Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Onion fools the Chinese

I like fake news satire. I regularly post Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart videos. Though, Colbert and Stewart more often dabble in social commentary with a comic twist. There's a fake satirical web newspaper called The Onion. Many times, it's hilarious.

Well, The Onion fooled the Chinese or make that The Communist Chinese newspaper, The People's Daily. You see, The Onion named North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un as the "Sexiest Man Alive." They wrote this:

"With his devastatingly handsome, round face, his boyish charm, and his strong, sturdy frame, this Pyongyang-bred heartthrob is every woman’s dream come true. Blessed with an air of power that masks an unmistakable cute, cuddly side, Kim made this newspaper’s editorial board swoon with his impeccable fashion sense, chic short hairstyle, and, of course, that famous smile."

Now check out his picture above. Now you get the joke. But obviously the Chinese Communists do not. Realizing that they don't get it, The Onion pokes fun at the Chinese and even itself. In an update, it says:

"For more coverage on The Onion's Sexiest Man Alive 2012, Kim Jong-Un, please visit our friends at the People's Daily in China, a proud Communist subsidiary of The Onion, Inc. Exemplary reportage, comrades."

Quick note. Conservative Republicans listen up. The Onion is joking when it says The People's Daily is a proud Communist subsidiary. It's like Stephen Colbert is not really a conservative. It's called satire. Using humor to make a point.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Welcome back Carson Palmer

Yesterday, former Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer returned with the Oakland Raiders to face his old team. Now let me get this out of the way, the Raiders are hapless. They came out to Cincinnati with a record 3-7. The stadium was not sold out. So, would the Bengals seek revenge on Palmer who dissed the team when he refused to play for them last year?

The game was over after the first half. The Bengals ran over the Raiders and had a 24-0 lead at the end of the second quarter. They went on to win, 34-10. The Bengals made a statement by sacking Palmer twice during the first series. Boy, was it great to see Palmer get hit a bunch of times. And when the Raiders tried to stop the pass, the Bengals ran the ball with running backs BenJarvus Green-Ellis and the Runnin' Reverend, Cedric Peerman. And don't forget about Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton. Three touchdown passes today. Here's the story with video.

But what about the return of Carson Palmer? Yeah from the crowd, it was loud. Loud as in boos. Listening to the radio, I could hear you Bengals Nation. And frankly, the Bengals defense may deny it, but they seemed inspired by his return. They hit Palmer about 13 times, forced him to fumble and throw an interception. I've always had a love-hate relationship with Palmer. Loved his talent and his will to come back after a bad knee injury. But when he said he didn't want to play for the Bengals again, it hurt. Yeah, he basically indicated we were a bunch of losers, the team and the city. And you want to know something? Palmer lacked guts to play here. Why? It's life. He was drafted by the woeful Bengals, well at least at the time they were woeful. One has to deal with it. The game was a lot like being dumped by a girlfriend and seeing her again. Except this time, you get to see her get heart broken. Yeah, it's a little cruel. But Tony Bennett sang about this type of heartbreak in "I Wanna Be Around." So that's how I feel.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Life of Pi 3D Review

Director Ang Lee has made a wide range of films from American family drama, "The Ice Storm" to a lyrical martial arts saga, "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" to comic book blockbuster "Hulk" to a controversial romance in "Brokeback Mountain." Now he does what Martin Scorsese did last year and enters the world of 3-D (3D) filmmaking with the cinematic version of Yann Martel's novel, The Life of Pi.

The film, The Life of Pi, is exactly that. It's about Pi Patel, how he got his name, his boyhood life in India, and his family's zoo business. The boy Pi has sincere interest in all religions whether they be Islam, Hinduism or Catholicism. When Pi becomes a teenager, (Suraj Sharma) his family decides to move to Canada, taking with them their zoo animals. The ship on which they are traveling runs into a storm and sinks. Pi survives by boarding a lifeboat. Also on the boat are some of the zoo animals. They are a zebra, orangutan and hyena. Unfortunately, the zoo's tiger, Richard Parker, is also on board. The bulk of the movie is about the journey of Pi as he tries to survive with a carnivorous tiger.

