Movies, Sports, and Life

Toronto After Dark Film Festival

The 2008 Toronto After Dark Film Festival is set to kick off October 17-24; 8 nights of "horror, sci-fi, action and cult cinema!" Until recently, I knew nothing about the Toronto After Dark Film Festival, which is a film festival showcasing a number of international inde horror/sci-fi movies and short films. After browsing their website, I stumbled on a number of movies that look really good. Here are a few, but be sure to check out their website to see the rest.


Mutant Chronicles


Fans of sci-fi horror action movies like ALIENS, PREDATOR and STARSHIP TROOPERS are in for a kick-ass, take no prisoners treat with MUTANT CHRONICLES. The film is set on a devastated future Earth, where aliens have built a terrifying machine that transforms humans into killer mutants. Mankind’s final hope rests with a hastily assembled platoon of soldiers led by cult icons Ron Perlman (HELLBOY), Thomas Jane (THE MIST, PUNISHER) and Devon Aoki (SIN CITY). They’re given a suicide mission to fight their way through the mutant hordes and shut down the machine, or die trying. An unmissable thrill ride for dark sci-fi fans.
- Adam Lopez

Lopez forgot to mention that John Malkovich has a lead in the film.

Zombie Movie:

I Sell the Dead

Surprisingly, this movie has a solid cast and from the trailer it looks really good.


I SELL THE DEAD is a deliciously dark new horror comedy starring Dominic Monaghan (LORD OF THE RINGS, LOST) and Ron Perlman (HELLBOY). Part period-piece supernatural tale, part buddy comedy, the film is a refreshingly original treat for cult film fans! In 18th Century England, a young graverobber, played by Monaghan, finds himself condemned to death for his crimes, with only a priest (Perlman) for company for his last night before the gallows. A hilarious tale is told of a life spent digging up and selling supernatural corpses including vampires and zombies, and the many shenanigans involved! A terrific supporting cast includes Larry Fessenden (LAST WINTER) and Angus Scrimm (PHANTASM).
- Adam Lopez


The Spirit

A new trailer for Frank Miller's (300, Sin City) upcoming release The Spirit has been released. Personally, I'm not feelin' this movie at all and I'm not alone. Others have voice that the movie looks almost identical to Sin City, instead with this Dick Tracy looking character. It is hard to disagree with the same feel as Sin City, through that distinct black/white comic book feel. I'll wait for this movie to come out on DVD. You be the judge.


Orioles: Continue Rebuilding

In 2007, the Orioles' front office never released a press statement noting the 2007/08 season was about wins or where the O's finished in the AL East standings. The 2007/08, the first season of Andy MacPhail's (O's General Manager) rule has been from the start about rebuilding the Orioles' team from the ground up. This season was an examination of every single aspect of what is contributing to 11 straight losing seasons.

Importance of the Draft

In line with the current trend in Major League Baseball (MLB), young and fresh talent are the recipe for success. For example, let's take the Tampa Bay Devil Rays: 10 years of terrible baseball to their first winning season, first playoff appearance, and winning the AL East with a $44 million payroll (Caple 2008) -- compared to NY Yankees 218.3 million (see NY SUN). How was this done? Simple: Development of young talent through scouting and the draft. In September, 12 of their first-round picks were on the expanded roster (Caple 2008). Evan Longoria, is a perfect example of great scouting/drafting; despite missing a month with a broken wrist, Longoria finished the regular season with: .272 BA, 27 HR, 87 RBI and is considered a possible Rookie of the Year (Caple 2008). Yet scouting/draft cannot over shadow vital trades for team players, such as pitcher Matt Garza (11 wins) and shortstop Jason Bartlett.

