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Showing posts from May, 2010

Big Stars Big Projects: Inception and the Adjustment Bureau

2010 will have a wide variety of genre blockbusters but there are two of note that this author finds quite intriguing. The first is Christopher Nolan's Inception which stars a wide cast of stars including Leonardo Dicaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ken Watanabee, Michael Caine, Cillian Murphy, and Marion Coltillard about a theif who specializes in a very science-fiction-esque way of committing a heist and plans to leave the business for good but the last job is not what he expected. I am excited for Inception because it is Nolan's return to filmmaking since the Dark Knight and Nolan's films always give me a mental thrill and exercise and I'm always excited to see what he does next. Another movie similair to Inception is the film coming out in September titled The Adjustment Bureau starting Matt Damon and Emily Blunt about a senatorial candidate who falls in love for a ballerina, only to find out its not meant to be, according to a mysterious Bureau's plan so the man m…

What is Super 8?

If you've seen Iron Man 2 this past weekend, you've most likely seen the strange new trailer for J.J. Abrams' next directorial effort, Super 8. The trailer involves a train carrying materials from Area 51 to Ohio in 1979, only to be caught in a deadly crash with a pickup truck. After the huge explosion, the train is seen in ruins on the side of the road but a pounding noise is heard before one of the cars from the train is seen slowly being pounded open by one of the cargo inside. The trailer ends as the door bursts open and the thing escapes. Meant as a homage to Steven Spielberg's earlier alien films such as Close Encounters of the Third Kind and E.T., J.J. Abrams' Super 8 starts shooting this fall and will be released in the summer of 2011.

Overlooked film of 2009: Moon

Astronaut Sam Bell has been living on the moon for the past 3 years, taking care of mchines that extract helium 3 from the moon's soil as much needed energy back on Earth, for the company Lunar Industries. Its been a lonely couple of years for Sam as his only companion has been the robot Gerty. Luckily, however, Sam has only two weeks to go before he heads back home. However, the loneliness maybe starting to get to him as he is hallicunating. One of these hallicunations puts Sam into an accident that knocks him unconscious. Sam later wakes up in the infirmy, being looked after by Gerty. Something doesn't feel right though so Sam sneaks back to the accident site to investigate. There, he makes a shocking discovery. If there has been a 2009 film that has been grossly underseen, it is Moon. Moon is a wonderful exercise in science-fiction that sparked multiple emotions out of me as I watched it. The film is expertly and wonderfully directed and written by first time director Dunca…

Movie Review: DisneyNature's Oceans

DisneyNature's Oceans is a spellbounding documentary about the world's oceans that explores the different kinds of wildlife ranging from whales to seals to the tiny coral reef inhabitants. The film is expertly shot with eye opening moments where you wonder, "How did they film that?" Nicely narrated in the U.S. by Pierce Brosnan, the film talks about the differnt kinds of marine biology in a fun and informative way, even giving fascinating facts on creatures that I had never heard of before. The film also delves into the dark side of the oceans as humans have damaged the oceans and its wildlife pretty badly (enough for the filmmakers to get a shot of an otter swimming next to a submerged shopping cart) but that we're also slowly learning to take better care of the oceans as well. This was a fun and informative movie that was well made and definetely a fun film for everyone to watch, especially on Earth Day. Overall, 3 and 1/2 stars out of 5.

Movie Review: Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland

Alice Kingsley isn't having the best of days. She's been having the same dream over and over again, her father has recently died, and her mother and sister have taken her to a formal party where she finds that her sister is being cheated on and she is given a marriage proposal by the pompous son of a lord her father used to work with. Confused and not knowing how to reply, Alice says she needs some time to think as a distraction for when she sees a white rabbit in a waistcoast and gives chase after it. During the chase, Alice falls through a rabiit world and lands in a strange world with strange beings who claim to know her. Alice is soon off on a strange and wild adventure involving these beings which she soon realizes is connected to her strange reaccuring dream, and her past. Its been a while since I had seen a film by Tim Burton so this film was refreshing. Tim Burton helped create a very bizarre yet wonderful Wonderland and breathed life into Lewis Carroll's famous ch…

