Wednesday, March 24, 2010
The story is here, for those with their head stuck in the ground:
Here's the deal on the Ann Coulter situation: government officials complaining of hate speech and threatening arrest is wrong, and fascist. I said as much the day before her UWO speech. That war-mongering bitch is free to say whatever she likes.
Just like 2000+ people are free (via Freedom of Assembly) to protest at her event in Ottawa.
They were not violent (at least no news reports say they were) and were simply there to SPEAK (or yell) their mind, in this case, for Coulter to get the hell out. And she did. And good riddance.
I'm not at all ashamed of Canada, 2000+ people spoke the minds of what hundreds of thousands (or millions) across the country thought. That is Freedom of Expression at its core.
What's the difference between an Ann Coulter speech and a Klu-Klux Klan rally?
That's the only thing that separates her from every racist, homophobic, xenophobic war-mongering Christian idiot in the Klan. If the Klan were holding a rally at the University of Ottawa, would you complain about 2000+ people protesting it and "scaring them off?"
If Mahmoud Ahmadinejad decided to take his World Tour of Hate to the University of Ottawa, and discuss how the Holocaust was a lie and that we need to commit genocide in Isreal, would you complain about 2000+ people protesting it and "scaring him off?"
I rest my case.
Any conservative or right-winger proud to have her represent them is off their fucking nut. Her goal is to lay waste to the middle east and, literally, convert EVERYONE to Christianity. She once called the Jewish race "imperfect" and wished to convert them to Christianity to become "perfect." She's the ideal example of everything that is wrong with humanity as a whole.
You know who else wanted to start a holy war, cleansing the earth of the "imperfect" and converting everyone to his world view? Hitler.
Fuck Ann Coulter.
Monday, March 8, 2010
I'll summarize the Edwards spin on Keselowski very simply here:
NASCAR: Drivers, police yourselves, race rough, the reigns are off!
Carl Edwards: Okay, here!
NASCAR: What are you doing!?!?!?!
Plain and simple, had the 12 car not gotten airborne and into the wall by its roof, we wouldn't be having this discussion. It would've been the simple spin-out that Edwards wanted, the fans would've gotten a kick out of it, and that would be it. The ONLY reason there's any bitching is because he got upside down. Which is the CoT's fault, not Edwards'.
Sadly, NASCAR will now break their own policy and fine or suspend Edwards. FAIL.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Shutter Island is a great example of what a legendary director like Martin Scorsese can do with a period thriller--even when given a bit of a lame script.
Tara and I went to see it last night and THOROUGHLY enjoyed it. DiCaprio is great as always, Ben Kingsley is ideal in his role, and they even threw Max Von Sidow in there to play the creepy German mad scientist.
Get it out of your system right now--Shutter Island is not a mystery movie or even particularly suspenseful. Going into it expecting some sort of epic The Usual Suspects twist will leave you disappointed. What it IS is a fantastic mood piece, with amazing visuals that suck you in and leave you with an almost constant feeling of creeping dread and dispair. The excellent score helps this as well. The movie is about the journey Teddy takes through the asylum and, by proxy, through his own head. As another reviewer mentioned, the movie uses the ending as a catharsis--a sort of affirmation of what happened for the last two hours.
I'll spill the beans right here because it's frightfully obvious in the movie--Teddy is actually a patient at the asylum, not a federal marshal visiting to help find an escaped patient. It took me as long as the scene where he interviews the other patients about the whereabouts of Rachael to figure that out. I certainly didn't notice ALL the little hints, which will make viewing this a second time all the better, but I noticed enough to put it together quite early. Tara noticed it more in the dialogue (the interns talking about receiving overtime pay for "acting" in the deception), while I noticed the visuals (his name being an anagram of Andrew Laidis, his almost constant use of matches and fire.)
And that's okay--as I said, the movie's ending is pretty obvious early on... But it's the journey we take to get there, and all the LITTLE twists and turns that happen that make it worthwhile. So FAR in this short movie season, it's the best movie of 2010... Obviously a long way to go though. ;)
Unfortunately, Tara and I went on Cheap Tuesday at Masonville Silver City, and sat amongst a gaggle of 16-18 year olds, constantly playing with their cell phones, texting, yapping away and trying desperately to understand and explain the movie to each other. It took all my restraint not to turn around when the credits rolled, DEMAND their attention and spend 2 minutes explaining the plot of the movie. How fucking dumb are kids these days?