The importance of the MLB Draft cannot be understated. According to Buster Olney, author of "Yankees' fall from grace stems from years of draft neglect," highlights the Yankee's failures from their neglect of drafting youth and development of talent. From the 1997-2005 drafts, the Yankees only produced 10 position players whom appeared in a major league game; with 888 career at bats (compared to the Met's 11,469 and Blue Jays' 27,427); and the "20 pitchers selected by the Yankees have amassed 1,852 2/3 innings in the majors -- the fewest innings for any group of pitchers drafted by any team" (Olney 2008). What did the Yankees do instead? The opposite of the current Orioles' strategy: fix the ship now; instead of focusing on the long-term. As a result, the Yankees failed to make the playoffs and have become a middle-aged team by signing high priced veterans (i.e., Jason Giambi, Steve Karsay, Rondell White, Tom Gordon, Paul Quantrill, Johnny Damon, and Ivan Rodriquez).

Rebuilding the Orioles

Andy MacPhail knows baseball. As the general manager of the Twins, he won two World Series championships (1987, 1991). MacPhail's strategy for this season was to evaluate the rebuilding project by evaluating individual success and organization progression (Adam Jones and Matt Wieters established themselves as key players. Nick Markakis (25 years-old, .306 BA, 20 HR, 87 RBI) also had a solid year. There's no reason for Orioles management and fans to hit the panic button; it is impossible for this team to get any worst.

Long-term solutions are needed at shortstop, first base, and in my opinion pitching. I've said for years that pitching (or lack their of) is the root cause of the Orioles' ills. However, pressing issues do exist. Mora, Brian Roberts, Aubrey Huff, and Ramon Hernandez are all in their final year of their contracts: do not expect all of them to be back. Look for starting pitcher Daniel Cabrera 's so-called "promising career" with the Orioles to come to and end.

A personal and side note, I hate Cabrera. I do not hate him personally, but I hate his baseball game and his so-called "ability." I remember a friend arguing with me how good Cabrera is because how fast he can throw and his velocity. So what? I replied a lot of pitchers have that and something else called consistency, which for all of his career he has lacked. For example, in 2008, he went 8-10 with an ERA of 5.25; his career ERA is 5.05 with 48 wins to 59 loses. He has a career walk rate of 5.1 BB/9; his career high walks in a single game was 9!

According to Zerbiec, "It is expected that the Orioles' 40-man roster will be overhauled by next season, especially after so many players on it got significant opportunities and did little. Team officials have also become concerned with the number of players who have gotten shut down with injuries the past two seasons long before the season's final out." Zerbiec notes Cabrera and other pitchers (i.e., Radhames Liz and Garrett Olson) failed to established consistency and prove their value.

The solution to the O's problem: "Look at everything" and that's what MacPhail plans to do.


NFL- Week 4

Ravens vs Steelers Preview: Ravens will run, run, run the ball against the Steelers 2nd ranked defense. I doubt Flacco will be used much expect maybe dump off passes or screens. Hopefully, two things will occur on the offense: 1) NO turn overs; and 2) Heap becomes a major factor. If the defense can apply the same about of pressure/sacks on 'Big Ben' as the Eagles did, look for a Ravens win.

No way am I jumping on the Washington Redskin's bandwagon or pledging my allegiance to them; to defeat your enemy, you must know and understand them. That being stated--I think the Redskins are temporarily flying high-- for one reasons: consistency - an idea, term, and definition that has plagued the Redskins for the past 3-to-4 seasons. The consistency starts at the QB position. Jason Campbell is finally settling down, adjusting, and understanding Zorn's West coast offensive play book. From week 1 to week 4 there has been consistency and continual improvement in his play:

Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
Pct 55.6 66.7 73.3 64.5
Yards 133 321 193 231
TD(s) 1 1 2 2
INT(s) 0 0 0 0
QB Rating 81.2 104.1 112.2 108.4

