Saturday, September 28, 2013

MetallicA: Through The Never IMAX 3D - Movie Review

MetallicA: Through The Never
   I've never seen a concert movie in a theatre before but I'm so glad I went out and saw this one.  The whole production was top notch, everything looked and more importantly, sounded great.  The sound was good enough to make you feel like you are at a MetallicA show, I was pleasantly surprised when the opening song started and I immediately felt like, "Yes, this is what I remember!"  The whole IMAX 3D thing was well done.  I don't usually pay the extra for the IMAX or even the 3D for most movies but I did for this one.  I would see it again in IMAX but probably not pay the extra for the 3D again.  I think the sound and scale of the IMAX screen help make this movie going experience better. 
     This is not just a straight forward concert film.  The main draw will be MetallicA and the music, as it should be, but there is a story line running through this film that uses the music as sort of a back drop.  Everyone probably knows the story by now so I'll make it short.  A roadie, or gofer, named Trip arrives at the arena the night of the show.  As he makes his was inside sees the members of the band arriving or getting ready.  The band members have just brief cameos here in the beginning, everything else we see of them is on stage.  Hetfield arrives in an old school hot rod that shoots flames out the exhaust as he glares at our "hero" from behind dark sunglasses.  Hammett is talking with a crew member and holding a broken guitar that appears to be bleeding.  Further backstage, Trujillo is seen rocking out on his bass with a room full of speakers that is shaking the room and the hallway.  He continues further into the arena and passes Lars, who is walking by and talking with other crew members.  Lars slows down and looks at Trip as if he knows him or is trying to recognize him.  Trip continues walking until he is standing in an isle of the arena.  Quick shots of the band as they make their way together back stage.  The arena is full now and the lights go down.  The band members take the stage and start playing.  Trip stands there and takes in the show just like the rest of the audience.  Standing, cheering and singing along with the crowd. 
     As the first song ends, another crew member grabs Trip and has a task for him.  Here is the start of Trips journey.  He is given an crucial task: A truck carrying an important item that the band needs has run out of gas somewhere in the city.  Trip needs to find the truck, retrieve the item and return it to the band.  The story scenes are all very well done.  They are woven into the concert at key moments of songs, not just started and stopped between them.  This helps in keeping the movie moving along at a quick pace as we don't see much banter between James and the crowd or setting up for the next song. 
     Trip hits the city looking for the truck and finds the streets are eerily deserted.    He is passed on the road by a crowd of people being chased by cops.  Things only get weirder for Trip.  He soon finds himself literally in the middle of a street fight between rioters and cops in full battle gear.  The scenes are cut together with the concert footage, like the riot cops beating their batons on their shields to the opening beats of Wherever I May Roam.  Here, Trip first encounters the mysterious horseman.  This masked man is riding around on horseback, throwing a noose around rioters and hanging them from street lights.  He soon sets his sights on Trip. 
     Meanwhile the band is going full throttle on stage.  The stage is massive.  The entire floor is covered in video screens which show lighting effects, video clips and cool effects like blood slowly covering the stage.  Stage props are brought in to pay homage to classic album covers and songs.  They built an electric chair and 4 Tesla Coils to create a lightning storm during Ride The Lightning, a huge statue of Doris (Lady Justice) that is assembled then demolished at the climax of the ...And Justice For All.  Several eliminated crosses arose from the stage during Master Of Puppets, along with some smoke produced some of the cooler images of the band playing.  There is almost a stage prop from every major tour making an appearance.  Coffin shaped lighting rigs are brought down during a few songs, used during the Death Magnetic tour, huge hydraulic arms with lights are used like from the Load tour. 
     The concert continues as Trip finally reaches the truck.  He opens the back and finds a bag.  He opens the bag and what he sees shocks him.  I would say he is speechless but Trip does not have any lines in this movie.  Aside from yelling "HEY" to the guy that almost killed him in the car crash, Trip does not speak.  He doesn't really need to.  The actor, Dane DeHaan, conveys every emotion with just his eyes and his actions.  Just as he grabs the bag he spots a man standing in the street, waving at him.  A moment later a crowd of rioters and the horseman arrive.  Trip makes a run for it.  They chase him through the streets and back alleys until he is trapped by a fence.  Here he dons his bandanna and hood as seen in the movie posters and fights back.  Let's just say there are flames involved.  Back at the arena, the band utilizes one of the great stage gags of their career, destroying part of the stage (as on the Load tour) during Enter Sandman, complete with "Guy Running While On Fire", while Trip has a final showdown with the horseman on a rooftop. 
     Trip finally makes his way back to the arena to find the concert finished.  The arena is all but empty, except for the band members onstage.  Trip takes a seat as the band starts playing one last song - Orion.  The song ends and Trip leaves the bag on stage.  The final scene is a slow camera zoom up to the bag.  The End.
     As a whole, this movie was great.  The story parts were cool but the concert was the best part.  They really took advantage of the IMAX screen and sound system, it was loud but a good loud.  It sounded like being at a concert.  The band really sounded strong.  Lars' drumming came through loud and clear.  James' voice was strong and clear.  MetallicA is known for putting on a killer live performance and this was just that, but kicked up a few notches.  The 3D was cool but not necessary to enjoy the movie.  I will admit, it was pretty awesome to see some of the close ups of the guys playing in 3D, especially the guitar parts.  I felt the song selection was good for what they were trying to show us.  There are a couple of songs that I really missed but I know the band wanted to make this movie more interesting and entertaining so the idea of a two and a half hour movie of just songs wasn't on their agenda.  I wonder if there will be a longer cut of the movie released when the DVD comes out.  Either way, I would be happy to own this one. 
     And by the way, the band made this movie on their own.  They paid for it all themselves.  I heard rumors of a budget of around 18$ Million.  MetallicA is not known for doing things half assed and this is no exception.  As a fan, I can really appreciate how they go about things, putting in hard work to put out a good product for us.  I hope this movie does good business for them.  If it doesn't, oh well, but I would like them to succeed. 
     Any thoughts as to what was in the bag?  I have a few.....

