Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Keith Olbermann admits he was over the top

Unlike Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, Keith Olbermann acknowledges when he's a little too passionate and well, wrong. Responding to a piece by Jon Stewart and the Daily Show criticizing him for his shrill response to new Senator Scott Brown, Olbermann agrees with Stewart after running the entire bit on his show "Countdown." By the way it's posted below and Stewart is a riot. My friends will especially like the jokes about cussing in front of high school kids. and the joke about responding badly to nuts who call out crazy stuff at you is hilarious.

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

Monday, January 25, 2010

Filipino Prisoners Dance to Michael Jackson's "This is It"

The late Michael Jackson's choreographer Travis Payne recently taught Filipino prisoners at the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center to dance to a Jackson song from "This is It", his final show. It's a sight to behold the synchronization of the prisoners. Mind you, it's a high security facility. So these are probably some really bad dudes. It's good to see them do something productive. Here's the video.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Best Film of the Year for 2009

It's awards season in Hollywood. This year the Academy Awards will have ten nominees for Best Picture. Unfortunately, that was done to improve TV ratings. (Entertainment Weekly, Jan. 8, 2010, pg. 34) I believe there should be no concern for popularity when it comes to Oscar. Why? Because the Academy Awards unlike the Grammys stand for quality. You'll forget about who won for Record of the Year two years ago but you will remember for example that Lord of the Rings: Return of the King won the Best Picture Oscar in 2004. Another problem is the dilution of the award. Now there's a chance that a clunker like Around the World in Eighty Days might win Best Picture as it did in 1956. Please. A film that wins the Oscar for Best Picture should be a classic.

This bring us to the Best Film of 2009. At the Basement Blog, the criteria for the Best Film of the Year is that movie stand the test of time. It must entertain but it must also be a work of art. All facets of the movie must have quality. These facets include acting, writing and direction. Okay, without further adieu, for Best Film of the Year for 2009, the nominees are G.I. Joe.... just kidding. The nominees are District 9, The Hurt Locker, Julie and Julia, Up, and Up in the Air.

And the winner is....


Though it's an animated fantasy film, Up took huge artistic risks. The first being that the hero of the film is an old man. The second risk was the first fifteen minutes. We meet the hero as a boy. We see him meet the love of his life as a boy. Then there is a five minute montage with no dialogue detailing the couple's life from marriage to heartbreak to life's troubles that at times overtake their dreams to the eventual death of the wife from old age. Starting a movie with that kind of downer is bold storytelling. It's sad but certainly gives the hero his goal for the film. This is all helped by Michael Giacchino's wonderful score. Unlike his dour Star Trek score, Up soars with warmth and inspiration. Up is a funny, heartwarming adventure that should take its place among the top movies ever made, animated or live action. Here's the trailer for "Up."

Friday, January 15, 2010

Daily Show takes on Beck-Palin love fest, conservative Haitian critics

Yesterday's Daily Show took on the Glenn Beck-Sarah Palin interview in which Glenn Beck virtually expresses his love for Sarah Palin. Folks, you can't write stuff like the moment Glenn Beck reads from his personal journal his entry on getting the chance to interview Palin and almost has a sexual orgasm. Here's the clip.

Then host Jon Stewart takes on Rush Limbaugh's criticism of the President's Haitian relief effort as a political stunt to carry favor with the light skinned and dark skinned blacks. After his moronic comments about the liberal media trying to help Donavan McNabb because he's a black quarterback, can we now call Rush a racist? He then goes after Pat Robertson's crazy comment about the Haitians are cursed because they made a pack with the devil. Stewart also takes a shot at our beloved Rachel Maddow. Here's that clip.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Avatar IMAX vs. regular 3D

On a previous post, I told you to save your money when going to see Avatar in 3D because the 3D version is not that special. Well, somebody told me to check it out in the IMAX version. So, the question becomes should you spend the fifteen dollars to see it in this special presentation?

The first thing you notice about IMAX is that the screen is gigantic. It's fatter than the average screen also. Along with the size, the format is set to display greater resolution. It can also show 3D pictures.

So, what about Avatar in the IMAX presentation? The size and resolution definitely enhance the 3D effects. I noticed the 3D picture more than the standard 3D. There's less clutter in some of the film's busier scenes. So if you are going to see Avatar in 3D, see it in the IMAX version. But is it essential to see it in this version versus the 2d version? No. 3D gives you a crisp picture but you don't feel that much immersed in the picture than 2D. That's because your senses give you an idea of what is behind you in real life. When you're looking at a 3D movie, you still see it as two dimensions with depth. Until they develop a virtual reality helmet for the audience, you lose nothing with a movie made in two dimensions.

Now that doesn't make all 3D movies useless. They might require more money shots, you know the tip of the spear pointing right at you scene. But films such as Beowulf (2007) and the trailer for the upcoming How to Train Your Dragon (2010) are effective as 3D movies. Maybe it's the computer animation and the use of more money shots that make them more effective. Regardless, when it comes to Avatar, if you want to save your money then see this tree hugging extravaganza in 2D.