Academy Award Nominated Movie Review 7: District 9

In 1982, a spaceship looms over Johannesburg, South Africa and the world has its first contact with aliens. The aliens are discovered to be bug-like creatures that are in huge numbers and sickly and in poor conditions with their ship broken. The humans offer refuge to the aliens but conditions become hostile as the aliens need to steal food to survive and are derogitively nicknamed "Prawns". The aliens are confined into a government camp within Johannesburg named District 9, which soon becomes a slum. 26 years later, a private military company named Multinational United (MNU) is hired by the Johannesburg government to relocate the 1.8 million aliens to a new camp called District 10. Wikus van de Merwe, a young but pompous member of the MNU team leads the extraction team by giving out eviction notices to the aliens. Meanwhile, one of the aliens dubbed "Christopher Johnson", with the help of his son and a friend, searches for technology from the alien ship to distill…

Running Hawks Prepare for Big Ten Championship

Betsy Flood, Tiffany Medenwaldt, Jeff Thode and Jeffery Herron are just a handful of the Iowa Hawkeye track standouts at the Musco Twiilight meet May 22nd. Their tremendous accomplishments should give them an extra edge at the Track and Field Big Ten Championships, approaching this weekend in Bloomington, Indiana.
After winning the 3,000-meter at the Musco Twilight XI meet, sophomore Betsy Flood was named Big Ten Women’s Track co-Athlete of the week for May 5. Her mark of 9:22:63 is a college-best and ranks third all-time at Iowa.
Though freshman Jeff Thode was not name an athlete of the week, his performance at the Musco Twilight XI meet made history, setting a new facility and meet record in the 1,500 meters. His efforts will make a dent in the Iowa record book with a time of 3:44:51.
SophomoreTiffany Medenwaldt also made a dent in the record book with her winning toss of 161-3 (49.16m) at Musco. Her toss broke a nearly 20-year record set by Denise Taylor in 1992. She also placed se…

University of Iowa Men’s Golf Team 2nd at Big Ten Championship

May 10, 2010
The University of Iowa Men’s Golf team has had an on and off season but managed to somehow pull it all together when it really mattered. The Hawkeyes place second out of eleven teams at the Big Ten Championships which is the program’s best finish since 1992 when they won the championship. The team scored a final round of 282 (-2) and lost to the University of Illinois with a score of 1157 (+21). Illinois was 16 strokes ahead of Iowa before the final round began and Iowa fought back finishing just three strokes behind.
Sophomore Barrett Kelpin was a huge asset to the success of the Hawkeyes as he posted a final round of one-over par 72. Kelpin placed third in the tournament with a total score of even par 284. His finish is the best finish for the Hawkeyes since 2001 and he was presented with the honor to represent the all-tournament team. Only five student-athletes were selected with this honor.
Other Iowa Hawkeyes to mention are Brad George, Chris Brant, and Vanc…

University of Iowa Men’s Tennis Big Ten Championships-

April 30, 2010
The University of Iowa Men’s Tennis team is not ranked nearly as high as the women’s team. However, the men’s program is ranked 61st in the nation and recently fell to the University of Illinois at the Big Ten Championships in the quarterfinals. The fighting Illini are ranked number 14th in the nation for men’s tennis and were a bit too much for the Hawkeyes who put up a good battle.
In the first round of the Big Ten Championships the University of Iowa Hawkeyes defeated the Purdue Boilermakers at the Indiana University Tennis Center. Even though the Hawks were not capable of maintaining the doubles point, senior Reinoud Haal got the game on the way in the singles play. Haal defeated Eric Ramos (Purdue) while sophomore Will Vasos competed at the No. 2 spot for the first time in his career as a Hawkeye. Will won his single, which gave Iowa a 2-1 advantage. Junior Austen Kauss had a win as well, which led Iowa to a score of 3-1. The Hawkeyes put up a good fight a…