And why am I a 29 year old asking that question? :(
Sunday, February 14, 2010
So happy to see McMurray take the Daytona 500. There couldn't be a harder working, more deserving driver in the Cup garage... The guy's taken nothing but crap ever since he won in Sterling Marlin's car at Charlotte all those years ago. Firings, piss-poor cars, crappy pit crews, and Roush letting him go despite winning a race, because of NASCAR's new 4-car rule. To see him jump back to the Ganassi stable, this time as Earnhardt/Ganassi racing, and to fire on all cylinders right out of the gate is really special.
The race itself was a refreshing change from the last, oh, FIVE Daytona 500s... Yes, there was a combined ~2 hour delay to fix the asphalt on the track. But honestly, this has happened at many tracks in the past, in many series (including F1 and CART), and it's just an unfortunate accident that has to be dealt with. No one's fault, and nothing to get panties in a bunch over.
No rainout bullshit, no Big One, and plenty of passing, with a record number of leaders, and number of lead changes damn close to the record. I call that a good race. For the longest time it looked pretty certain that Biffle or Harvick would take the win, but on that final restart, Biffle gave McMurray the push he needed to make the breakaway.
And how about Earnhardt Jr.? Shades of his old man there, from 11th to 2nd in one lap--had he had one more lap, he probably would've taken McMurray on the outside and won the thing. He's gotta be happy starting the season off on the right foot.
Then again--what happens in Daytona often stays in Daytona, and is rarely a sign of things to come. I think McMurray and Jr. are hoping it is, though.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
So let's summarize:
Danica gets in a stockcar for the first time ever, shows up at Daytona, and qualifies as the fastest of six women in the field.
She spends most of her day running in the top 6, drafting just fine, not making any real mistakes. Doesn't get caught in the Big One.
Formula One Has-been and cheater, Nelson Piquet Jr, rams her into the grass in the tri-oval. She does one complete spin on the grass, locks 'em up and cranks it inside, keeps the car off the wall. The heavy, hard-to-steer stockcar that many people thought she was too weak to handle.
She pits to replace flat-spotted tires, restarts somewhere around 28th-30th place.
Her crewchief tells her there's only about 20 laps to go, time to give 'er. She puts the hammer down and drafts the hell out of everyone to make it back up to into the top 10.
On the final lap she beats and bangs with Ricky Carmichael, beating him to the line by a couple of inches to claim 6th position.
The woman can drive a stockcar.
But I'm sure the haters will still find some way to link her posing in a bikini to "why she didn't win the race."
In other news, Billy Venturini won his record 6th ARCA Daytona 200--the guy might have a real life strategy going on here: build cars only for super speedways, develop only super speedway engines and aero, show up, dominate everyone, take the cheque home and spend the rest of the year with your family.
Also, Kevin Harvick won a somewhat uneventful Bud Shootout. There was at least some good tussling for the lead between himself, Carl Edwards, Jamie McMurray and Tony Stewart, but as we all know the Bud Shootout doesn't really mean a damn thing about what'll happen in the 500, or for the rest of the year.
Monday, January 11, 2010
(In no particular order)
Alonso vs Hamilton vs Button vs Schumacher
Yes, on paper, this upcoming Formula One season looks to be one of the best showdowns in the series' history. Four world champions, including three of the last four, will all be driving in top equipment for the three biggest names in the business (Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes)...
We have the potential for Michael Schumacher to make a successful comeback, since he's jumping into last season's championship car, and has Ross Brawn at his side...
We have Fernando Alonso at Ferrari, and above all else he's known to be the best driver in the series in terms of car DEVELOPMENT--so you know the Ferrari will be more competitive than last year...
And we have the last two world champions, Button and Hamilton, at McLaren, making up a British "super team"...
We also have Vettel and Webber lurking in the shadows. So we potentially have six drivers (Rosberg = seven?) who can win races, possibly more, and four manufacturers doing battle at the top of the grid.
