Thursday, September 29, 2011

Home Run-Money Ball

How can you not be romantic about baseball?" says Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane in “Moneyball.” It’s a question tinged with sarcasm. Beane (a slyly intelligent Brad Pitt) never watches his team play, catching snatches of the games on TV or radio.

Insulating himself from the emotional swings of headfirst dives into home plate and heartbreaking strikeouts, the real-life Beane learned to see baseball analytically. He challenged a sport trussed up in tradition, rejecting magical thinking about lucky streaks, jinxes, weird rituals and overpaid superstars. His data-driven approach took the game out of the realm of voodoo and into predictive data mining.

At Beane's side in the film is Peter Brand (a character based on A's assistant GM Paul DePodesta, who requested not to be named in the film), a naive Yale economics nerd with an eye for underpriced talent. Brand, played by Johan Hill, helps Beane draft young, inexpensive players and unwanted, affordable veterans with high on-base percentages. With their band of "misfit toys," they transform the small-market A's into a juggernaut.

The film marbles together the Athletics's record-breaking 2002 season with flashbacks to Beane's failure-haunted past, including a failed marriage. Director Bennett Miller ("Capote") and screenwriters Steve Zaillian ("Schindler's List") and Aaron Sorkin ("The Social Network," TV's "The West Wing") nimbly sidestep every cliche along the way, viewing the game of baseball through the prism of stats and business.

Just as Beane becomes a game-changing force, the film itself creates a new formula for sports movies. A scene with Pitt and Hill in sublime comic harmony as they coordinate rapid-fire player trades while juggling phones is as exhilarating as a triple play.

"Moneyball" was adapted from Michael Lewis's nonfiction best seller by some of the same folk (Sorkin, most notably) who gave us last year's "The Social Network." It has a similar focus on a misunderstood, blunt-spoken visionary and a similar air of cool, perceptive brainpower. It's not really a sports movie at all, but a tale of outsiders who defy conventional thinking.

The baseball establishment, perhaps best personified by a prickly Philip Seymour Hoffman as headstrong Athletics manager Art Howe, battles Beane and Brand every step of the way. And there are plenty of colorful old school guys hanging around the A's clubhouse, a merry crew that provides many of the film's laugh-out-loud moments.

One veteran scout nixes a prospective player because "he has an ugly girlfriend" -- and therefore no self-confidence -- a wonderfully flawed and subjective pronouncement. These old shamans are shaken up by Beane's new computerized-evidence-beats-intuition vision of the game, but not nearly as shocked as the deep-pocketed New York Yankees, overrun by the team with the smallest player payroll in the league.

Pitt's Beane is as original a character as I've seen in a baseball drama. He's a driven, disappointed athlete, his youthful dreams of World Series glory crushed but still smoldering. He passed up a full scholarship at Stanford in favor of a big-money outfielder's position for the New York Mets. He never became the top player the recruiters anticipated.

He never even learned to give those stirring locker-room speeches that sports movies are all about. Beane's big pep talk is five seconds of silence. How can you not fall in love with a movie like that?

Sunday, September 25, 2011


‘Abduction’ follows teenager Nathan Price (played by Taylor Lautner), who’s dealing with feelings of rage and anger, and thoughts that he’s living someone else’s life. While working on a school project with neighbor Karen Lowell (portrayed by Lily Collins), the two discover a missing children website with a picture of Nathan when he was three years old. He discovers that his parents, Kevin and Mara Harper (played by Jason Isaacs and Mario Bello, respectively), aren’t his birth parents, and they’re hiding a mysterious and dangerous secret.

While trying to figure out his true identity, CIA agents and assassins begin targeting Nathan, and he is forced to go on the run. He brings Karen with him, as her parents are away on vacation, and he begins to feel that he can best protect her. Nathan and Karen race to elude the agents and assassins, while aiming to solve the mystery behind his elusive biological parents.

Singleton, who achieved box office success with his last two action films, ’2 Fast 2 Furious’ and ‘Four Brothers,’ unfortunately failed to include the elements in ‘Abduction’ that made his previous movies thrilling and captivating. While the action thriller had an interesting concept, making a teenager the main protagonist who’s determined to discover the truth about his true family and background while protecting those he loves, the back-story isn’t extremely detailed. It’s hard to relate to Nathan, as there’s no in-depth information about his background, including why he felt he couldn’t fit in with anyone, or exactly why the assassins are after him.There are holes and questions that don't ever get answered.