The remarkable thing about The Life of Pi is that the filmgoer knows how Pi's perilous sea journey ends at the beginning of the movie. So how do director Lee and screenwriter David Magee keep the interest? They do so by having healthy doses of humor, and balancing the philosophical ideas and the drama of survival. From the start, when a character says that one will believe in God when you hear the tale of Pi, Lee mates this idea with Pi's struggle to keep the tiger from eating him. It's done as Pi narrates his story. It's also done with Lee's visual style.

And what visual style! Lee's film is beautiful to look at. There's a surreal feel to many of the scenes. The CGI that can hinder a movie's realism, works well here. Scenes look like paintings. Yet the CGI did wonders with some of the tiger's scenes. But it's the surreal scenes of the ocean, the skies and an island that will rivet a filmgoer. And the 3D is the best use of it in a fictional film since Scorsese's Hugo. (2011) First, it helps that the movie was filmed in 3-D. Lee doesn't ignore 3D. He uses it. Many times I believed I was in the movie. Lee does this by emphasizing the depth. The result for this movie is that it made me think about the ideas in the movie. See this movie in 3D.

The Life of Pi is a stunning achievement. It's cinematic entertainment that crosses into the area of high art. It does so by asking the audience to think while immersing them with beautiful and surreal images. It asks questions. How does one deal with tragedy? What is the nature of religion? And yes, Pi's story did make me believe in God. The grade is A +.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Susan Lucci makes an appearance on the Colbert Report

You knew Stephen Colbert would do a piece on the General Petraeus Affair. Well, he got soap opera star Susan Lucci to do guest spot. Check out the funny video below.

Jon Stewart skewers Bill O'Reilly

Leave it to Bill O'Reilly of Fox News to bemoan President Obama's victory coalition of women, African Americans, Asians, and Hispanics as the end of "traditional America" as reflected by the fifties sitcom "Leave It To Beaver." I'm not kidding. "Leave It To Beaver" was a show about a family, a lily white family. Yeah, O'Reilly could have used the Cosbys but he didn't. So, you get what he is crying about. It's about the loss of the domination of whites.

Anyway, thank goodness for Jon Stewart and the Daily Show to do a cogent piece on O'Reilly's fears. Stewart likes O'Reilly and won't call him out but I will. Bill O'Reilly, you are a racist. Here's Stewart's video.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bengals chew up Chiefs

The Cincinnati Bengals dominated the Kansas City Chiefs and beat them 28-6. There's not much to say. The Bengals were aggressive and took chances against the hapless Chiefs who are now 1-9. Cincinnati used a fake punt which led to a touchdown and went for it on a couple of fourth downs. The Chiefs resorted to using Brady Quinn at quarterback. Yikes.

Still too early to think of playoffs. Talk to me when the Bengals win ten games. Yet, the team must win games against opponents like these. Here's the story with video highlights.

Lincoln Review

Maturation might seem like a bad word in Hollywood's obsession for the teenage audience. But when it comes to filmmaker Stephen Spielberg, it's a term that can define the master director's works since the nineties. If you start with his European art film like Schindler's List (1993) to this year's Lincoln, you get a filmmaker who's interested in making serious movies. Yes, you get an occasional foray into the commercial like Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) but Speilberg's career will be highlighted by his last twenty years of making movies with something serious to say. And with Lincoln, Speilberg has created another masterpiece.

The film Lincoln is based on Doris Kearns Goodwin's book, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. It covers the final four months of President Abraham Lincoln's (Daniel Day-Lewis) life. Specifically, the film is about Lincoln's urgent mission to get the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution which abolishes slavery passed through Congress. The problems facing Lincoln is a House of Representatives in which he does not have the votes. Lincoln must muster his political resources while trying to end the Civil War. He must also reign in the more radical abolitionists Congressman Thaddeus Stevens (Tommy Lee Jones)

A good film starts with a good screenplay. A great film starts with a great screenplay. Tony Kushner (Angels in America) has created a great screenplay that highlights the struggle to get the votes for the Thirteenth Amendment's passage. And he doesn't sugarcoat it. There's near bribery and arm twisting by Lincoln. Yes, it was probably impossible to say anything negative about Lincoln, the screenplay does reflect the great difficulties, personal problems from his wife's neurosis and professional ones dealing with the Civil War. Yet for all it's seriousness, the film depicts nice touches of humor especially when President Lincoln wants to tell a funny story.