Or not: Looking at this objectively, though, and comparing it to past Formula One seasons, it's quite possible none of that will happen.
Button is quick, and a very good underdog champion who rightly deserved his championship (see my previous post), but is he quick enough to beat Hamilton in equal equipment? I doubt it, but it'll be fun to watch either way.
Webber and Vettel, in my opinion, will not have the car to compete for the championship consistently. I just don't see it happening.
Schumacher will no doubt run as quick as the car is capable of, and maybe even win some races, but it's just as possible that the new Mercedes (formerly Brawn) car will be as good as it was at the END of last season--which it was not.
And Alonso is sure to find some speed in the Ferrari--but considering how awful it was last season, will it be enough?
I think it's just as possible Hamilton runs away with his second title. I'd like to see otherwise, but that may be wishful thinking.
Brad Keselowski at Penske
This kid has something to prove, and has a style and tenacity that, dare I say it, reminds you of a young Dale Earnhardt. He'll have equipment on par with Kurt Busch, who made the Chase and won two races last year--I predict Keselowski makes it into the Chase, at minimum.
Or Not: It's also possible he'll be wreck-prone and end up like Kyle Busch, winning a few but overall finishing poorly.
Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series
The Grand-Am Rolex Series is already proving to be the best road racing North America has seen in a long time, with strong fields in both classes and, in particular with the Prototypes, nail-biting championship battles. My vote for story of the year? Stevenson Motorsports has switched to the new Camaro, now that Pontiac is dead. While a new car is always a challenge, it's being built by Pratt & Miller, the same folks who build the all-conquering Corvettes for LeMans. Seeing these guys tussle with Porsche and the awesome Mazda RX-8s will be worth the viewing alone.
Or Not: While GT sounds better than ever, Prototype teams are beginning to scale back due to the economy. Penske is closing up his 2-car team, which did not win a race in 2009 but were looking close. On top of that, Brumos Porsche will be reduced to a single car team, in part because of JC France's crack posession charges.
The Nationwide Series
For the first time since the 90s, I'm actually excited about a new Nationwide Series season. Why? As of right now, the only Cup driver set to run a full schedule is Carl Edwards. That means that there's a somewhat reasonable chance a Nationwide driver might actually compete for the Nationwide Championship!! Couple that with a better and more diverse schedule than the boring-ass Cup series (Montreal, Road America, Watkins Glen, Iowa, ORP, Gateway? HELL YES), and new Nationwide-series cars that actually SOMEWHAT resemble Mustangs and Challengers... This could be very interesting.
Or Not: Kyle Busch will still be racing twenty-someodd events, and there'll still be plenty of Cup invaders throughout the season stealing wins and points from underfunded, hard-luck Nationwide teams. Plus, the Challenger and Mustang bodies look great but might end up sucking.
Camping World Truck Series
While Cup continues to suck and suck, the Truck Series continued its successful ratings climb on The SPEED Channel. This season should be good, though there may still be sponsorship question marks for some teams. The good news is, Ron Hornaday will continue to try and re-write the record books with his 5th championship, but he'll do so with a new crew chief, as Rick Ren has defected to head up Kyle Busch's new Truck Series team. This may give the competition some time to catch up, and Busch's team is sure to be stout, with Taylor Malsam and Bryan Ickler. Hopefully, we can also see former champ Johnny Benson back in a truck thanks to Kyle Busch, if they can find sponsorship. Add to that Matt Crafton, Todd Bodine and Mike Skinner coming back to take another crack at the championship, and a red-hot Aric Almorola taking over Kyle Busch's dominant #51 truck, and we have the makings of another kickass truck season.
Or Not: Not much of an "or not", since the Trucks always kick ass... But Kyle Busch is still gonna show up for a ton of races, and win a ton of races, this time in his own truck, shared with Ickler.
Mark beating Jimmie
Wishful thinking perhaps, but had Mark not got caught up in that wreck at Talladega and that bizarre screw-up at Charlotte, he would be the 2009 Champ, quite possibly. I expect him to fire on all cylinders right out of the gate this season, and provided we don't see two straight blown motors, we can expect to see him fight for the title again, maybe for once beating the so-called "Superman."
Or Not: Then again, the Chase sucks, and Jimmie Johnson's team has figured out the Chase. A fifth straight title is almost as likely.