University of Iowa Women’s Tennis Team- Big Ten Championships

April 30, 2010
Iowa Women’s Tennis has had a great season thus far. They are currently ranked 26th in the nation and have a couple of outstanding players. The University of Iowa women's tennis team defeated Indiana in the quarterfinal round of the Big Ten Championships. The score ended up being 4-1, Iowa, and 17-5 overall. The Big Ten Championships were held at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex Friday, in Iowa City. They are advancing to face one of the top teams in the nation, Michigan, in the semifinal round on Saturday.
During the match on Friday against Indiana, the two tennis players that got things started were Junior Jessica Young and Senior Kelcie Klockenga who defeated Indiana’s Charlotte Martin and Katya Zapadalova. The pair had their 22nd doubles victory. The next doubles up were there teammates Sonja Molnar and Merel Beelen. This duo is ranked 15th in the nation and struggled their way to a triumph over the Hoosier’s Lindsey Stuckey and Evgeniy…

Softball defeats Western Illinois

On April 18, the Iowa Hawkeyes beat the Western Illinois 8-0. They played at Pearl Field and defeated the Leathernecks in six innings. Senior, Amanda Zust, stood out this game as she used her exceptional defense to not let Western Illinois score. The Hawks started out great right from the beginning, they had 5 runs in just the first inning. Senior, Taylor Leichsenring, started them off when she hit an infield single. She was followed by a RBI (run batted in) double by Senior Katie Brown. After that, junior Jenny Schuelke took her base and was followed by a single by Chelsey Carmody leaving all the bases loaded for sophomore Katie Keim. Katie hit a single into the right field and allowed her two teammates to make it to home. Freshman Johnnie Dowling finished up the inning when she hit a two-RBI single up the middle creating the score to be 5-0.
The Hawks scored all their points for the game when Western Illinois had two mistakes in the third inning, allowing Iowa to add ano…

Five University of Iowa Football Hawkstars to NFL-

As most people know, the University of Iowa Football team had an incredible previous season. Only losing 1 game in season (University of Northwestern) and 1 game in post-season (which was lost in overtime to Ohio State), the hawks put up a great fight year round which really showed in the end of the year draft.
The Hawkeyes once again set a new record, only this time it was in the number of players drafted into the NFL. The latest draftee was offensive tackle Kyle Calloway. Though he is not one of the most known players on the team, Calloway was a three year started for the Hawkeyes and earned second-team all-Big Ten honors in 2008 and in 2009- which were know as great seasons for the University of Iowa football team. Kyle Calloway was selected by the Buffalo Bills in New York.
The first from the University of Iowa football team to be picked in the 2010 NFL draft was offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga. Bryan was the 23rd pick in the first round of the draft by the Green Bay Packers …

Iowa finishes off great spring practices, only to start a great season.

On April 17, the Iowa Hawkeyes finished up their final spring practice that was viewed by almost 25,000 fans. The practice was showed so fans could see what to expect this season and to also see their favorite players back in action. The spring practices were helpful for the players to improve and fill in spots on the field, figuring out who exactly is playing what position. Although it is a given who is playing the major positions, the coaches and players still have final decisions to make about the other positions.
The fans got to see a lot of what has been going on practices, however, it was just a practice that they got to see. A lot of fans were under the impression that they were going to see some sort of scrimmage, or game, but as the time went on they soon realized that they were just watching a boring old practice. For some, this was great and they got a lot out of watching it. However, for those less into football, watching a practice was not what they came for. The…

University of Iowa Women’s Gymnastics at Columbia Regional

April 10, 2010
The University of Iowa’s Women’s Gymnastics Team traveled to Columbia, Missouri on April 10 to compete in the NCAA Regional Championship. Iowa competed against some of the best teams in the country including University of Georgia, University of Missouri, Oregon State University, University of Minnesota, and the University of North Carolina.
Iowa started on the Beam where they were a little more unsteady than usual, but still pulled it out without having to count any falls. Junior Rebecca Simbhudas lead the Hawks with a score of 9.725.
They moved to floor where the Hawks had their highs and lows. Sophomore Jessa Hansen had one of the best performances of her career and the lead the GymHawks with a score of a 9.85. Junior Houry Gebeshian followed close behind with a score of 9.825 and then Simbhudas with a score of 9.8. With these three leading scores the Gymhawks kept in the race and continued on to their third event.
The third event was vault where the Hawks…

