- Atlanta Falcons
28- New England Patriots
29- New York Giants
30- Denver Broncos
31- Green Bay Packers
32- Houston Texans

For any questions, comments, concerns, or random emotional outbursts, please leave a comment below. Also check out my weekly power rankings for my thoughts on each individual team.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

2012 NFL Power Rankings: Week 13

1- Houston Texans - 10-1 (+0) - That is now two straight games that it took the Texans overtime to beat a team that they shouldn't have had a huge problem with. And had the refs made the correct call on the 80 yard touchdown run (should've only been a five yard run), the Lions would've most likely got the Thanksgiving win. The Texans have a date in New England with the Patriots in a couple of weeks, so they need to get themselves back on track.

2- New England Patriots - 8-3 (+1) - With a 49-19 Thanksgiving beatdown against the Jets, the Patriots have now averaged 47.5 PPG over their last four games. The thing that other teams should be scared of is that in this past game, the defense actually showed up and made plays. Sure, it was against a team without an offense, but still. 

3- San Francisco 49ers - 8-2-1 (+3) - The Niners looked really good against the Saints and the confusing thing is that Kaepernick looked really good in the process. I say confusing because now the Niners have themselves a quarterback controversy going into December. Not something that usually happens when you are an 8-2 team going into December. I'd still say give it to Smith come playoff time. As good as Kaepernick looks, he has no playoff experience and that could be a deal breaker for the Niners in a tough NFC.

4- Denver Broncos - 8-3 (+0) - That was a minor bump in the road for the Broncos as the Chiefs decided that they wanted to play spoiler on Sunday. Losses to the Texans and the Patriots earlier in the season may come back to bite them as they try to fight for a first round bye in the playoffs.

5- Atlanta Falcons - 10-1 (+0) - The Falcons barely escaped yet again this week but this time it was actually impressive because the team they barely beat was a hot Bucs team. It was their first impressive win since week two against the Broncos. They have games against the Saints and Giants in  the next three weeks, so they'll actually get tested.

6- Baltimore Ravens - 9-2 (-4) - With the Steelers struggling, the Ravens have the division locked down, but that was a sloppy game they played in San Diego. If they play like that against the Texans, Broncos, or Patriots during the playoffs they are going to be an early exit, so they need to pick it up.

7- Chicago Bears - 8-3 (+0) - It's quite noticeable what a difference Jay Cutler means for this team. He was out for a game and a half and they look sloppy and awful. He comes back and once again they look like a scary team to play. But they got hurt with injuries to other key players on Sunday, so we'll see if they can make it through that.

8- New York Giants - 7-4 (+5) - Something went very right for the Giants during that bye week because that was an impressive turnaround. Thanks to that clobbering against the Packers combined with the Cowboys losing on Thanksgiving, they are back in control of that division.

9- Green Bay Packers - 7-4 (-1) - If you payed attention to my power rankings the last few weeks, you knew that I thought the Packers were overrated. I didn't think they were a top five team and that showed on Sunday. However, I still think they will be fine. They'll shake this loss off and make a run in the playoffs.

10- Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 6-5 (+0) - That was really a heartbreaking loss for the Bucs. Had they come through in the end against the Falcons, they'd be in the drivers seat to make a wild card spot. It's a good thing for them that the Seahawks and Vikings also got losses.

11- Indianapolis Colts - 7-4 (+0) - It may have only been against the lowly Bills, but the Colts bounced back after that embarrassing showing against the Pats. They have the Bengals right on their tail and with two games against the Texans left as well as the Lions next week, this AFC wild card race will be interesting.

12- Cincinnati Bengals - 6-5 (+4) - The Bengals have been a very streaky team this season and lucky for them, they are streaking in the right way right now. Add to that a favorable schedule and they could pull off a playoff spot, especially with the state of the Steelers and the young Colts team as their only competition.

13- Seattle Seahawks - 6-5 (-4) - They couldn't afford that loss to the Dolphins this week, but lucky for them everyone else in contention for the NFC Wild Card also lost. It won't get much easier for them as the are travelling to Chicago next week. After that three of their last four games are against their division, of which they are 0-3 so far.

14- Pittsburgh Steelers - 6-5 (-2) - The Steelers really need Ben Roethlisberger back because the last two weeks without him has been awful. They have had 11 turnovers in his absence, 8 of them against the Browns last week. If they don't get him back soon, the Bengals will quickly pass them up and won't look back. The two teams are already tied, with the tiebreaker going to the Steelers.
15- Minnesota Vikings - 6-5 (-1) - The Vikings are the third team tied up in the NFC wild card mess, but it looks like they will be the odd team out. They got in the way of a Bears team that was hungry to turn things around and now they get the same situation with a Packers just got clobbered by the Giants. To make things worse, after the Packers game, the get the Bears again.

16- New Orleans Saints - 5-6 (-1) - It looks like the Saints are done. They really needed that win against the Niners Sunday, but didn't get it and now get rewarded with a two game road trip against the Falcons and Giants starting tomorrow night.

17- Washington Redskins - 5-6 (+5) - RG3 is back! Two straight weeks of ridiculously good games might get the Redskins fans hopes up. They are going to need a ton of help though if they want to make the playoffs, especially since the Giants look like they are back on track.

18- Dallas Cowboys - 5-6 (-1) - It's amazing how fast things can change. Last week at this time, they had a legitimate shot at the division. One week later, after a Cowboy loss to the Redskins and a Giants blowout of the Packers, the Cowboys are probably done. 

19- Miami Dolphins - 5-6 (+2) - That was a nice win against the Seahawks on Sunday, but with back to back wins against the Patriots and Niners, the playoffs are a long shot. If they do make it though, it would be well deserved.

20- Detroit Lions - 4-7 (-2) - A valiant effort against the Texans on Thanksgiving. But in the NFL all that counts is wins and losses and the Lions now have three losses in a row. What a disappointing followup to last year's breakout season.