Daily Show takes on conservative attacks of Obama for the "underwear" bomber

Recently, conservatives have been attacking President Obama for the recent attempted destruction of a plane by the underwear bomber. Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani made a brazen statement that under former President George W. Bush that there were no terror attacks, missing oh, the 9/11 attack, anthrax poisonings, Richard Reid the shoe bomber, etc. Of course, he backtracked and he and other conservatives started making rules to make it look like Obama had more attacks on his watch. This "terror ball" makes for good satire by Jon Stewart and John Oliver of the Daily Show. Sorry about hyperlinking it, I'm having trouble embedding their stuff to this blog. So, here's the link to their piece.

Bengals Resign Defensive Coordinator Mike Zimmer

In the two years since he became defensive coordinator, Mike Zimmer led the Cincinnati Bengals defense from 27th to fourth in the NFL. The Bengals announced today, they have resigned him for three more years.

That's great news. Teams that win consistently keep quality personnel. Defense wins championships. Now what about that offense?

Sarah Palin on Fox News

President Sarah Palin, er Sarah Palin debuts on Fox News Network tonight. She will be on the "O'Reilly Factor." Let's replay her greatest hit. Yes, it's from the Katie Couric interview during the 2008 presidential campaign. But it's not about what books she reads. The frightening moment comes when she answers a question about the bank bailouts and thinks it's about health care. Folks, this person wants to be President. Oy Vey.

Chuck Norris and the Secret Vault

The above post title sounds like a bad action picture but action star Chuck Norris believes that President Obama by giving Interpol certain exemptions has created a "secret vault" to hide records on the war in terror. This secret vault is allegedly at Interpol's New York office.

In this report from Newsweek's Michael Isikoff, Norris cites for his authority, yes, you guessed it, Glenn Beck. Now I've never known Interpol to be in cahoots with terrorists. And it is travesty to accuse President Obama of basically treason without any real evidence. In fact, one of the tasks of the Interpol office is to keep watch lists of Al Qaeda and Taliban suspects.

Norris is a supporter of former Republican Presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee. Now it's one thing to hear this from a washed up actor, it's another thing when that nut has the ear of a major presidential candidate. What conservatives need is the ability to make arguments with real evidence. If they don't, they sound crazy.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Mark McGwire admits to using steroids

"Surprise, surprise, surprise," as Gomer Pyle would say. Former St. Louis Cardinals' slugger Mark McGwire admits to using steroids when he broke the single season homerun record in 1998. He told the AP about his drug use. He wants to clear the air before he becomes the hitting coach for the Cardinals. Now, everytime he is seen on the field there will be jeers if the fans already aren't booing him.

Baseball should strip him of the homeruns he hit during that now tainted year. It would send a message that steroid use will not be tolerated. If they ever prove that Barry Bonds used illegal drugs to enhance his performance, his records should be stripped also. The problem is that young kids look up to these bums and may emulate them by taking drugs to get ahead. They would run the risk of hurting themselves healthwise in the long run. Make a statement Bud Selig.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Reds Sign Talented Cuban Pitching Prospect

The Cincinnati Reds signed much sought after Cuban pitching prospect Aroldis Chapman. WHAT? You heard that right. This was a guy that the Red Sox, Blue Jays and Angels were trying to get. What makes him so prized? Well, he can get it up there at 100 mph. He's a lefty also. Here's the official Reds story.

What makes this so stunning? Well, the Reds were so poor they could not even resign Jonny Gomes. According to the report the Reds will be paying this kid 25 million for five years. Now that may sound like a lot but if he's the stud that we saw in the World Baseball Classic, well that's cheap compared to the money given to C.C. Sabathia by the Yankees. (Seven years at 161 million dollars)

Now according to MLB network (story above), maturity is a question. But at this moment, no one knows. Certainly, the Yankees not in the mix gives you some reservation. After all, they can outbid everybody. It is incumbent on the Reds to find somebody to guide him. How about Mario Soto? But what if he is ready now? Look at the rotation. Arroyo, Harang, Cueto, Bailey and Chapman. Wow.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Another Bengals Heartbreak

The Cincinnati Bengals lost today 24-14 in their Wild Card Playoff game. Season over. The heartbreaking thing is that the Bengals could have won this game. You cannot turn the ball over twice and expect to win in the playoffs. You cannot shoot yourself in the foot with penalties. You can't give up big plays. You've got to make chip shot field goals. Shayne Graham missed two. Yikes. This is the lot in life for a Bengals fan.

It's time to look to the draft and free agency to improve this team. First let's address what needs to be done on the coaching and management side. Resign Defensive Coordinator Mike Zimmer. He's built a fine defense, something we haven't seen in years. Okay, we know owner Mike Brown won't get a GM so how about hiring more scouts? Listen to Head Coach Marvin Lewis' suggestions.