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Fantasy Football Week 3 Review

Fantasy Football Week 3 Review

Redraft League - Standard Scoring

Result - Win

Score 61-29

Record - 2-1

Power Ranking - 3rd

     Had a good week.  This team had a few tough match ups but it just worked out that the other team had even worse games.  I put up 0's from 3 different players.  It's hard to imagine winning watching that unfold.  A couple of my bigger names got hurt or didn't play well.  Spiller had 0, Finley put up 0 but he got knocked out of the game on his first target of the game.  Hilton also had 0 in a tough game against the 49ers.  The Colts ran the ball a lot so I didn't get much out of Luck either, but at least he ran in a TD. 

     I had great games from Charles and Brown.  Charles has been a great RB for me so far this year.  Brown, I drafted him with some high expectations and it is now starting to pay off.  14 from Charles and 21 from Brown. 

     Bye weeks start now.  I only have 1 guy on a bye and it's Finley.  He probably wouldn't play anyways but had to mine the waiver wire for a TE.  We'll see how that ends up.  Other than the injury to Finley, I think I still look good heading into the next few weeks.  Lacey did not play this week but should be fine after the bye.   I benched MJD this week as he was playing against the Seahawks and of course he has a good game and scores a TD.  He is hurt and was playing one of the best Defenses in the NFL so I stand by that benching.  Sounds like the Steelers will be able to play Bell soon.  That will give me more depth at RB and if he starts doing well I can add him to my normal starting rotation. 

     Plus, I have Josh Gordon that I can start now also.  I drafted Gordon knowing he would be good once he came back from suspension but I thought it might take a few games.  He put up 14 points this week.  I cannot expect that kind of production every week, especially from the Browns but if he can stay consistent that will help me out as the season progresses.