21- San Diego Chargers - 4-7 (-2) - It's 4th and 26. All you need to do in order to win the game against the Ravens is prevent the first down. But yet the Chargers can't do it. Yeah, its been that kind of season for the Chargers. It's still been since week two that they've won a game against a team other than the Chiefs.

22- St. Louis Rams - 4-6-1 (+4) - The Rams have been quite the bipolar team, but I suppose they just have a thing against their division in which they are still undefeated. Next week we will get a Rams vs Niners rematch that will hopefully not end up in a useless tie.

23- Buffalo Bills - 4-7 (-3) - Any hope of a surprise playoff run ended this past week as the Bills dropped a game to the Colts. The season will end with yet another disappointing year for this squad.

24- Tennessee Titans - 4-7 (+0) - They had a week off to figure out which team they were and the answer comes with them getting taken down by the one win Jaguars. That was rather embarrassing.

25- New York Jets - 4-7 (+0) - The Jets gave the Patriots trouble the first time the two teams met this season, but this time around it was quite the polar opposite as the Pats have been on fire since that first Jets game. The Jets need to forget about that Thanksgiving night and move forward because they have a winnable schedule ahead of them.

26- Arizona Cardinals - 4-7 (-3) - Remember when the Cardinals were undefeated this year? Yeah, neither did I. They have now lost seven games in a row. It's a battle of the losers this week as the Cardinals travel to New York to play the Jets.

27- Carolina Panthers - 3-8 (+3) - After all those close losses, it is a relief that the Panthers finally hung on and won a close game in the fourth quarter. Too bad it was only against the Eagles who forgot how to win games.

28- Cleveland Browns - 3-8 (+1) - Each of the Steelers running backs fumbled the ball on Sunday in addition to Charlie Batch throwing a few interceptions. They turned the ball over eight times total. And the Browns only won by six. But hey, a win's a win and the Browns will take what they can get. Can they make it two in a row against the NFL's most giving defense?

29- Philadelphia Eagles - 3-8 (-1) - I wonder who's going to win a game first, the Eagles or the Cardinals. Both teams won in week four and haven't won since. Now both teams will get two game road trips coming up, so start placing your bets!

30- Oakland Raiders - 3-8 (-3) - Carson Palmer whined his way out of Cincinnati for this? I wonder if he was wishing he was still retired. The Raiders have given up 42 PPG in their current four game losing streak.

31- Jacksonville Jaguars - 2-9 (+0) - That's two weeks in a row where Chad Henne has played quite well, this time getting a win over the Titans. Four of their last five games are winnable games, so we'll see how far Henne can take this team.

32- Kansas City Chiefs - 1-10 (+0) - They actually put of a fight against the Broncos on Sunday, which was surprising. That is their defense did. But a loss is still a loss and the Chiefs become the first team this year to get to double digit losses.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Life of Pi Review

I wasn't quite sure what to expect as I went into Life of Pi earlier this week. All I knew from the trailers was that it was about a boy stranded on the sea with a tiger. Great reviews and Oscar buzz was enough for me to give the PG-rated family film a shot. After all was said and done, I came out very pleased that I made the choice to see it. It is a visual masterpiece and quite the touching and thought provoking story.

So what is the movie actually about? Well first off it is based off the book of the same title written by Yann Martel. I have not read the book, so I apologize that I cannot make a book vs movie comparison in this review. But the movie is about a young Indian boy. Indian being from the country of India, not Native American. The boy's name is Piscine Molitor Patel, Pi for short. Knowing that, the title Life of Pi makes perfect sense. It is a story about his life. Specifically a time where his family made the decision to move from India to Canada and in doing so they took a ship to Canada so they could also transport the animals from the Zoo the family owned that they just sold. I leave most of the rest of the story for you to discover on your own, but the main conflict comes when the ship wrecks and Pi is found stranded on a life boat with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. Like I said, the story is a very moving one of courage and endurance that really makes you ponder and reflect on life. I obviously won't spoil the ending, but I will say that it is a very interesting one that makes you think.

There are two aspects to this movie that compliment the story really well and make this movie work. The first is the visual effects. They are absolutely beautiful. Ang Lee has a tendency of making beautiful movies and this one certainly follows that. In fact with all the award buzz, I'm not sure if this will end up winning best picture, but it certainly deserves an Oscar for best cinematography, because it is visually the best movie I have seen so far this year. And I saw it in 2D, but there were several times where I was saying to myself that I wish I had seen it in 3D, so keep that in mind as you head to theaters. The second thing that made this movie really good was a brilliant score. I don't know if Mychael Danna will win the Oscar for best original score, but he deserves a nomination at the least.

Overall, if you need a good family film to go see this holiday season, I would suggest you give Life of Pi a shot. People often associate a PG movie to a kids movie in these days and while this movie is perfectly appropriate for kids, save for maybe a few jump scenes with the tiger that may frighten the younger crowd, adults are the ones that will appreciate this movie more, so go see it. I am giving it a 9 out of 10.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

2012 NFL Power Rankings: Week 12

1- Houston Texans - 9-1 (+0) - The defense didn't show up against the Jaguars, which is a little troubling. But that offense was as good as ever as Matt Shaub set personal records with nearly 600 passing yards. They also showed that they can be really clutch, winning in overtime after being down by double digits later in the game.

2- Baltimore Ravens- 8-2 (+2) - The Ravens have quietly moved their way to the top of these power rankings. A few weeks back when Ray Lewis went down with a few others on defense, people thought they were in trouble, but they pulled it together and with the Steelers playing with Byron Leftwich at quarterback, the Ravens look like they are going to cruise to a divisional title.

3- New England Patriots - 7-3 (+2) - The defense still has some question marks, but their offense is more than making up for it. Tom Brady and company have averaged 47 points per game over their last three games. They will miss Gronk for the next month, but they should still be fine.

4- Denver Broncos - 7-3 (+2)  - Payton's club has now made it five wins in a row and six wins in their last seven games. They look to make it six in a row going into Kansas City.