As for the draft and free agency, we need help everywhere except quarterback, running back, defensive end, and corner back. Do not bring back Shayne Graham. I'm trying to recall when the last time he made a clutch kick. Oh, the game at Cleveland. But he's had too many disasters. And two in a playoff game is inexcusable. Not worth a franchise tag. So the big needs are tight end, kicker, wide receiver, offensive line, and defensive tackle.

It was a heck of a year, my Bengals fans. Wait till next year.

Star Trek 12 to come out in 2012

TrekMovie.com is reporting that the next Star Trek film is to come out mid-summer, 2012. The report notes that the year 2011 is going to be crowded with movies and a busy one for the team developing the film. It conjectures that the move may allow J.J. Abrams a chance to return as director. What, Paramount needs another Star Trek movie with a lot of lens flares? Just kidding J.J.

Three years is too long for the next movie to come out. You need to keep interest in the franchise and build momentum for the film. To tide us over, how about a new TV series? I suggested previously that Paramount bring back Star Trek: Enterprise. What do you say Paramount?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Bengals Will Win

Okay, last Sunday night, the Cincinnati Bengals got thumped by the New York Jets. So what? The team ran a vanilla defense. Marvin Lewis rested three defensive starters. Running back Cedric Benson didn't play.

I've made a wrong projection before. I've made a correct prediction before. I have faith. The Cincinnati Bengals beat the Jets tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Best Science Fiction Film of 2009

2009 was a banner year for science fiction movies. You had everything from the sublime Moon to the blockbuster Transformers 2 to the craptastic G.I. Joe. But unfortunately, we can pick only one to be named the "Basement Blog Best Science Fiction Film of 2009." The nominees are: Avatar, District 9, Moon, The Men Who Stare at Goats, and Star Trek.

And the winner is......

District 9
District 9 is intelligent science fiction. It takes on the issue of racism in a metaphor of how humans discriminate against the aliens who have been stranded above Johannesburg, South Africa. Yet it is also action packed. Love those alien weapons. We gave it the grade of A.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Bengals get thumped

The New York Jets offensive line ran over the Cincinnati Bengals. The Jets thumped the Bengals, 37-0. The defense had no clue how to handle the Jets wildcat offense and the option. Yes, that's right, the Jets ran the option. You would figure at the pro level the players would know how to stop the freaking option! The best play in the first half, the Bengals best play was penalties. The scary thing is that the Jets are getting momentum for their playoff run.

Now maybe the Bengals want the Jets in the playoffs since the Bengals loss set up a rematch next week. Maybe the Bengals brought their "B" game versus the Jets' "A" game. At least, we see how their defense runs and their offense works. Cincinnati Bengals flip the switch and pummel these guys next week.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Up In The Air Film Review

It's not easy making an unpleasant character seem sympathetic. Yet that's what George Clooney does playing Ryan Bingham in director Jason Reitman's Up in the Air. You see Bingham is a guy that works for a company which fires or layoffs employees for other businesses. Why can't the primary firing company dismiss its own employees? Cowardice.

That makes this film one of the most relevant for our current recession. The movie even uses actual people who had recently been fired. One wonders how Bingham endures all the angst of the termination process. Bingham survives by insulating himself in a cocoon of isolation. He even gives motivational speeches, arguing that you have to empty your life of personal relationships.

Yet for all the anti-relationship philosophies that Bingham has, he still wants the personal touch to the firing process. In one hilarious sequence, we see what might happen when an employee gets fired. Zach Galifianakis playing a fired employee goes through all the reactions a terminated employee may do, including getting a rifle and making an attempt to shoot his boss. So, Bingham must ease employees into their new life. He does so with such drivel as "Anybody who ever built an empire or changed the world, sat where you are now." Which can be meaningless to a person who is sixty years old.

Life is good for Bingham. He has limited contact with his family, he is well paid and loves flying around the country. He meets a soul mate in Alex Goran. (Vera Farmiga) Life has reached a regular consistency. Then walks in Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick) to rock his world. She's a up and coming executive who has a cost saving plan to fire employees through a computer video linkup. Of course, this is unacceptable to Bingham as it may end his jet set lifestyle. He argues that the personal touch is needed to terminate people. The company then suggests that he take Natalie on the road to show her the ropes.

It is during their journeys across the country that both characters find their worlds changing. Natalie's life goes through emotional upheaval due to changes in her relationship with her boyfriend and experiencing first hand the effect of firing people in person. Bingham also starts to question his vapid life.

George Clooney is charming as Bingham. He's believable. The same can be said for Vera Farmiga, who is sexy and warm. She's easy to love. Anna Kendrick was perfectly cast as the young, uptight and ambitious new executive. The script is witty, thought provoking, funny and sad.

Up in the Air is a film about the dichotomies of life. Ryan and Natalie deliver heartbreaking news yet look for ways to deliver it with a positive spin. We don't want the pain of relationships yet we don't want to be alone. This is a movie that is a must see for the new year. The film is an intelligent and rich comedy drama. The grade is A.