Keeper League - PPR Scoring

Result - Win

Score   118.69 - 110.23

Record 2-1

Power Ranking - 2nd

     Talk about a nail biting come from behind game!  I went into the Sunday night game down by about 28 points.  Other team was done for the week and sitting with a pretty comfortable lead.  My last player, Brown has been good but not great so I was expecting a loss.  Brown went off and scored my 36.26 points.  Enough to come from behind and win.  I needed those points after some bad games earlier in the day.  Rodgers played well, but only scored 17.  Lynch had a good game but it was almost like a preseason game for the Seahawks as they started pulling out their starters in the 3rd quarter.  Not much from Mendenhall, 4.6.  I started Marlon Brown in place of Vernon David this week and he only got 1.6.  Davis did not play.  I probably won't start Marlin again and might even look to drop him soon.  Also had a huge day from Murray 27.8 points.  (side note - DeShawn Jackson put up 7.7, I hope this trade keeps working out for me)

     So, I won but didn't have the best game and not nearly as good as I could have had.  You have to make moves to stay ahead of the curve but I made a few that I would have liked to have back.  I should have blown this other team out of the water.  Biggest regret was dropping the Carolina defense for the Bills.  My main reason for that was Panthers were playing the Giants and even though the Giants are not very good they have been throwing for a ton of yards and in this league, that can kill a defense in scoring.  I figured the Bills playing the Jets, I'd be good.  The Giants picked a heck of a time to suck the most.  Panthers D put up 32 points while I got 2.5 from the Bills. 

     I've always liked the Seahawks kicker and I was able to pick him up this week.  I did have the 49ers kicker so dropping him was good as he only kicked 1 extra point this week.  I'll probably hang on to Hauschka for a while, at least until his bye week.  I did pick up Danny Woodhead.  I like that he catches a lot of passes.  He put up 10 points last week.  Mendenhall is not a sure fire every week start and having Woodhead give me a little wiggle room to play matchups a bit.  I'll start him this week. 

     I'm starting Sam Bradford this week in place of Rodgers (bye week).  I know he doesn't have a great match up against the 49ers but he has been out scoring his projections every week.  Plus, the 49er defense is not what it used to be.  Might be a sneaky start.  I drafted Josh Gordon in this league also.  He put up 27.8 in this league.  He starts this week too. 

     Chris Ivory is hurt again.  His back up went out and ran for over 150 yards.  I'll hang on to him but I don't have too much confidence he will be a starter for me.  I'm still hanging on to Patterson also.  He is playing well and I think he will only get more and more playing time.  He is getting some good points since he also returns kicks, which we get points for return yardage.  As soon as he starts scoring on a more consistent basis I'll plug him in.  My hope is that I'll end up with more starting WRs that I can handle and I can make a few more trades. 

     I'm still the scoring leader in this league, not by much, but still.  My win this week was against a division opponent so that will factor in down the line.  Right now my team is ranked 2nd over all.  Feels good but at the same time, almost undeserved.  But, maybe every owner goes through this, even with a team winning, still having doubts about who to start, drops and adds and all of it.  I'm playing the lowest ranked team in our league this week.  If I can beat him I'll brag a little but you never know.  Sometimes it's the ones you least expect......

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Fantasy Football Week 2 Update

Fantasy Football Week 2 Updates

Redraft League - Standard Scoring

Result - Win

Record 1-1

Currently ranked 5th overall

     Won 65-59.  Not a blow out but enough for my first win of the year.   Only scored 3 TDs so I got most of my points from yardage.  Good enough for this week but do not want to win like this every week.  My RBs are starting to wake up a little bit.  Except for MJD - now he is dealing with an injury and he is facing the Seattle Seahawks this week, in Seattle.  Yeah, he's taking a seat on the bench this week. 

     Had some good games from my WRs and Kicker.  Kicking points don't seem like a game changer but they were for me this week with 12 pints.  Garcon started his game slow but once the Packers built a huge lead and started to relax on defense a little, he was able to grab a bunch of garbage time yards and even a TD.  He gets a start every week and he will only get better as Griffin starts to get his leg back in shape and he starts playing better. 

     My Draft of Josh Gordon will, I hope, start paying off now that he is all done with the 2 game suspension.  Now that Trent Richardson has been traded away, that will leave Gordon as one of the only big play makers on the team.  I'm hoping he will get the ball a lot.  Eddie Lacey left the game with a head injury, doesn't seem as bad as it looked.  I have yet to start him but his games are getting better and if MJD doesn't start playing better I will have to make a swap.  Going to start T.Y. Hilton this week.  Coaches in Indy are making plays for him and already having Luck as my starting QB, I'm hoping for quite a few double dip TD games.

      I have a tough match up this week.  Opponent has Brady, Cruz and Lynch as his heavy hitters.  My guys will have their work cut out for them this week.  I have some good match ups this week, only Luck against SF Defense is sketchy. 