5- Atlanta Falcons - 9-1 (-2) - They followed up their loss to the Saints with an awful showing against a Cardinals team playing with their third string rookie quarterback. Matt Ryan's zero touchdown, five interception outing is not going to cut it when playing anyone else but the Cardinals. They may have the best record in the NFL, but they are far from being the best team right now.

6- San Francisco 49ers - 7-2-1 (+1) - Hope was restored in San Francisco once again as the Niners got an impressive win against the Bears where the Niners proved that they have the better backup quarterback. Please no quarterback controversy talk. The job is Smith's when he gets back.

7- Chicago Bears - 7-3 (-5) - The Bears hope that Jay Cutler will return soon. Him getting injured against the Texans has now led to a two game losing streak. Their defense is good, but not good enough to carry them completely without an offense.

8- Green Bay Packers - 7-3 (+0) - With the Bears on a two game losing streak, the Packers are now winning the division via tie breaker. But they still haven't had a convincing win since beating the Texans in week six and that was their lone convincing win of the season.

9- Seattle Seahawks - 6-4 (+2) - After a week off, they go on a stretch where they get three of their next four games on the road, all against teams that are trying to get back on track. The NFC wild card race is looking really tight, so they need to do good on this stretch.

10- Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 6-4 (+3) - The Bucs are riding high, having won five of their last six. Now three of their next four games come against teams that are a combined total of 15-3 in their last six games respectively. We're about to learn a lot about this young Bucs team.

11- Indianapolis Colts - 6-4 (-2) - Welcome to the NFL Andrew Luck! Tom Brady and the Pats just gave the young quarterback a taste of what it is like in the NFL. If you are going to be a playoff team, those are the types of teams you are going to have to deal with.

12- Pittsburgh Steelers - 6-4 (-2) - The Steelers better hope Big Ben heals fast, because they have a red hot Bengals team that is only a game back from them in the wild card hunt ready to take them over if they continue to struggle with Byron Leftwich under center.

13- New York Giants - 6-4 (-1) - The bye week came at a great time for the Giants, now they better kick it into gear because the Cowboys are only a game back in that division and the next five games for the G-Men are going to be tough ones.

14- Minnesota Vikings - 6-4 (+0) - The Vikings are now in a dead-lock with the Bucs and Seahawks for that last wild card spot and with four of their next five games on the road, the Vikings really need to take advantage of a reeling Bears team this week.

15- New Orleans Saints - 5-5 (+0) - After starting 0-4, the Saints are now only a game behind the last Wild Card spot. The problem is that there are three teams that are one game ahead of them tied for that spot, three teams only one game back of the Saints at 4-6, and one additional team tied at 5-5 with them. To make things worse, the Saints' next five games are against teams that are .500 or better, so they really need to flex their muscles and get a lot of help if they are going to sneak in.

16- Cincinnati Bengals - 5-5 (+2) - The Bengals are in a pretty good position right now being only a game behind both the Colts and Steelers. It turns out that the rest of their schedule is fairly easy, so they just need one of those two teams to slip up to sneak in to the playoffs.

17- Dallas Cowboys- 5-5 (-1) - The race for the NFC wild card spot is quite intense right now, so the Cowboys really need to focus on stealing the division away from the Giants in order to make it in. They are only a game back and have a much easier schedule, so they could very well pull it off.

18- Detroit Lions - 4-6 (-1) - After Justin Blackmon racked up over 200 receiving yards against the Texan pass defense, Calvin Johnson is licking his lips for his upcoming Thanksgiving matchup against that unit. The Lions could use a good boost after that heartbreaking loss to the Packers.

19- San Diego Chargers - 4-6 (+2) - It was a good effort against the Broncos on Sunday, but nonetheless they still got the loss. Their next three games are against the AFC North playoff contenders, so if they want to make a run for a wild card spot, now is the time to start.

20- Buffalo Bills - 4-6 (+4) - The toughest part of the Bills' schedule is over. Their last six games are all winnable games and so they have a shot to get the wild card spot. Although their next game is against the Colts in Indianapolis. That game is a must win. Lose and they are done.

21- Miami Dolphins - 4-6 (-2) - They are on a three game losing streak and their next three games are against the Seahawks, Patriots, and 49ers. They are most likely done.

22- Washington Redskins - 4-6 (+4) - The reappearance of RG3 against the Eagles was nice for the Redskins. However, remember it was just the Eagles. In a crazy NFC, it is too little, too late for the Redskins. They are playing for the future right now. Unless of course both the Giants and the Cowboys collapse in that division.

23- Arizona Cardinals - 4-6 (-1) - Their losing streak has now been extended to six in a row. How long will this continue? Their next two games are against the Rams and Jets, so it could end soon, but they are playing without a quarterback essentially, so we'll see how this plays out.

24- Tennessee Titans - 4-6 (-1) - They had a week off to see if they can try to find their identity. Now they get to travel to Jacksonville to see which Titans team ends up showing up.

25- New York Jets - 4-6 (+3) - The Jets seem like a bipolar team right now. The route of the Rams was semi-impressive. Now they get rewarded with a Thanksgiving night match-up against the Patriots at home. They did almost knock off the Patriots last time they played them, but that was a different Patriots team back then.

26- St. Louis Rams - 3-6-1 (-6) - They followed up an impressive showing against the Niners by barely even showing up against a terrible Jets team. That's really embarrassing. Can they remain undefeated in their division after their upcoming two game stretch against their division?

27- Oakland Raiders - 3-7 (-2) - Their offense isn't terrible, but they are 3-7 because their defense is. They have given up an average of 45 points in their last three games.  That stat should make the Bengals happy when the Raiders come to town this Sunday.

28- Philadelphia Eagles - 3-7 (-1) - It is almost a done deal in my mind that Andy Reid won't be back next year. Now that they extended their losing streak to six by getting destroyed by the lowly Redskins, I'm not even sure that Andy Reid will last it through the rest of the season.

29- Cleveland Browns - 2-8- (+0) - Once again, the Browns play a game where they compete and almost win, but once again, they fall. They'll provide some challenges to teams down the road, but when push comes to shove, you have to learn to win in the NFL, not just compete. The Browns don't know how to do that.