As Lincoln, Daniel Day-Lewis is astounding. He gives his Lincoln, a tenor's timbre which some say is historically accurate. He is a man who has seen too much bloodshed and injustice. He'll end the war on his terms but he is also a forgiving man. James Spader
adds some comic relief as William Bilbo, Lincoln's lobbyist. It's one of the few times that a lobbyist is depicted in a positive light. Frankly, all the roles are performed well. But it's Tommy Lee Jones' Congressman Stevens that nearly steals the show and will likely get him an Oscar nomination. Jones' facial moods range from rage to passion to disappointment to love.

As far as Spielberg's direction, many filmmakers could learn much from him. There are very few hand-held camera shots that would distract from the drama. Camera movements are slow but dramatic. Some wide shots feature Lincoln walking away from the conversation as if to depict his loneliness. And while Speilberg gets the right emotions from his actors, he knows when to get out of the way. These instincts are what make a great filmmaker.

Lincoln is one of the finest films of the year. It raises important issues about humanity; issues about race and prejudice. The grade is A +.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Despicable Mitt

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney really is a conservative and a "severely" conservative one as Mitt likes to call himself. So if you right-wingers so the election was lost because Romney wasn't conservative enough, you're wrong. And Mitt just proved it.

In comments before top donors, Romney said President Barack Obama won by bestowing "gifts" to various groups of people. If this sounds like his 47 percent remarks, it is. To get African American and Hispanic voters, Obama gave them health care. Even more gifts were granted to Hispanics in Obama's support for the Dream Act. Young people were given the benefit of staying under their parents health care and forgiveness of interest of student loans. Women were granted the gift of contraceptives or more specifically coverage by Obamacare. Not only does this sound like 47 percent remark, it's almost exactly like Fox News' Bill O'Reilly's comment that Obama voters got "things." O'Reilly bemoaned the end of the white establishment. It's kind of racist.

Well, I've had drinks with angry white conservatives. And Romney and O'Reilly's comments are no different from their hatred. It's one thing to support a laissez-faire government over a more activist one but it's quite another to argue that more than half of the electorate were bought. It's simply an insult to more than half of the people to say that they voted because they were bribed. How about the idea, that a majority of people supported President Obama's ideas over yours? Regardless, shame on you Mitt Romney for arguing that people of color are a bunch of parasites.

I admit that I'm a racial minority. Yes, Bill O'Reilly, I'm not part of the white establishment. I voted for Obama because I agreed with many of his ideas. If government's job is to make the lives of the people better than call me a taker. But I believe the right-wing in its Ayn Rand philosophy miss out on the true nature of Obama. It's about justice. Social and economic justice. Freedom. And freedom that means more than just guns and taxes. It's about freedom for a woman to control her body and get government out of it. It's about the right to vote, free from Republican attempts to suppress it.

Meanwhile, I wait for my gift from Santa Barack. I wanted an iPhone. Still waiting. Hey, Mitt and Bill, do you think I'll get it?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Petraeus Affair

Confused about the General Petraeus affair? Need a scorecard? Okay, yesterday Chris Matthews, much to his chagrin, did a piece on it for Hardball. Oh, lighten up Chris. It's something out of a "Real Housewives..." episode. Look for the humor. Then Jon Stewart did a piece on it for The Daily Show. Chris, it's funny.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Paula Broadwell DLC

FAUX NEWS- Tung N. Cheek reporting.

We've got breaking news for video game fans. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 will get a new DLC. (Downloadable Content; means a new mission) As you know General David Petraeus makes a cameo as Secretary of Defense. Video below. Now Activision will release a new DLC featuring Petraeus' mistress, Paula Broadwell.

In the DLC, the gamer will play Ms. Broadwell. She must escort Gen. Petraeus to divorce court. Along the way, they will face woman gold diggers which Broadwell must dispatch. Eventually, as Broadwell, the player will have to take on a boss enemy. The boss enemy will be the other woman in the Petraeus affair. She's Jill Kelley. The player must avoid Ms. Kelley's formidable Boob Attack.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

What the...? Bengals beat the Giants

Playoffs? Playoffs?? The phrase that Colts head coach Jim Mora made famous seems to come to mind when I think the Cincinnati Bengals have a chance at the playoffs. But what causes my enthusiasm? Today, the Cincinnati Bengals walloped the Super Bowl champions, New York Giants, 31-13. After the Bengals took a 14-0 lead, they never looked back. The classic Bengals meltdown never occurred.