Danica in Stockcars
Only time will tell... She was quick in drafting practice but, let's face it, drafting around Daytona with a bullshit restrictor plate is not the same thing as racing at any other track. She has the skill (and couldn't show it because she wasn't with one of The Big Two teams in the IRL), but she will have NO excuses as she steps into Brad Keselowski's old car, which was a championship contender in the NWS and won several races. I think she's capable of winning, but not necessarily right out of the box. The question is whether people will give her enough time to prove it.
Or Not: Or all the Danica-haters are right and she's just a PR machine and will fail miserably.
Danica Wins the Indy 500
Right, right, I know. But sadly, the only reason she doesn't have a better shot at it is that she doesn't drive for Penske or Chip Ganassi. Sure, she re-upped with Andretti for a few more years and sure, they have great resources, but clearly they're doing something wrong, and so is the rest of the field... And the IRL won't do anything about it. People complain about Hendrick "dominating" NASCAR, but have they looked at the IRL lately? Anyway, she finished 3rd in a shit car last year, so who knows...
Or Not: She'll continue to go winless for another 3 years, or opt out of her contract after 2 years, and go Nationwide Racing fulltime. And if I had continued to be fed mediocre equipment and kept losing to the same two teams over and over and over and over and over, I'd probably do the same. At least I'll be seen on more than five televisions.
NASCAR Canadian Tire Series in Toronto
One of the very first CASCAR races I watched on TSN (as opposed to live) was at the Toronto Molson Indy. 20-someodd stockcars taking to a narrow, twisty street course with "no passing zones." They proceeded to put on probably the best street course race I've ever seen, with the top 5 swapping positions a dozen times over the course of the short race. Now they're finally returning to the venue, and I expect it to be no different. Go Micksey!Or Not: Just a minor grump, but I was hoping Delaware would get two races. Oh well.
Bruno Senna in Formula One
A Senna is in Formula One, for the first time since 1994. Ayrton Senna once said that "if you thought he was fast, you should see his nephew." We'll get the chance, as he's signed for one of the new teams, Campos, for this season.
Or Not: In GP2 he had a grand total of three wins, struggled with consistency, and never won the championship, though he did finish second to Pantano. He'll be fast I'm sure, but will he be fast enough for one of the big teams to notice him?
Friday, January 8, 2010
I don't really write reviews, more quick opinions, but 2009 was really an amazing year for movies--more good than bad (if we count my "haven't seen" list as "Great"). Watching Avatar and Sherlock Holmes made me decide on yet another list, if nothing else to remind me of all the great stuff we got last year.
Twilight New Moon: didn't see it, don't want to see it, saw 5 minutes of the first movie and that's all it took--chick-flick crap masquerading as a Vampire movie.
Transformers Revenge of the Fallen: not AS bad as people said, but still a muddled train-wreck of a movie with more plotholes than a Dan Brown novel. "Michael Bay's EXPLOSIONS" indeed.
Paul Blart Mall Cop: nothing with Kevin James in the lead roll can be good.
Bride Wars: chick-flick trash.
Madea Goes to Jail: how does Tyler Perry have a job?
Monsters vs. Aliens: other than Stephen Colbert as President, this was proof that Pixar-like movies are already getting tired, predictable and boring.
Observe and Report: Seth Rogan usually makes me laugh. I didn't laugh a single time through this movie.
Fighting: another awful MMA movie that degrades the sport.
Angels & Demons: here's a shocker--poorly written shit novels translate into poorly-scripted shit movies!
Public Enemies: Christian Bale and Johnny Depp--how the hell could these two be in a movie that's so god-awful boring?
The Ugly Truth: even King Leonidas can't save a chick-flick from being a chick-flick.
Paranormal Activity: didn't even come CLOSE to scary, at any point in the movie, whatsoever. Who the hell thought this was scary?
X-Men Origins Wolverine: let's throw every single superhero in history into one badly-written, canon-destroying mess.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: Tara dragged me to this like she has the last eighty four Harry Potter movies. I liked the one where he fought the dragon, but it's all downhill from there--this is nothing but 2 hours of crappy teen drama with annoying british children talking about "snogging," which is probably the most aggravating word in THEIR English language.