30- Carolina Panthers - 2-8 (+0) - This Panthers team once again found a way to lose this past week. They have a two game stretch against the Eagles and the Chiefs. The last time one of those teams got a win was back in week four, so you would think that the Panthers could find a way to win these next two games.

31- Jacksonville Jaguars - 1-9 (+1) - The Jags may have found a momentary fix at quarterback with Chad Henne and certainly had to be excited to see rookie first round pick Justin Blackmon rack up 200+ receiving yards. They were a defense away from pulling off the biggest upset of the year. It's a shame their defense didn't make the trip to Houston.

32- Kansas City Chiefs - 1-9 (-1) - After a one week pit stop at number 31 in these power rankings, they are back here at the bottom after getting annihilated at home to the Bengals. They have a chance to end their losing streak as they have upcoming games against the Panthers, Browns, and Raiders. But first Payton and company come to town to put on a show in Kansas City.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

2012 NFL Power Rankings: Week 11

1- Houston Texans - 8-1 (+1) - With the fall of the Falcons from the undefeated, the Texans deserve this top spot. They are the most balanced team in the NFL right now and are fresh off a win against the Bears on a rainy night in Chicago.

2-Chicago Bears - 7-2 (+1) - A mild bump in the road is all that was on Sunday. That was a potential Super Bowl preview and one team had to lose. A dog fight in the rain with two strong defenses usually results in a low scoring game. The bigger concern for the Bears right now is Jay Cutler's concussion. He needs to be back if they are going to continue to do well.

3- Atlanta Falcons - 8-1 (-2) - I mentioned last week that they were in danger and could very well lose to the Saints and that is exactly what happened. They are still in very good shape, but they need to hone up a few things if they want to avoid another disappointing playoff exit.

4- Baltimore Ravens - 7-2 (+3) - Maybe I was too hard on the Ravens last few weeks. Or maybe the Raiders are just that bad. Either way, they masked a struggling defense by being really touchdown prone against the Raiders. If they continue that, they should be fine.

5- New England Patriots - 6-3 (+0) - It's a good thing they have Tom Brady and the offense on board or else this team would be doing a lot worse. Never count out the Patriots as they are on a pretty good role right now. Now they just need to figure out that defense.

6- Denver Broncos - 6-3 (+0) - If there was anyone thinking that the AFC West teams could catch the Broncos that was put to rest Sunday as the Broncos rolled by the Panthers and everyone else got embarrassed again.

7- San Francisco 49ers - 6-2-1 (-3) - The quarterback position took a huge hit this week as Alex Smith was one of four starting quarterbacks to get knocked out. The Niners should be grateful that the Rams game ended in a tie, because they certainly weren't playing like a top team in the NFC and deserved a loss.

8- Green Bay Packers - 6-3 (+2) - Thanks to some help from the Texans and a four game winning streak of their own coming off a bye, the Packers are in position to make the race for the NFC North crown very interesting. They just need to be more convincing in their wins.

9- Indianapolis Colts - 6-3 (+2) - Were you with me in thinking that the race for the AFC South crown was over a long time ago? Well, think again because the Colts are only two games back. It'll be interesting to see how they match up against the Patriots this week.

10- Pittsburgh Steelers - 6-3 (-2) - Big Ben was another quarterback that got knocked out this past week and that could not have come at a worse time. The rumor is he'll be out a while and that is bad news for the Steelers, especially right before their big match-up with the Ravens.

11- Seattle Seahawks - 6-4 (+1)  - The Seahawks were as disappointed as anyone that the Rams vs Niners game ended in a tie as they could've really used some help from the Rams. They have a lot of momentum headed into a bye week, which should help them as three of their next four are on the road.

12- New York Giants - 6-4 (-3) - They've certainly been here before, but they need to pick it up because their remaining schedule is quite difficult. A week off to think about things should help.

13- Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 5-4 (+0) - The Bucs are very much in position to grab a wild card spot with the way they are playing, but right now they are chasing the Packers, Vikings, and Seahawks and looking at their schedule they need to make sure they don't trip up in Carolina this week or else it will essentially be over as their schedule is really tough down the stretch.

14- Minnesota Vikings - 6-4 (+2) - They may have saved themselves by beating the Lions this past week. They have a week off to prepare for back to back road games against the Bears and Packers. And it doesn't get much easier after that. If this team gets a wild card spot, they will definitely have deserved it.

15- New Orleans Saints - 4-5 (+3) - A win against the best team in football is a good way to keep your confidence riding high. If there is any team that can break the trend of teams that start 0-4, its this Saints team. However, they will need a lot of help if they are going to pull it off.

16- Dallas Cowboys - 4-5 (+3) - With the Giants spiraling downwards, don't overlook this Cowboy team. They have a much easier road than the Giants and could sneak up and shock the defending champs. While the Giants have dates with the Packers, Saints, Ravens, and Falcons, the Cowboys are about to start a three game home stand against Browns, Redskins, and Eagles.

17- Detroit Lions - 4-5 (-3) - It's not too late for the Lions to go on a run, but they have their work cut out for them. Six of their final seven games are against playoff caliber teams.

18- Cincinnati Bengals - 4-5 (+4) - The Bengals have had good luck in Manning world recent weeks. They almost knocked off Payton's team and did shut down the Eli's team last week. If they play off of that luck, things could work out for them. Their next three are against the reeling teams in the AFC West.

19- Miami Dolphins - 4-5 (-4) - That beat down in the hands of the Titans may have been the dagger in the heart for this Dolphins team. They had playoff aspirations after starting 4-3, but now they have a trip to Buffalo followed by a three game stand against the Patriots, Seahawks, and 49ers. They couldn't afford the last two losses.

20- St. Louis Rams - 3-5-1 (+3) - Kudos to the Rams for putting the Patriots game behind them and giving the 49ers a run for their money. Had it not been for a few key mistakes they would've won that game. Playoffs might be out of the picture at this point, but they have many opportunities to play spoiler from here on out.