The Bengals offensive line protected quarterback Andy Dalton. He threw for four touchdowns. Bengals superstar receiver A.J. Green backed up his words when he said the Giants defense had holes in it. He was so open for his touchdown bomb that he was in another timezone and the Giants were one hour behind.

The Bengals defense was stellar. They picked off the Giants elite quarterback Eli Manning twice. Forced two fumbles. The defensive line of Geno Atkins, Michael Johnson, and Carlos Dunlap pressured Manning all day. The result? The Bengals cruised to victory.

But what about playoffs? After all, I've said the season is over. Well, the Bengals haven't been eliminated yet. If they play like they did today, it's a possibility. And they have Kansas City and Oakland coming up. Right now the Bengals are at 4-5. Last year after twelve games, the Giants were 6-6, so anything is possible.

Here's the story of the game with video highlights.

Skyfall review

With the release of the new James Bond movie Skyfall, it's become clear that the Bond franchise will adhere to the more earthly approach of its two cinematic predecessors. Gone are the days of silly and enjoyable sixties films where the villains had volcano lairs (You Only Live Twice) and the later excesses of production. (Moonraker)) While Casino Royale (2006) was a commercial success, the question becomes, "Is the new Bond realism fun?"

Skyfall starts out with a harrowing chase between James Bond (Daniel Craig) and a thief of a hard drive which contains the names of MI6's secret agents embedded in terrorist organizations. The chase culminates on top of a train with MI6 agent Eve (Naomie Harris) accidentally shooting Bond on orders from M. (Judi Dench) Bond survives but M finds that she is under investigation from her superior, Mallory. (Ralph Fiennes) Meanwhile, the man behind the theft, Silva (Javier Bardem) blows up MI6's headquarters, forcing the intelligence agency to operate literally underground. Bond comes back to MI6 but is still injured from being shot. However, M trusts Bond and sends him out to find Silva, a man at the moment, they know nothing about.

Daniel Craig is the coolest of all of the Bonds. He might be too emotionless. And frankly he's rather dour. That's not bad but he's not Roger Moore's Bond with his tongue in his cheek. I prefer a balance which would be Pierce Brosnan's Bond. Naomie Harris ("Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest") is a sleek and sultry Bond girl. Ralph Fiennes is empathetic as government bureaucrat who has had field experience. Judi Dench is her marvelous self as she displays a stubborn to a fault, M. Javier Bardem ("No Country for Old Men") again displays a knack for playing villains. There's so much humanity and insanity in his character. And there is finally a Q, the quartermaster or the guy with the gadgets. It's played by a moppy haired, young man with acne, Ben Whishaw. He's a computer geek who can do a lot with a laptop.

Director Sam Mendes ("American Beauty") does a smashing job with Skyfall. He doesn't let the film editor make the action scenes, Mendes frames them cleanly. This Bond movie feels like an art film. Camera angles are well thought out. And kudos to him for helping to get the motivations of the characters exposed.

I've always said a good movie starts with a good screenplay. And Sykfall has a very good screenplay. The dialogue fits the characters without strains of the fantastic. For example, Silva's motivation for his madness is believable and makes you feel sorry for him. Action scenes are not there just for the sake of having an action scene. They move the plot along. The climatic showdown will have also thinking about westerns. One thing though. You'll figure out the fate of one character way before the end. However, the result of the excellent screenplay is an enthralling movie that will have you glued to your seat. The only problem I had was M's reckless behavior which seemed out of character for her. There's a scene in a hearing room where she ignores the warnings of coming assassins, refuses to flee and endangers innocent lives. Not logical.