Iowa Baseball Finally Wins a Game-

April 4, 2010
Baseball is known as America’s pass time, a leisurely game common to just about every father and son. Baseball is the sport that has changed America’s history by bringing them together in a hurting time. During the past few years Iowa Baseball has suffered from some less than perfect seasons when they received a new head coach, Jack Dahm.
This weekend Iowa finally wins finishes a long winning streak after their win against Michigan State. They played Michigan State on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, beginning strong but ending poorly. They won the first game played on April 2 with a score of Iowa 5 and Michigan State 3, and then lost the next two games 16-2 and 26-11. The Hawks have won the past 5 out of 6 games and were excited moving into this weekend. Perhaps the Hawks got a little too confident and gave it up a little at the end.
In the fight of the last game, Jack Dahm states, “My biggest thing is that we played three outstanding innings, unfortunately, baseball …

Basketball Hires A New Coach

March 29, 2010
It’s not news to most people, but the basketball team has had a far less than perfect season. With winning only 11 out of the total of 33 games they played this season, the team knew they had to make some changes. The coach, Todd Lickliter, was fired from his position due to not being able to hold up to certain expectations. Lickliter made it clear that he was fired and it was not from his recently found illness. Gary Barta, the University of Iowa Athletic Director, said the decision was because of the recent competitive record. There has not been any improvement in the past three years with the men’s basketball program. Gary made sure to inform everyone that Lickliter has high values and is a great person… He also says the Lickliter is a great basketball coach. However, in the past three years the attendance and ticket sales for men’s basketball has gone down tremendously. There has not been a positive outcome upon hiring Todd Lickliter. Thus, he has recently b…

Gymhawks Upset at Big10 Championships-

March 27, 2010
So the University of Iowa gymnastics team got last at the Big10 Championships last year, 2009. However, this past weekend was one of the biggest upset in the competition. The Gymhawks received third place out of all the gymnastics teams of the Big10. They were not even looked at as competition to their opposing teams but proved them all wrong as the competition went on. Though they were the underdogs going into the meet, they soon met the glances of many scared teams. They made two of the best teams in the nation, University of Michigan and Penn State, sweat as they hit each event.
The girls started on the uneven bars where every single person nailed their bar routine, including 4 stuck landings. After this event the coaches could see that the girls were in the game tonight. They moved to the balance beam where they shocked the crown with their confidence. Junior, Houry Gebeshian hit the best routine of her career and got an outstanding score of 9.95. All the a…

Academy Award Nominated Movie Review 6: Up

Carl Frederickson looks to be your sterotypical grumpy old man: he walks on a cane, yells at people to get off his lawn, and seemingly talks to his house. In reality, Carl is just a retired balloon salesman going through a rough time. His wife Ellie, who Carl has known since they were children, died before they could fulfill their dreams of traveling to Paradise Falls in South America, and Carl's old neighborhood is being torn down to make room for a mall and other buildings in a big city. When Carl accidently injures a construction worker, he is forced by a judge to be sent to a retirement home. With no other choice, Carl decides to fulfill his and Ellie's dream of going to Paradise Falls. The next morning, Carl escapes his escort to the retirement home by releasing numerous balloons, pulling his house off the ground and into the air, making it an airship. Carl soon realizes that a young Wilderness Explorer named Russell has stowed away on board, hoping to earn his last merit…