21- San Diego Chargers - 4-5 (-4) - Since their week two win against the Titans, the only team the Chargers have managed to beat is the one win Chiefs on two separate occasions. That's five losses in seven games. At this point, I think its only a matter of time before Norv Turner gets the ax.

22- Arizona Cardinals - 4-5 (-2) - They got a week off to think about their five game losing streak. With three of their next four games on the road, you gotta wonder when their next win is going to come. Most likely not in Atlanta this next week where the Falcons will be looking to get back on track.

23- Tennessee Titans - 4-6 (+2) - Ten weeks into the season and I still don't know what team this is. Consistent is certainly not the answer. Maybe they'll figure it out on their bye week before they get three straight divisional games.

24- Buffalo Bills - 3-6 (+2) - Thanks to a rough New England defense, their offense got back on track this past week. Tom Brady was just too much for them. Their last seven games are all winnable games. They problem is that they have to win all of them to get to the playoffs and that won't happen.

25- Oakland Raiders - 3-6 (-4) - Allowing 55 points is never good no matter what team you are playing. The Saints will be licking their chops as they travel to Oakland this next week.

26- Washington Redskins - 3-6 (+2) - They had a week off to prepare for the upcoming divisional battle they will be in. Five of their final seven are against divisional foes. Ending the year with a little momentum will be good for RG3's future.

27- Philadelphia Eagles - 3-6 (+0) - I've been a big Andy Reed fan for a long time, but I think his tenure in Philly has come to an end. He didn't sound very convinced when he told the press that he believes in this team, so the Eagles need to find someone who is.

28- New York Jets - 3-6 (-4) - This whole season has been a disaster for the Jets. Rex Ryan for some odd reason still believes in Mark Sanchez. Either that or he knows that the backup plan in Tebow isn't much of an upgrade. Rex Ryan and his big mouth might be done in New York as he can't seem to back up his talk.

29- Cleveland Browns - 2-7 (+0) - They have the Cowboys and the Steelers up next on their schedule as well as a few other playoff hopefuls. It'll be interesting to see how many times they can play spoiler. Maybe next year they will learn to not take a 90 year old quarterback in the first round.

30- Carolina Panthers - 2-7 (+0) - Cam Newton's sophomore slump continues. They have winnable games with the Eagles and Chiefs scheduled after the red hot Bucs this next week. So there are opportunities for Cam to get some confidence back.

31- Kansas City Chiefs - 1-8 (+1) - They get rewarded a spot up for a good showing against the Steelers on Monday Night Football. But nonetheless it was still a loss and now that is six of them in a row.

32- Jacksonville Jaguars - 1-8 (-1) - It looks like trading up for Blaine Gabbert a couple years back was a mistake that has set this team back a bit and they may be looking for an upgrade in next year's draft. With Los Angeles looking for a new team and the Jacksonville fans being as unsupportive as ever to a terrible football team, could we be seeing the Los Angeles Jaguars in a few years?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

ParaNorman Review

ParaNorman is a movie that came out this past August, so this is a bit of a belated review, but hey. By Halloween night it was in the local dollar theater, so I decided to be festive on Halloween night and go give it a chance and I came out of it rather pleased. Now yes, Halloween this year has passed, so you may not be interested in it right now, but if you are having a Halloween hangover or just simply want to see an animated zombie movie, I would suggest that you check this movie out. The DVD release date is set for November 27th, so it should be in your local RedBox soon.

Now as I talk about the plot, I may include something that some would consider spoilers, so if you want this movie to be a complete surprise, then skip this paragraph. Otherwise proceed. If you have seen the trailers, you have the general sense of what the movie is about. There is a boy named Norman who can see and talk to ghosts when no one else can. Because of that he is bullied and ridiculed. Meanwhile, short and chubby kid becomes his tag-along friend. From that you could make an attempt to predict how the rest of the movie goes and you can get much of it right, so it is semi-predictable, but the main central conflict is something that I find is done quite well and going into the movie it wasn't something that was advertised too much, so you wouldn't predict it. The town has a curse on it that was placed by a witch several centuries beforehand. It is remedied every year by someone reading a book to the said witch. When the crazy Mr. Prederghast dies, he comes to Norman and gives him the task of reading the book to the witch. However, it must be done by a certain night and when that night comes, Norman fails the task and crazy things start to happen. And all of this stems back to the famous Salem witch trials. Now is this the first time the Salem witch trials have been used in a movie? Of course not. But it fits quite well in this one, making it more than just your prototypical zombie/ghost movie.

What's the best part of this movie? It has to be the animation. If you didn't know already, it is stop motion animation (which is claymation if you are unfamiliar with that term) in this film and is done by the same people who did Coraline and Corpse Bride. The attention to detail in this is quite amazing and definitely deserves props. Going into this movie, I had heard that it is actually quite scary for a children's animated movie and thus might not be appropriate for younger kids. Did I feel this way after seeing it? Not exactly. It wasn't that spooky. It was more just pure fun and actually quite funny. Now I would actually avoid showing this to your really young 3 - 5 year old kids, because it actually might be a bit intense for them, but outside that I feel that it is a good Halloween movie that the whole family can enjoy for years to come.

Overall, I don't imagine that this is a movie that will win best animated film of the year in the upcoming Oscars. Sure, it might deserve a nomination, but there are better animated movies that have come out this year. I did enjoy it and I do thing it can become a fun family Halloween tradition, so I'd give it a shot if I were you. I will award it a 7.5/10. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

2012 NFL Power Rankings: Week 10

1- Atlanta Falcons - 8-0 (+0) - The Falcons look vulnerable and beatable. I don't know how long they are going to continue their unbeaten streak, but I highly doubt that they will go undefeated. It's of note that they have only played one playoff team so far and unless a team like the Bucs or Lions sneaks back into the playoffs, they only have one playoff team left on their schedule. However, they still remain the league's only unbeaten team and until that changes, they deserve the top spot.