The Redskins have always had an 'above-average' defensive group (as of today they are ranked 14th total defense). The Redskins still have a dodge secondary and allow on average 21.5 points per game (18th in the league). If they do make it into the playoffs (as I stated it is a strong possibility) I think it will be in due to: 1) consistency and their above-average defense; and 2) their apparent weak schedule. Yes, I am aware they are in the NFC East-- currently the division is 11-4 (combined)-- possibly the best division in the NFL; however, look at their remaining schedule: St. Louis (0-4), Cleveland (1-3), Seattle (1-2: they are so desperate on their need for a WR), Cincinnati (0-4), Detroit (0-3), and 49ers (2-2). That's six highly likely wins for the Redskins. I know argument stating the ease of their schedule may contradict my statement about the Skin's being in possibly the best division in football. However, it is highly unlikely the Redskins will lose all of their remaining four division games.

I pray the Skins do not make it into the playoffs so I won't have to suffer listening to annoying Redskins' fans boast about their so-called greatness. Note to Redskins' fans: Mark your calender for December 7th when the Redskins have to travel up I-90 to face the incomparable and superordinary Baltimore Ravens.

Other notes:

  • Booooo! Brett Farve threw 6 TDs. I hate him.
  • St. Louis fired Scott Linehan.
  • Jaguars (2-2) are still hanging on-- my Super Bowl prediction is still possible.
  • Who would have thought the Titans would be 4-0?
  • I knew Denver was going to lose against the Chefs; it was bounded to happen. Denver can not keep winning week-after-week on these offensive shoot-outs. Neither of these stats will help either: 30th (out of 32) ranked defense and four turn overs against the Chefs. Denver is definitely not the team that people and analyst though they were (now all the NFL analyst are jumping on this bandwagon!).

  • Interesting quote from Don Banks of SI:
    More than ever, I say the longer the Cardinals continue to play the prolific but mistake-prone Warner over Matt Leinart, the greater chance Arizona is going to wind up stunting the development of its 2006 first-round pick.
    Hmm, I don't agree at all with this statement. Matt Leinart in the 16 games he started has 13 TDs and 16 INTs and a passer rating of 71. However, he sucked in the pre-season; I mean horribly. Look at Green Bay's decision with Rogers... that turned out alright. Why not let the same happen with Leinart?

  • Fire Lane Kiffen for the love of God!
  • Where in the world is Vernon Davis? So far 5 receptions for 87 yards... could he be the biggest flop or could it be because he sadly plays for the 49ers (hopefully the latter).


NFL- Week 3

'Ravens safety Ed Reed picked up his 35th career interception against the Browns.'

Ravens: It is safe for me to say that the Ravens are back in business and like usual relying solely on their defense for a win. Brief stats from their 28-10 victory over the Browns:

3 defensive turnovers: 1 INT- McAlister, 1 INT- Reed, 1 INT- Rolle.

A force fumble by Ray Lewis on a dominating hit that absolutely destroyed that douchbag Kellen Winslow (see video below). Two sacks by DE Terrel Suggs- who is looking to be back in his dominate form.

Offensive though is the same story. I do not expect much from Flacco as this was his 2nd career start; however, he had two INTs. The second intercept wasn't really his fault-- McGahee was extremely slow to toss the ball back to Flacco in their trickery play-- but Flacco displayed why he was drafted: throwing a perfectly thrown ball for 40+ yards, which was sadly intercepted. The Ravens will rely heavily on the run game all year but they need to improve their passing game ASAP.

Book Review-- The Man in the High Castle

The Man in the High Castle, a cult classic by Phillip K. Dick, illustrating what the world might be like if the Axis Powers, (i.e., Nazis and Japanese) won WWII. The story takes place in the United States, 15 years after the Axis Powers won the war. While the story is 'science fiction' by the literary sense, Dick actually examines and critiques American society. His attempts to illustrate society under a Nazi regime--racism-- and class divides under the Japanese is actually a reflection of the problems within American society during that time period. None-the-less, the book is still very entertaining with a thorough and detail story about life and the world under the Nazi and Japanese powers. I highly recommend this book.