But the question remains. Is Skyfall fun? First, let me say there's a difference between entertaining and fun. I found "The King's Speech" (2010) to be entertaining but not fun. Skyfall is exciting and entertaining. But it's not fun. I mean there are some humorous nods to Bond of the past. Bond will occasionally drink a Heineken but still drinks a martini. But get this, the writers don't have Bond say how he wants it made. He doesn't even utter a famous expression (it has something to do with knives at a gun fight) at the end of the movie that would have been very funny. Yeah, they brought back Q but the only thing he gives Bond is a Walther PPK that fires only for him and a mini-radio. Q then notes that they don't do the exploding pen thing anymore. Well, I'm sorry, Q's gadgets of the past Bond movies were fun. Regardless, don't let this keep you from seeing Skyfall.

Skyfall is another in the series of realistic Bond movies. It is a well made thriller. The grade is A.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Colbert on election night

Here's Stephen Colbert on election night where he announces President Barack Obama gets re-elected. Colbert berates people for liking Obama for killing Bin Laden, healthcare and saving the auto industry. Funny stuff.

Jon Stewart slams Fox News coverage of the election

Here's more proof why Jon Stewart of the Daily Show deserved the Emmy Award. He takes on Fox News coverage of the election, torches big fat idiots Karl Rove and Dick "Romney wins in a landslide" Morris. Funny stuff. Check it out.

Dick Morris and Karl Rove are big fat idiots

Nate Silver accurately predicted the presidential election. His method? He used something called math. Well he got blasted by conservatives who didn't use math or facts. Dick Morris at Fox News predicted that Romney would beat Obama in a landslide. Karl Rove predicted Romney would win big. On election night, Rove couldn't believe his own Fox News statistics gurus on Obama taking Ohio. Um, Karl, you don't know Ohio. If a Democrat wins or does real well in Hamilton County, that's Cincinnati, he wins Ohio. Anyway, here's Rachel Maddow telling the right-wing where they got the facts wrong.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A victory for justice

Yesterday, President Barack Obama was re-elected for another term. This was a victory over right-wing lies and racism. It was a victory over ignorance and fear. The people have a champion for the ninety nine percent. It was a victory for justice.

The end of the Republican Party?

Yesterday, the Republicans lost the presidency again. They also lost a bunch of the Senate races. Yes, they did retain control of the House but their hold there is tenuous once Democrats learn that they must vote every two years.

But Republicans are showing that they haven't learned anything about the new America. It will no longer bow to the will of "angry white guys" a term that Republican Senator Lindsey Graham has used. People want compromise. So what does Republican senator Mitch McConnell have to say after the election? After all, this was a guy who said the goal of the Republicans was to deny President Obama a second term. Here's what he said today.

"The voters have not endorsed the failures or excesses of the President’s first term, they have simply given him more time to finish the job they asked him to do together with a Congress that restored balance to Washington after two years of one-party control. Now it’s time for the President to propose solutions that actually have a chance of passing the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and a closely-divided Senate, step up to the plate on the challenges of the moment, and deliver in a way that he did not in his first four years in office. To the extent he wants to move to the political center, which is where the work gets done in a divided government, we’ll be there to meet him half way. That begins by proposing a way for both parties to work together in avoiding the ‘fiscal cliff’ without harming a weak and fragile economy, and when that is behind us work with us to reform the tax code and our broken entitlement system. Republicans are eager to hear the President’s proposals on these and many other pressing issues going forward and to do the work the people sent us here to, do.”

Yep, Mitch showed some real class. NOT. How about the Republicans moving to the center, Mitch?

But it doesn't look like the Republicans have learned their lesson. The country is not all that conservative or all that white. It's not a good time to be a racist. At the University of Mississippi, students rioted Obama's victory. There were chants of racial epithets against Obama and blacks. And what about the Tea Party? The local greater Cincinnati Tea Party issued a statement and it's not comforting.

“the world mourns the loss of America. Socialists, welfare and unions took over this country yesterday. Today I wear black. The day America died. ....Today we mourn the loss of our country. Today the takers clearly outnumber the makers. Government has grown to take over this country instead of a government of the people. Reasons for this loss of our freedom can be found in all national, statewide and local candidate and tax issues. ....We will be a socialist nation within months. However, a revolution is rising and all those elected officials that are blind to what they have done to this country should be encouraged to become enlightened, should be encouraged to step down and should not be reelected.”