2- Houston Texans - 7-1 (+0) - While it was a closer game than it should've been, the Texans still showed their dominance Sunday against the Bills, completely shutting down Fitzpatrick and the Bills' decent offense. Andre Johnson even showed signs of life Sunday, which is positive.

3- Chicago Bears - 7-1 (+0) - If you weren't sold on the Bears before, I hope you are now. This defense is looking is setting NFL records this season and if Cutler, Marshall, and Forte are on the top of their game like they were Sunday, this team will be very hard to beat.

4- San Francisco 49ers - 6-2 (+1) - They Niners come off their bye week with a two game home stretch. While it's not good to write off a divisional matchup against Jeff Fisher's Rams, this game should be more of a tweener game as they have the Bears coming into town in two weeks.

5- New England Patriots - 5-3 (+1) - The Patriots have been a team of a few different faces this season, but if they come off their bye week playing like they did in London, they should be able to cruise through these next few games and establish themselves again as an AFC powerhouse.

6- Denver Broncos - 5-3 (+1) - Payton is now the all time leader in fourth quarter comebacks as the Broncos surprisingly struggled against a reeling Bengals team. They shouldn't have a problem building on their three game win streak as they travel to Carolina this next week.

7- Baltimore Ravens - 6-2 (+1)- After getting a week off to ponder about the beatdown by the Texans, getting the Browns on their schedule was a nice way to get their confidence back. Another should be win against the Raiders is up next before they really get tested in Pittsburgh.

8- Pittsburgh Steelers - 5-3 (+2) - I hope you didn't write the Steelers off a few weeks ago because now they have fought through injuries and other problems and are playing at the top of their game. That win against the Giants should make some AFC teams nervous now.

9- New York Giants - 6-3 (-5) - The Giants always are good at getting to six wins rather quickly, but can never seem to finish the second half of the season as good as they want. It's a good thing they don't have to worry too much this season. The rest of their division is having troubles even getting to .500.

10- Green Bay Packers - 6-3 (-1) - A win's a win I suppose, but another week has passed and yet we still have only seen the Packers of last year once. They need to get their act together soon because now they whole NFC North is .500 or above.

11- Indianapolis Colts - 5-3 (+3) - If you were to tell me before the season started that the Colts would start the season 5-3, I probably would've laughed at you. This is quite the turnaround for the Colts as they playing inspired football right now. They shouldn't have much trouble increasing their record to 6-3 as the play the Jags this week.

12- Seattle Seahawks - 5-4 (+1) - They couldn't stop Adrian Peterson to save their life on Sunday, but it was s a good thing for them that AP was the only Viking to show up. They end their season in a rather brutal way, so they really need a win at home against the Jets on Sunday so they have some breathing room to finish things off.

13- Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 4-4 (+2) -  Hellooo Doug Martin! His 250 yard, 4 touchdown game was quite the pleasant surprise for Buc fans as this offense continues to play well. They are going to need to tighten up that defense, though, if they are going to sneak into the playoffs. It'll be a little tougher to win shootout games against teams like the Broncos, Saints, and Falcons than it was against the Raiders this past week.

14- Detroit Lions - 4-4 (+3) - Don't look now, but the Lions have won 3 out of their last 4 games. While beating the Jags wasn't an impressive feat, winning due to a good running game was. If they continue that, they could sneak their way back into a wild card spot.

15- Miami Dolphins - 4-4 (-3) - That loss to the Colts really hurt the Dolphins. They have a really tough 3 game stretch coming up here soon, so they really need to win these next few games against the Titans and Bills if they want to continue fighting for a playoff spot.

16- Minnesota Vikings - 5-4 (-5) - The Vikings are in trouble. They really couldn't afford to lose to both the Bucs and the Seahawks. Now they will take a two game losing streak into their next stretch of four straight divisional games. If AP continues to be the only Viking to show up, they could be staring at a six game losing streak at the end of this stretch. A playoff appearance is really looking doubtful for them.

17- San Diego Chargers - 4-4 (+8) - Yes, it was only the lowly Chiefs that they beat Thursday, but that was still a good win for them. With the way their schedule finishes off, they are still very much in the playoff hunt. That is as long as Philip Rivers remembers that in order to score points, he needs to pass to his team and not the defense.

18- New Orleans Saints - 3-5 (+9) - Don't look now, but the Saints have now won three out of their last four games. The Eagles really helped them out by deciding to not play football in the red zone last night, but still. The Saints have the offensive firepower to make a run if they can just find some sort of defense. Next week's game against the Falcons is a must win, though, if they want a shot at the playoffs.

19- Dallas Cowboys - 3-5 (-3) - The Cowboys are getting really good at giving their fans hope, then turning around and crushing it. They haven't played bad this season, they just can't perform in the clutch. I wouldn't write them off quite yet, but they need to figure out how to play in the fourth quarter if they want to have a shot.

20- Arizona Cardinals - 4-5 (+1) - The Cardinals actually showed some signs of life last week against the Packers, but nonetheless, a loss is a loss and now they have five of them straight. The get a week off to figure things out before they go on the road in three of their next four games, starting with a trip to Atlanta.

21- Oakland Raiders - 3-5 (-3) - It's always embarrassing when you let a rookie running back run for 250 yards and 4 touchdowns on your defense. Ray Rice will be licking his chops next week as the Raiders travel to Baltimore to face the Ravens.

22- Cincinnati Bengals - 3-5 (+2) - They were almost able to avoid a four game losing streak, but couldn't quite pull off the upset against Payton and company. Things aren't looking better this next week as the other Manning brother comes to town in hopes for redemption after a disappointing loss to the Steelers.

23- St. Louis Rams - 3-5 (+3) - The Rams had a week off after the tragedy against the Patriots to put their selves back together and now they get rewarded by a trip to San Francisco to play the NFC West leading Niners. They need to forget about the Patriots game and not let it get to their head, because outside that game they have done a great job of competing.

24- New York Jets - 3-5 (+4) - The Jets get to play the NFC West in three out of their next four games, while hosting the Patriots in between. Normally that would be a safe three wins for the Jets with a challenge against the Pats, but with the state of the NFC West and the state of the Jets, that could very well be a four game losing streak this time around.