Park Chan-wook's Vampire Film

I recently saw Oldboy, Park Chan-wook's amazing drama/thriller with unbelievable twists and cinematography. I just stumbled upon this article from Firstshowing.Net stating that Park Chan-wook was in the works creating a vampire movie. Here is the article below:

Park Chan-wook, the Korean director known for the Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy, and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance trilogy, is hard at work on his next film, a vampire flick titled Thirst. Focus Features and Universal have announced today that they will finance and distribute the film, making this the first time that Chan-wook has actually ever received US funding. The story in Thirst surrounds a priest who participates in a medical experiment to find a cure for a deadly disease with traumatic repercussions - which we can only assume have something to do with vampires. The film is currently shooting and is expected to be ready by mid-2009, where it'll most likely hit film festivals before arriving in theaters.


The International

The International, starring Clive Owen seems to be Owen's responds to getting rejected from the role of James Bond. As an Interpol agent, Owen is on a mission to seek and destroy a corrupt international arms dealing ring at the helm of a major bank (a bank seems kind of odd?). Surprisingly, this is Clive Owen's first role since Shoot 'Em Up and Elizabeth: The Golden Age. The International is directed by Tom Tykwer, the famous German director known for: Run, Lola, Run and Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (excellent movie).

Honestly the trailer failed to blow me away with excitement; however, I still believe this movie is going to be decent given Owen and Tykwers' resumes. Enjoy the trailer below:


I keep trying to deceive and to convince myself that this movie wasn't as bad as it actually was; however, I can't because this movie is that bad. From the trailer, I thought the movie was going to be a pretty good thriller/drama with a strong cast: Hugh Jackman and Ewan McGregor. Do not let this fool you--the movie starts out semi-interesting-- as McGregor lives a life of dullness and zero excitement. Until by chance he randomly meets Jackman's character and through a series of highly predictable "twists," McGregor is introduced to a life of sexual pleasures unknown to him before and of course "deception." I do not recommend that any person under any circumstance views this movie. If you watch the trailer here, you can actually predict the highly foreseeable ending to the movie.


Football is back

I'm a little late but 2008/09 NFL football season is upon us. Some opening thoughts...

  1. Redskins: I may be the biggest Redskins hater on the face of this Earth. I do not like the organization and I do not respect Dan Synder at all; however, I believe (and still do) that the Skins are a playoff team. Campbell's performance against the Giants-- 15 of 27 for 133 yards, 1 td-- was no better than rookie Joe Flacco (see below), and a total of 84 team rushing yards was not impressive at all. I must admit that the Redskins defense played alright. They held the Superbowl Champions to one TD and 3 FG. There's still hope for this team and do not write them off yet. Campbell is in his 4th offensive system and it takes time for a whole team to learn a new system. I've already heard some Skin's fan abandoning ship, however, I think it is too early for that. I still believe they will make the playoffs as a wild card in probably the toughest division in football.
  2. Ravens: Everyone seemed to be impressed with Joe Flacco's performance -- 15 of 29 for 129 yards, one rushing TD-- I was too. He kept his composure for his first NFL start and apparently the professional game wasn't too fast for him. I think he adjusted well from NCAA IA football to the NFL. Hopefully, in due time he will get better with his arm .

    Defense is back to their old self: dominating opposing offenses and forcing turn overs. They know how to step up the heat when they need to. And it showed last Sunday when they dominated the offensive heavy- Palmer, Johnson- Bengals.

    There's hope at the end of the tunnel for Ravens fans.
  3. Jets: I hate Brett Farve and his stupid off season drama. I lost total respect for him as a player on the field and off the field; however, his performance was solid last Sunday against the Dolphins. Let's see how long his luck runs by throwing the ball up for grabs when the pressure is on him.
  4. Jaguars: Despite the lost I still think they are going to win the Superbowl (see my earlier posting or here). The season is still very very early and remember when the Chargers went 0-3? Yeah, they ended up one game away from the Superbowl.


© 2008 lil dunn