Look, when the base of the Republican Party won't moderate and has moved to the far right, the Republican Party will go the way of the dodo bird. This country is not as conservative as the party would have you believe. It's clearly not the crazy right-wing that dominates the party. How did hard right-wingers like Todd Akin,Richard Mourdock and Joe Walsh do? They all lost. Heck, Akin's senate opponent, Claire McCaskill bought ads supporting Akin in his primary fight. She wanted to run against the right-wing yahoo.

Republicans should realize this. The country is no longer dominated by angry white men. It's more liberal than they could imagine. If they can't even embrace the true libertarian streak of the father of conservatism Barry Goldwater and moderate their views, then it's over for the Republican Party.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Saturday Night LIve lampoons New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his interpreter for the deaf Lydia Callis

She's an Internet star. I'm talking about New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's interpreter for the deaf, Lydia Callis. She's attractive, graceful and expressive. Well, Saturday Night Live did a parody of a news conference over Sandy and having some fun with Ms. Callis. Check it out. Bonus. Check out actual video of Ms. Callis.

Monday, November 5, 2012

MSNBC Election Music; clip from "Dave"

MSNBC has the best election coverage music. It's inspiring, patriotic and it also uses the NBC theme. Below is the music. And since this post has an election day theme, below is a scene from Dave. (1993) In the clip, Dave (Kevin Kline) who is a presidential imitator pretending to be the real president, balances the budget to save homeless shelters. It's a great movie so check it out.

The case for President Obama and the Democrats

If you're still undecided here's some last minute advice on who to vote for tomorrow. Vote for President Barack Obama and the Democrats. Here's my argument.

1. We're not in a Great Depression, Part 2. At the end of 2008, the country was about to head into the Great Depression, Part 2. Thanks to the economic stimulus passed by Obama and the Democrats, this country did not go into another Great Depression. That's a fact folks. This country is not in a depression or even a recession.

2. Passed national health care. This has never been done before. Finally a President got a national health care plan passed. The United States can take its place among other western nations that have national health care.

3. Killed Osama Bin Laden. Obama made a promise in 2008 that he would get terrorist Osama Bin Laden, the man behind the 9/11 attacks. He made this a priority in his administration. And Obama delivered.

4. GM is alive. When it looked like the auto industry was going to die, the Democrats and President Obama bailed them out. Now, the auto industry has roared back. Thousands of jobs were saved.

5. The Republicans have a neanderthal attitude towards women. If you believe in a women's right to choose, the choice is clear. The Republicans platform would outlaw abortions in all cases. And in an effort to defend this position, Republican candidates have repeated the ludicrous claim that women can't get pregnant from rape. One has said that rape was intended by God. Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan wanted to redefine rape as "forcible rape."

Mitt Romney won't answer whether he would support the Lilly Ledbetter Act. This law helps women to enforce their rights against sexual discrimination in the workplace.

6. The Republicans do not want to work with Democrats. The Republicans are dominated by the Tea Party wing of the party. They don't compromise. They are in the far right-wing of the political spectrum. Folks, Mitt Romney is part of this wing also. He describes himself as "severely conservative." Let me make this clear. To solve the deficit, it takes arithmetic. It requires some revenue increases also known as taxes and spending cuts. The Democrats are willing to cut spending but the Republicans won't increase taxes on the big rich. And who can forget Sen. Mitch McConnell's statement that the goal of the party was to deny Obama a second term. That was said in 2010.

7. A Democratic congress will get things done. Think about this. A Democratic House and Senate. Things will get done. Look at the great accomplishments when Congress was controlled by the Democrats.

Make a statement for fairness, freedom, and justice. Vote for Obama for President. Vote for Democrats.

Yawn. Bengals lose again.