Keeper League - PPR Scoring

Result - Win

Record 1-1

Currently ranked 4th overall

     I've been waiting for a game like this one.  Had the highest point total in the league by far.  Won 171.68 - 140.55.  Had some really great games for my big guys.  Rodgers put up 46.50.  Even my RBs, which by this league's standards are second tier at best, had some good games.  My main RB, Lynch had a great game in a tough match up, putting up 33 points. 

     My lowest point totals came from my 49er guys, Davis and my kicker, Dawson.  I was OK with that as they were playing the Hawks and I still got my win.  Had another great game from Jackson, he put up 29.80.  My WRs are pretty strong and I have a few good ones.  Still not all that happy with my RBs, I even dropped Mark Ingram.  I grabbed Woodhead off the waiver wire.  He won't be a starter on my team now but I'm hoping his role in the Chargers offense will grow as he puts up better numbers for them. 

     I received a trade offer this week.  I was offered Demarco Murray for DeShawn Jackson.  My first reaction was, NO!  Did you see that game this week? WRs are my strongest group and RBs are my weakest.  We went back and forth a few times but I decided to make this trade, we also swapped a few draft picks for next season.  I need another RB that can put up some points, ANY points.  While Murray isn't a big game changer and he does have injury risk, he does play on a team that can and does score points and he can catch, a big plus.  Giving up DeShawn wasn't an easy choice.  Knowing that I have several WRs on my team that can have good games and DeShawn comes with his own injury risks as well.  I watched some of the Eagles game this week and both Jackson and Vick took big shots that knocked them out for a few plays.  Eagles are playing very fast paced and I'm not too confident Jackson OR Vick will last.  I figured I better take a chance now and get a RB that can help me in the long run.  We will have to wait and see how this trade works out but Murray is in my starting line up this week. 

     Facing one of the top teams in the league this week.  I think if I have some good games I can pull this one off.  My guys have some really good match ups and I can see a few shoot out type games happening.  Lynch at home against Jacksonville should be money.  I decided to drop my defense and kicker this week and pick up a couple that have some better matchups.  Not sure if I will do this every week or not, but if it works out this week I will at least entertain the idea. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

NFL Fantasy Football Week1 Review

     Dedraft League: Week 1
     Loss 64-94

Stunk up the league this week.  Got very little production out of some big names.  Granted, there were a lot of really good games against tough defenses in week 1 so I'm not too concerned about future games.  Between Spiller and MJD I only got 4 points.  Ouch.  I can't feel too bad though.  I put up the best team I could.  The only exception was Eddie Lacey from Green Bay.  He actually had a good day.  But that would not have helped. I was out scored big time.  Adding in Lacey's 9 point game would not have made a dent.  Not much else to say about this team at the moment.  No one got hurt and everyone has better match ups this week.  Hoping for some bounce back performances from most of my running backs. 

     Keeper League: Week 1
     Loss 124.08 - 133.30

Fared a little better but still not enough to pull off the win.  Going into Monday night, I needed good games from both Garcon and DeShawn.  Got the good game from DeShawn.  I figured that if I could get 100 yards and a TD from each guy I could win.  I was getting mad at the Redskins as they fell behind and kept rushing the ball.  I got some horrible games from my running backs.  Lynch faced a tough game and only got me 6 points.  Ingram only got 1.  That hurt.  I think I'll start Mendenhall this week.  He didn't have a great game last week, but he's still the main guy in that backfield and I feel better with him over Ivory and Ingram.  I wasn't expecting much from my rookies and didn't get much.  Michaels got nothing and Patterson was only used on a few passing plays and he ran back a few kicks so he was able to get a few points.  I'm hoping Patterson gets more playing time soon.  I don't feel too excited to be starting Davis but he did have a good game against Green Bay and should do well as teams are now aware of how they will be using Boldin. 

My opponent had a great game from Cruz this week.  If he had even half his points I would have won. It's not every week he will score 3 touchdowns.   My teams don't score a ton of points so it's a matter of trying to have good match ups and have the other team hit a snag somewhere.  My philosophy has been start who I have and hope the other team just sucks this week.  Hooray!