Pandorum: on the one hand, rather boring, and Dennis Quaid really phones it in. On the other hand, I liked the mood and I liked the set pieces, and I thought the ending was great.
GI Goe: not nearly as terrible as Transformers, the action sequences were much easier to follow and there were a lot of good inside jokes for Joe fans. And I love Arnold Vosloo in anything. But it also had pretty bad dialogue and stupid, stupid plotholes. And a Wayans brother.
Great to Awesome
District 9: My favourite movie of the year. On a fraction of Michael Bay's Transformers budget, Neill Blomkamp created more exciting action scenes, better cinematography, better atmosphere, and a more compelling, intelligent, and above all ORIGINAL story, which is very rare in Hollywood these days. Unbelievable movie.
Sherlock Holmes: I'd have to make this my close second for favourite of the year. Despite what many stuffy old British men might say, this is actually the closest to the original source material of any the movies before it--Downey, Jr is amazing as always, and plays the brilliant but excentric, drug-addled and socially ackward Holmes to a tee. Even Jude Law, who I normally hate to watch, was just right in his role. It was definitely an action movie, not a mystery movie, and that's just fine.
Inglorious Basterds: It was hot or cold for people with this. Those who thought they were going to see a war movie were sadly mistaken and maybe disappointed. Tarantino fans like myself went in expecting a character-driven masterpiece, and we got it. Christoph Waltz deserves an Oscar--but probably won't get it. Up there with Darth Vader as one of the "best movie villians of all time."
9: Yes it had a flawed storyline but, again, you can overcome that sort of thing with originality, which this stitchpunk movie had in spades. Beautiful.
Coraline: The first of the "new wave" of 3D movies, and definitely meant to be experienced in 3D. Neil Gaiman has a real ability to tell unique, original stories with just enough darkness in them to give you the odd shiver.
Watchmen: Is it perfect? Not really, but it's by far the most faithful to the source material of any comic book movie yet--and has a storyline written about Vietnam and the Cold War that's still relevent today.
Avatar: Not so much revolutionary as evolutionary, this is the exact opposite of District 9 and Coraline, in that the storyline is a hopeless ripoff of many before it (mostly Dances with Wolves), but because it's such a technical masterpiece, you get carried happily along for the ride anyway. Few movies have ever had this level of immersion--the 3D version in the theatres is every bit as good as the hype.
Taken: This is a guilty pleasure--I know, it's a very predictable, tired storyline, but just having Liam Neeson killing bad guys for 90 minutes is very refreshing.
The Hangover: There were a lot of awful, unfunny comedies this year (Observe and Report, Year One, The Goods.) This was not one of them. Probably the funniest buddy comedy I've ever watched. This'll be one of those timeless ones, like Animal House and Spaceballs.
The Soloist: Didn't seem to make a lot of people's lists, but it made mine. I'm not normally much of a softy, but this movie hit me right where it counted. Jamie Foxx's performance is brilliant.
Star Trek: Flawed, with a story full of plot holes... but since when has Star Trek not been full of plot holes? In the end it's the character interaction and development that matters in Star Trek (see, The Wrath of Khan, The Undiscovered Country), and the reboot of the franchise had that--plus some great action. Chris Pine and Karl Urban are spot on, and I'm glad they made the effort to explain the continuity issues for the die-hard fans. The movie never takes itself too seriously, either.
Terminator Salvation: way better than it had any right to be... Apparently Bale changed the script BIG time to include his John Conner character, so we'll never how the original idea would've turned out--but the story made a fair bit of sense and there were some excellent machine-vs-human scenes.
Drag Me to Hell: Sam Raimi is still the master of non-gory, comedic-yet-creepy horror.
I Sell The Dead: Surprisingly fun, low-budget independant film starring Charlie from LOST.
Haven't Seen but Will Watch Soon Because They're Supposed to be Awesome:
Moon (apparently a smart sci-fi film, which is hard to find these days)
Zombieland (Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg killing zombies? Gold.)
The Hurt Locker (Looks amazing)
Where the Wild Things Are (it pisses off Christian parents, so I'm in)
The Road (disappeared from theatres before I had a chance!)