25- Tennessee Titans - 3-6 (-2) - The Titans have shown up at times this year, but that performance against the Bears was rather embarrassing. The Titans aren't awful, they just aren't good enough to compete when it matters this season.

26- Buffalo Bills - 3-5 (-7) The Bills were supposed to have a good defense this year, but someone forgot to tell them that because they just haven't shown up. However, that unit played well against the Texans in the first half. The problem is that the offense is the unit that didn't show up this time. That's not a good sign.

27- Philadelphia Eagles - 3-5 (-7) - This team continues to perplex me. For the most part of the game, they played the Saints quite well. The problem is that they couldn't score once they got to the redzone and once again, they had turnover problems. You know you have issues when you get owned by the Saints's defense.

28- Washington Redskins - 3-6 (-6) - Cam Newton came up on top in the Newton vs RG3 battle. For a Redskins team that showed lots of promise at the start of the season, this is really embarrassing. Previous losses were understandable. This one wasn't.

29- Cleveland Browns - 2-7 (+0) - On one hand, you would've thought that the Browns would've been able to take advantage of a depleted Ravens defense. But then you have to realize that this is the Browns we are talking about. They don't have much of an offense this year.

30- Carolina Panthers - 2-6 (+0)  - The Panthers finally got a win this past weekend as they won the Cam Newton vs RG3 battle. The problem is that it was only their second win on the season. Looking at their schedule, it will probably be another month before they get win number three.

31- Jacksonville Jaguars - 1-7 (+0) - It's easy right now to say the Jags are doomed to lose yet another game this weekend when they face an inspired Colts team. But remember, their only win on the season came in Indianapolis. They have actually been surprisingly competitive, despite the fact that they haven't won games. It's been a while since a team blew out the Jaguars.

32- Kansas City Chiefs - 1-7 (+0) - As yet another week passes, it seems more and more likely that the Chiefs will win the Matt Barkley sweepstakes. Things don't get any easier for them as the face the Steelers, Bengals, and Broncos in their next three games.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Wreck-It Ralph Review

This is certainly a big week for Disney. A few days after they announced that they have purchased Lucasfilm from George Lucas and simultaneously announcing that they are doing a new Star Wars trilogy, their newest film Wreck-It Ralph comes out. Now as I watched the opening credits of Wreck-It Ralph, I tried to imagine a Star Wars film with the Disney logo at the beginning. That is an idea that will take some getting used to. But I digress. If you have followed what I have written or talked to me in person, you would know that there is one initial thought I had when first hearing of this Disney movie, Wreck-It Ralph feels like a Pixar movie. And with that, Pixar's movie Brave felt like another Disney princess movie. After officially seeing the movie, that certainly holds true. After looking back at both movies, Pixar certainly played it safe with Brave. While Brave was a fun and goofy movie, it was also extremely predictable and formulaic. Wreck-It Ralph on the other hand was a bigger risk. It was a much more unique and creative idea. It really makes me happy when movies decide to do this, because any risk that came with this certainly paid off big time.

Now I say it is a unique idea and you may have to take that with a grain of salt because it does have somewhat of a Toy Story feel to it at times, especially towards the beginning. Toy Story is a story that revolves around what the toys do when the humans are gone and a lot of Wreck-It Ralph is a story about what happens in an arcade during closing hours. But that honestly isn't a huge thing, just a small thing I noticed. The story is really about Ralph. Ralph is in a game called Fix-It Felix and it is his mission to destroy things. After 30 years of being in this role he decides he is tired of it. He wants to be recognized, win medals, and be the hero for a change. This causes him to rebel and wander into other games and this causes quite the chain reaction that ensues for a fun and wild ride to the end of the movie.

Yes, the story is great and has quite the touching and surprising ending, but I think the best part of this movie was the animation and great attention to detail. Gamers of all ages will be ecstatic about this movie. And by gamers, I don't mean the people who sit playing shooting games for hours, I'm talking about gamers of all the classic arcade and video games. Video games from Atari, Nintendo, Sega, etc from the 80's and 90's. There are a lot of appearances from many games throughout the movie. There are a lot of subtle references and puns that the casual person may miss, but the gamers will love. Being a big Nintendo fan, I certainly was happy. But if you are not a gamer, don't worry, this movie is still for you. It has a good enough story and message that will make you happy. You are certain to fall in love with Sarah Silverman's character Vanellope. The others do a great job as voice actors as well -  John C Reilly as Ralph, Jack McBrayer as Felix, Jane Lynch as Calhoun, and Alan Tudyk as King Candy to name the main characters in the movie.

Overall, this is a great movie that appeals to everyone, adults and kids alike. No, it may not be the most epic movie, but it's still fun and I hope it gets a nomination for animated movie of the year at the Oscars. If you are a parent with younger kids, make sure you take your kids and go because all of you should love this. If you are neither parent nor young child, don't worry. You should enjoy this movie too. I give it a 9 out of 10.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Movie Preview: November 2012

October is typically the month that bridges the gap between the dead months of August and September and the active Holiday season of November and December. This past October did a good job of that as this September was particularly slow, saved only by a huge opening by Hotel Transylvania in the last weekend of September. Hotel Transylvania also made a huge contribution to October as it came in second with $90M made in October. Taken 2 led the way with a huge $120M and Argo was the other big total, coming in third with just over $60M. Holdovers Looper and Pitch Perfect were about on par with Horror films Sinister and Paranormal Activity 4, all in the $40M range. All other wide releases disappointed. This upcoming month has less movies, but there should be several big hits, giving as a good start to the Holiday season.