Given that ‘Abduction’ is Lautner’s first major role leading outside of the ‘Twilight’ series, and the predictability of the thriller’s plot-line, the actor still did well with the material he was given.

While Singleton has received acclaim for depicting inner city violence in such films as ‘Boyz n the Hood’ and ‘Baby Boy,’ and achieved blockbuster status with ’2 Fast 2 Furious’ and ‘Four Brothers,’ the director ultimately failed to create a memorable plot or action sequences with ‘Abduction.’ He forgoed a detailed back-story to instead focus on cliched stunts. With Singleton’s reputation and the reported $40 million budget for ‘Abduction,’ the filmmaker should have interlaced a more developed, thought-provoking plot with better action sequences. Luckily, Lautner’s commitment to his role of Nathan helped redeem the film and make it more intriguing.

I enjoyed the cast, other than Lilly Collins. She played the weak damsel in distress and was a bit irritating. At least I think she was. I fell that the problem was in the writing, the plot development, the dialogue. At points I felt like a member of the team working on Twilight, was snuck in to work on this script. We got some gems such as when Nathan is being "blackmailed."

"You will then be responsible for the death of all your friends... ON FACEBOOK!!"

"I just saw my parents murdered in front of my own eyes"

How could anyone write or utter "I'm not dying here: there's a bomb in the oven" with a straight face.

I had a hard time liking this movie. Its somewhat entertaining but a little ridiculous. I'd wait for Redbox.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Les Miserables

Dec 7th 2o12 baby!! The movie musical Les Miserables is coming to theaters!! I love this show and I think it has amazing music. I was so excited to hear about the cast, with one exception. I think this has amazing potential, and I hope it turns out to be spectacular.

Hugh Jackman-Jean Valjean
Emma Watson-Cosette
Anne Hathaway-Fantine (i'm not happy about her being in the movie =-(
Russel Crowe-Javert
Helena Bonham Carter-Madame Thenardier

Monsieur Thenardier

This is Lucy Hale and she is supposedly playing Eponine but it hasn't officially been announced yet. I was hoping for Emmy Rossum.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

MB Christmas Album

Christmas Album Tracklisting Revealed

Get an exclusive first look at the tracklisting for Michael’s new album Christmas below.

1. It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

2. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

3. Jingle Bells [feat the Puppini Sisters]

4. White Christmas [with Shania Twain]

5. All I Want For Christmas Is You

6. Have A Holly Jolly Christmas

7. Santa Buddy (Santa Baby)

8. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

9. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

10. Silent Night

11. Blue Christmas

12. Cold December Night

13. I’ll Be Home For Christmas

14. Ave Maria

15. Mis Deseos/Feliz Navidad" [with Thalia]

Special Edition Bonus Tracks

Winter Wonderland

Frosty the Snowman

Silver Bells

Coming out I believe Oct 24th. I'm just a little bit excited!!!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

This week

All of (okay most of ) my shows are starting back up this week. Season Premieres!

Watch The Office Season 7 Episode 1 Online - Season 7 Premiere

Blue Bloods tv show photo

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Concert at the Falls and the Holy War

y friend invited me to a Concert at the Falls at Thanksgiving Point. I've never been
to the falls before but they were beautiful.

Here are two brothers from Nashville-Truman. They were actually really good.
This is David Osmond. He was our favorite performer of the evening. I had no idea he was diagnosed with MS. He has a pretty good story. He was in wheel chair but he's been walking ever since he's been married.

Megan Joy also performed but I forgot to snap a picture. She was on American Idol a few years back. I like her voice, its very distinct. Next up was Kalai. He has a very interesting sound which I appreciated but he was a strange person. I didn't care for his stage presence.

So for the Holy War, my mom showed me how to make these cool beaded Geckos. I was pretty proud of them.

BYU and U of U. . get it? The game was embarrassing. It was junk-What a joke.
But, my lizards are sure cute huh? We had the instructions for the BYU one but I had to experiment with the U. I think this one turned out great.

Here is my second attempt at the U. I think I like the first one better.

I made this bumble bee out of my two favorite colors-blue and green.