Yes, the Cincinnati Bengals took the lead against the Denver Broncos, 20-17, heading into the fourth quarter. If you're a Bengals fan, you expect the sky to fall any moment. And it did. This fourth quarter sequence summons the Bengals way. Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton completes a pass for a first down on third and fifteen. Play nullified for center Jeff Faine's holding. DOH. Third and twenty five. Dalton tries to force the ball to A.J. Green on a deep route. He's hit as he throws the ball. Interception. DOH. Future Hall of Famer quarterback Peyton Manning easily leads the Broncos to a clinching touchdown. Game over. Bengals lose 31-23. Oh and let's not forget the Bengals defense. Or let's forget them. The Broncos converted 64 % of third downs. The Bengals are the Homer Simpsons of the NFL.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Wreck-It Ralph 3D Review

In the late seventies and early eighties, video game arcades were a top entertainment destination. They were dominated by 8 bit games such as Space Invaders, Donkey Kong and Pac-Man. The home console invaded America in the late seventies only to die in the mid-eighties and become resurrected with Nintendo's foray in the late eighties. Now comes the animated film, Wreck-It Ralph, which is a homage to those golden days of 8 bit gaming.

Ralph (John C. Reilly) is the villain of a 2D arcade video game called Fix-It Felix Jr. The game is much like Donkey Kong. Ralph is kind of like the Hulk. He goes to the top of a building and he stomps around causing damage to the various floors represented by windows. Felix (Jack McBrayer) is controlled by a human player and he runs around fixing the damage. When Felix gets to the top, the residents pick up Ralph and throw him off the building. Wave over.

When the local arcade is closed, the video game characters come alive. It's similar to Toy Story where the toys come alive when the children are not around. While attending a support group for video game villains, Ralph states his wish to stop being a bad guy. Later, he crashes a party for the thirtieth anniversary of Fix-It Felix Jr. It's a party Ralph realizes that the characters of the game did not invite him to. During the party, Ralph believes he can gain acceptance if he can obtain a medal, something earned by human player in many video games.

Ralph decides to sneak into a game, Hero's Duty to get a medal. This game is a first person shooter in which players are space marines fighting Cy-Bugs. Ralph gets a medal and escapes in a ship but there's a Cy-Bug aboard. He crashes the ship into another arcade game called Sugar Rush, a kart racing game. There he meets Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman), a nine year old girl and has the handicap of being a computer glitch. Vanellope takes Ralph's medal and uses it to enter a race. Ralph must now find a way to get the medal back. Meanwhile, there's a threat from the Cy-Bug.

The voice acting in Wreck-It Ralph works. John C. Reilly displays his yearning to be accepted among his video game cast. Jack McBrayer is perfectly cast as a goody two shoes and naive character. Jane Lynch does a good job as a tough Marine from Hero's Duty. And the lovely Sarah Silverman does a cute nine year old girl. She leaves her usual sarcastic wit at home.

Director Rich Moore does a competent job but with Wreck-It Ralph but it has major problems. A good movie starts with a good screenplay. Jennifer Lee and Phil Johnston's screenplay is confusing. This video game world has its own rules and even if you are versed in video games, you don't know what they are. The screenplay throws out important lines regarding rules without further exposition the same way Pac-Man eats a dot. Doze off for a second and you will be lost. For example, bugs in the real world are attracted to light but why are the Cy-Bugs so excited about it in the video game world? Children and adults will be lost if they don't pay attention.

Then there are problems with the art direction. I'm talking about the world of Sugar Rush. It's an overdose of red, white and pink. Mix in Daliesque type structures and you have a film that looks like it was made by guys who were smoking the whacky weed. The result is that you will get an ice cream brain freeze headache.

If you're thinking about going to the 3D version of Wreck-It Ralph, forget it. The movie follows the snob's version of 3D. Don't emphasize it. The result? There were many times that I questioned whether the movie was in 3D. There's no depth, no pop. Textures don't stand out. Compare this version of 3D animation to How to Train Your Dragon. (2010) Dragon didn't treat 3D like it didn't exist. That's why it's a much better 3D film.

I wonder who this movie is aimed at. The world of video games is dominated by the console, XBOX, Playstation and WII. While I welcome a valentine to the eighties arcade, it's a world that is gone. The arcade deserves a better movie than this confusing mess. The grade is B-.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Stephen Colbert extends his offer to Donald Trump

Amidst the destruction of Hurricane Sandy, super rich guy Donald Trump extended his attempt to extort President Barack Obama to get his college records. What a nice guy. If you recall Stephen Colbert countered and made an offer to Donald Trump. Well, Stephen Colbert extended his offer last night. Below are the two pieces Colbert did on Trump's offer. First up is the Colbert's offer and then Colbert's extension. Riotous.