November 2nd - 4th - Disney will get center stage this weekend with their latest animated movie, Wreck-It Ralph. The funny thing about this release is that Wreck-It Ralph actually looks more like a Pixar movie than a pure Disney animated movie, while Pixar's movie Brave felt more like a typical Disney princess movie. But either way, Wreck-It Ralph looks quite ingenious. It's about a video game character in an arcade that is tired of being a bad guy and wants to become a good guy. Animated movies that opened towards the beginning of November have done a good job recently and Wreck-It Ralph will follow that trend because of the careful attention to detail with all classic video game characters. Next is Denzel Washington's newest film Flight. Flight is a film directed by Robert Zemeckis, the director of Cast Away, Forest Gump, Back to the Future, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit amongst other movies. This is his first live action movie since Cast Away in 2000, but all his movies typically have a good track record and teamed with Denzel Washington should be a formula for success. The storyline is about a pilot, playing by Washington, who miraculously stops a plane from crashing but afterwards runs into a some problems due to an investigation held. The final movie to come out, which will most likely be the least attended of the three is The Man with the Iron Fists. This movie is RZA's directorial debut in which RZA wrote, directed, and starred in. It is an extremely violent R-rated Kung Fu movie, so if that is your type of movie, then be my guest. It also has an interesting cast that includes Russell Crow and Lucy Liu.

November 9th - 11th - This weekend only has one wide release, but it will be a big one. I am talking about the newest James Bond movie Skyfall. The James Bond franchise has been quite the popular franchise as a new Bond movie has come out every two to three years ever since Dr. No in 1963. Skyfall is the 23rd movie and Daniel Craig's 3rd stint as Bond. The last Bond movie, Quantum of Solace, opened to $67M and ended up with $168M, both records in the Bond franchise. The reviews for Skyfall are extremely good, many calling it one of the best Bond movies in a long time. This will most certainly propel it to beat Quantum of Solace's mark. Although in terms of attendance it will get no where near the top and will probably end up in the middle of the pack. The highest attended Bond movie was Thunderball back in 1965. Its $63.5M back in 1965 is equivalent to $600M with today's ticket prices. 

November 16th - 18th - While all the guys will swarm to the theaters for James Bond the weekend before this, this weekend will be dominated by the females as the hoards of Twilight fans swarm to the theaters to see the Twilight finale, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2. Being that it is a finale of a really popular series, it is almost guaranteed to be the highest grossing movie of the series. The finale of Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter all followed this trend. As far as how much money this will earn on its opening weekend, Breaking Dawn Part 1 opened to $138M, just shy of the Twilight opening weekend record of New Moon's $142M. This will probably be the biggest opening weekend as well and while it won't get near Avenger's opening total, it could end up close to Harry Potter 7.2's or Dark Knight's total. A more interesting title in my opinion that will be challenging Twilight is Steven Spielberg's Lincoln. No, it won't get anywhere close to beating Twilight, but it won't be hindered by Twilight as it will attract a completely different crowd. Now it actually opens up in limited release the week before on the 9th, but this week is it's nationwide expansion. Now Spielberg has historically been one of the best directors in the business, but his last three movies, War Horse, Tintin, and Indiana Jones 4, didn't quite live up to expectations so hopefully he will redeem himself with this one. It's also screaming for Oscar attention and will most certainly get it. The Oscars tend to like historical movies and the cast is full of actors/actresses that have won Oscars. This includes Tommy Lee Jones, Sally Fields, and Daniel Day Lewis, the latter one being the actor cast as Lincoln himself. It also includes Joseph Gordon-Leavitt in the cast in his fourth movie four months. Finally it's worth mentioning that Ana Karenina gets a limited release this weekend. Whether or not it will get good enough reviews and good enough attention to expand to a nationwide release is still up in the air. Ana Karenina is based off of the classic novel of the same title and stars Keira Knightley and Jude Law.

November 21st - 25th - Noting that the 21st is a Wednesday and not a Friday, you'll quickly realize if you haven't already that this is the extended Thanksgiving weekend and there are four wide releases that will be competing for everyone's attention. Those four releases will also be competing with Twilight and Bond fans who haven't seen their movies yet and want to go for Thanksgiving break, so what ends up at number one is really up in the air. The most likely candidate to dethrone Twilight will most likely be Rise of the Guardians. This is another Dreamworks animated film and could either be completely ridiculous or ridiculously awesome. This is the movie that includes Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Sandman, and the Tooth Fairy join forces to save all of the children in the world. The voice actors include Hugh Jackman, Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, and Jude Law. Dreamworks Animation currently has a great track record since its first movie Antz back in 1998. They have now made 24 animated movies and 18 of them have made over $100M, 7 of those 18 getting above $200M. They are on a streak of 11 straight movies getting above $100M, 3 of the last 6 getting above $200M. The next two movies of the week are two movies that have strong Oscar buzz. The first being the family friendly Life of Pi. This movie will try to attract some of the family audience away from Rise of the Guardians as it only has a PG rating. It is based on the novel by Yann Martel and is directed by Ang Lee. The story is of a young Indian boy who gets trapped on a boat with a hyena, zebra, orangatan, and a Bengal tiger after his ship wrecks. The second Oscar buzzed movie is Silver Linings Playbook. This is an inspirational story about a guy that's had everything go wrong who meets a girl that's had everything go wrong and together they start to find a silver lining to life. It has a great cast of people with Bradly Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence playing the laying the lead roles and also includes such actors as Robert DeNiro and Chris Tucker. Director David O Russell is best known for his movie The Fighter. What looks to be the forgotten movie of the week here is Red Dawn, which seems just like another pointless remake. The original made $38M back in 1984, which is equivalent to $91M today, so Red Dawn will need to make at least that much to justify a remake and that probably won't happen. The story is about a group of teenagers trying to save their country at the beginning of World War III. In the original version it is the Soviet forces they are trying to defend while in this remake it is the forces of North Korea. 

November 30th - December 2nd - This last weekend of November / the start of December is really a tweener week. Like you have read, there are several big titles in November being released and in December there is another slate of big titles, but this week there is only one new movie being released, allowing for the other November releases to fight it out for the top spot. The one new release that will try to contend with all the others is Killing Them Softly, which is an R rated crime drama starring Brad Pitt. It is also based on the book by George V Higgins. It is about a professional enforcer who investigates a heist after a mob protected poker game. Seems like a typical crime drama movie.