Here is my mom's bumble bee so you can see what its supposed to be like.

Friday, September 16, 2011


Did you know that the average person touches his or her face as many as 3,000 times a day? After seeing “Contagion,” you will. All the same, the movie felt a little too real for some. Burns hopes that for all of the medical data in “Contagion,” audiences will also take away a greater sense of interdependence. “It is our connection to each other that allows the virus to spread,” the screenwriter said. “But it’s also our connection to each other that tells us to care for one another.”

The big picture is terrifically well built, involving a CDC deputy director (Laurence Fishburne) responsible for coordinating response as well as the dissemination of information to a panic-prone public; the CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service officer (Kate Winslet) he sends into one of the first hot spots to work next to first responders; a medical researcher (Jennifer Ehle) racing to produce a vaccine; a WHO representative (Marion Cotillard) tracking global dissemination; and an independent activist blogger by the extravagant name of Alan Krumwiede (Jude Law), whose aggressive independent investigation and reporting on his guerrilla-truth website have their own viral effects. The movie's attitude toward the bloke is telegraphed by Law's prosthetic snaggletooth and duck-like walk. A stickler for details, Lipkin warned Kate Winslet, who plays the CDC’s Dr. Erin Mears, that she couldn’t fidget with her face mask — “You’re breaking your seal,” he told her — and instructed Gwyneth Paltrow, who plays Emhoff’s wife, Beth, what a seizure looks like, even if he thinks she might have foamed at the mouth just a bit too much in the finished film.

Contagion opens not with a bang but a shiver, as scenes of very ordinary, everyday life — little kids in a classroom, singles at a bar, waiters and busboys doing the handling and wiping for which they were hired — mask the catastrophe at hand. The movie ends not with a bang but more of a whew!, a few wan attempts at sentimental satisfaction, and an infectious thump of dread. I couldn't look away, and neither did I touch my face with my hands.

Last night I could tell I was catching something. My throat felt swollen and sore and it hurt to swallow. Then Jordan and I went to see this movie. After watching all the victims catch MEV-1 I felt that tickle in my throat. I was coughing and clearing my throat the entire time. I was thinking, oh no. What if I have some freaky virus and I’m going to die, i'm sure I'm running a fever. This movie was disturbing but a lot of fun and it is safe to say I am sufficiently paranoid now. I don’t want to shake hands, use a drinking fountain, turn a door knob. I think I need to disinfect my keyboard also.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Conspirator

The subject of this serious and seriously old-fashioned Robert Redford-directed film is an often overlooked aspect of an event every schoolchild knows about, the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln less than a week after Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant to end the Civil War.

But there was more going on during the night of April 14, 1865, than John Wilkes Booth's attack at Ford's Theater. An attempt was made on the life of Secretary of State William H. Seward and one was planned for Vice President Andrew Johnson as well. Eight people were arrested with conspiring in this broad plot, and the trial of the only woman in the group, Mary Surratt, an event with unexpected relevance to today, is at the heart of what's on-screen.

Given that this film is the first from a new entity, the American Film Co., specifically founded to produce "historically accurate" features, it is no surprise that exceptional care has been taken by production designer Kalina Ivanov, costume designer Louise Frogley and their crews to get both the general look of the period and the specific details of the actual events as close to real as possible. Even though the film ended up being expertly shot in Savannah, Ga., by cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel, you would swear you were in the Washington, D.C., of the period.

Just as planned, and just as successful, was the casting of the powerful Wright as Surratt, the mother of one of the conspirators and the operator of the Washington, D.C., boarding house where many of their meetings took place. She denied knowledge of the assassination, but the sense that she was the woman who "built the nest that hatched this plot" was not in her favor.

In fact, even her own inexperienced attorney, Frederick Aiken (a capable James McAvoy), is disposed to disbelieve her. Recently discharged as a captain in the Union Army, Aiken doesn't even want to take the case on but is persuaded to do so by his boss, Reverdy Johnson (Tom Wilkinson with a Southern accent), who felt that someone with impeccable patriotic credentials was needed for the job.

Worried that handling Surratt's defense would be a betrayal of everything he fought for, Aiken is partly persuaded to overcome his doubts by the fortitude and dignity of an imprisoned woman who frankly tells him, "I am a Southerner, a Catholic, a devoted mother, but no assassin." In a similar fashion, the resolution and strength of Wright's unimpeachable performance makes the whole story seem flesh-and-blood real in a way that it would not otherwise be.

What motivates Aiken as much as Surratt's character, however, is that the patent unfairness of her trial before a military tribunal rather than a civilian court offends his sense of justice. With Surratt prohibited from testifying in her own defense and the government, in essence, making up the rules as it goes along, Aiken pleads with the opposition to see that "abandoning the Constitution is not the answer.... In our grief let us not betray our better judgment and take part in an Inquisition."

If these lines from James Solomon's script sound like an up-to-the-minute response to issues resonating in our contemporary judicial system in the wake of Sept. 11, it's instructive to note that he began working on the screenplay in 1993, well before the World Trade Center attack.

"The Conspirator" is first, last and always a political drama, and, Wright's performance aside, it is the play of events of history that most holds our interest. A celebrated line from Cicero, quoted in the film, sums things up: "In times of war, the law falls silent." It was true in Roman times, in Mary Surratt's, and, regrettably, it remains so in ours as well.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

“Time is passing. Yet, for the United States of America, there will be no forgetting September the 11th. We will remember every rescuer who died in honor. We will remember every family that lives in grief. We will remember the fire and ash, the last phone calls, the funerals of the children. “
- President George W. Bush, November 11, 2001

“Now, we have inscribed a new memory alongside those others. It’s a memory of tragedy and shock, of loss and mourning. But not only of loss and mourning. It’s also a memory of bravery and self-sacrifice, and the love that lays down its life for a friend–even a friend whose name it never knew. “
- President George W. Bush, December 11, 2001

I remember that day well, but I feel like I've mentioned it already. I remember watching the first plane hit the north tower on the news before I went to school. We didn't really learn much that day. We had the tv on in most of my classes as we watched the terror unfold.. The second plane hit, the plane landed in Pennsylvania at the Pentagon. My history teacher led a discussion about terrorism, and why these terrible things were happening. I remember watching cops and firefighters on the news and people standing in the streets looking at the scene in horror. September 11th was also the first day of nanny job and the little man I watched turned 1 year old that same day.

Most of all I remember commenting to my mom, This has turned into a big deal. My 8th grade brain didn't really grasp the enormity of the situation or what this attack really meant.
Although I didn't have any loved ones on the planes or living back East, I am still an American. We were all affected. That day was living history and its neat to be able to look back and remember that I was part of it. My mom remembers where she was when JFK was shot. I remember the day the Towers came down. Now that I have my munchkins growing up (ranging from almost 11-6 months) I just hope that nothing this horrible happens again in the near future.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Rascal Flatts

My friend and I got to see Rascal Flatts on Friday. I feel like I should apologize to her. The concert was great fun but it was definitely an adventure. Nothing ever goes smoothly or according to plan when I am involved. Its inexplicable

These obviously are not my pictures. I "borrowed them from a friend who was also at the concert. I don't have a camera that zooms, all I had was my phone.
But enjoy. .

According to Jay this is what Justin Beiber
will look like in 30 years ha ha

Opening-Why Wait

God Bless the Broken Road-takes a funny turn towards the end.

Easy-Pretty good but Sara Evans is no Natasha Bedingfield.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Atlas Shrugged

"If you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling but still trying to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength, and the greater his effort the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulders - What would you tell him?"

I…don't know. What…could he do? What would you tell him?"

To shrug."

That's what I feel I have done this past week. A huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders, and I am beyond relieved. I avoided a big crisis at work. Details are not important. It involves 2 guys named Donovan and money coming out of the wrong account. Anyway, I could have been in major trouble, but I am sitting pretty and breathing easy now that everything is resolved.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Dirty Dancing

Okay, so I have already talked about this but some studio is remaking Dirty Dancing. I have some mixed feelings on the film already, and it hasn't even started filming. They haven't even decided on a cast. If this is going to be done, it better be amazing.
There are lots of names being thrown around as a rumored cast. Here is one list.

I care most about the two main characters-Johnny and Baby.
My top pick for Johnny is Chris Hemsworth. He is tall and has a strong build. Check out his dance moves. Thor-God of the Thunderous Hips.

For Baby I see 3 good choices.

Emma Stone
Diana Agron
Lea Michele