Academy Award Nominated Movie Review 5: Up in the Air

Ryan Bingham has a unique job: he flies around the country, firing employees because their bosses are too afraid to do so. He also gives an occasional lecture as a motivational speaker, promoting "What's in Your Backpack?" which advises employees to empty their life of people and things and enjoy that freedom. This pretty much describes Ryan's life as his one and only goal is to obtain ten million frequent flyer miles with American Airlines, which will earn him executive status in their Frequent Flyers Club, and his name on the side of an aircraft. Ryan has this goal because he spends most of his time in the air. Two new elements then enter his life that will unknowingly change him: the first is another frequent flyer named Alex, who begins a casual relationship with him. The other is that he is called back to his company in Ohama, Nebraska, to find out that a new coworker named Natalie has suggested firing people over the Internet instead of in person, to save costs…

Academy Award Nominated Movie Review 4: Inglorious Basterds

"Once Upon A Time in Nazi-Occupied France..." so begins Quentin Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds, a loud, wild, and violent guns a blazin' World War II picture. However, the start of the picture starts out very subtly with dialogue, like many other of Tarantino's films, as the slimy Colonol Hans Landa of the Nazi party and nicknamed "The Jew Hunter" for his ability to hunt down Jewish escapees, convinces a French farmer to reveal the location of a Jewish family he is hiding under the floorboards. Landa then calls in his troops who shoot up the floor and kill all of the family, except the teenage daughter, Shosanna who escapes. Years later, Shoshanna is living under an assumed identity and has inherited a movie theater. This causes a German soldier, who is considered a her by the Nazis, to become smitten by her. Shosanna obviously does not share his love in return but decides to use the soldier when he convinces Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi media head of Ger…

Academy Award Nominated Movie Review: The Blind Side

Michael Oher is a down on his luck teenager who has spent years in different foster homes and has had a lack of formal education, due to the fact that his mother was a crack addict and his father was in jail. Thanks to the help of a friend, Michael applies and enrolls in a private Christian school. Due to his lack of a education however, Michael begins his first year by struggling to succeed in his school work. He also has no place to stay as his mother has moved. Michael soon befriends Leigh Anne Tuohy, a fiery Tennessee designer, and her family, who offer him a place to stay and eventually adopt him. The Tuohys help Michael's life improve greatly as his grades improve, he joins the school's football team, he is accepted into college, and eventually, becomes an offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens. I've seen plenty of inspiritational sports movies growing up, so when I went to see the Blind Side, I was expecting pretty much the same thing. I was surprised to find th…

Academy Award Nominated Movie Review 2: The Hurt Locker

As the 2009 winner of the Best Picture Oscar, the Hurt Locker was also special because its director, Kathryn Bigalow, because the first female director in history to win the Best Director Aaward. It was well deserved as The Hurt Locker is a well-made war movie set during the post-invasion of Iraq in 2004. The story follows William James, a Sergeant in A U.S. Army's Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) Unit and his ubsequent adventures with his team in this unit as they diffuse bombs set around the area of their base. The setup of the story is quite intriquing as I do not know much about the U.S. army's involvement in the War of Iraq so this gave me a clearer picture. Still, the film didn't quite work for me. There are some suspenseful moments in the film such as when James has to diffuse several bombs at once, but the story of the Hurt Locker, feels more like several events tied together. The movie is meant to be character and dialogue-based but I did not realize that when I…

Academy Award Nominated Movie Reviews (Yes I know they're late): James Cameron's Avatar

James Cameron's Avatar is, in a word, an expierience, visually. Its plot could be stronger but it holds up pretty well. The story is about a paraplegic former marine named Jake Sulley who, after being worn down by life on 2154 Earth, accepts an offer to replace his murdered brother's position on the human colony of the moon Pandora. Since the atmosphere on Pandora is unbreathable for humans, the job includes using the brother's Avatar, a genetically engineered body that has the DNA mixture of a human and the ten foot tall natives of Pandora, the Na'vi. Jake's superiors Parker Selfridge of the RDA corporation and Colonel Quartrich plan to use Jake to gain the nearest Na'vi tribe's trust and persuade them to leave their home so the corporation can dig up an important resource, unobtanium, needed back on Earth. When Jake meets the feistry tribe princess, Neytiri, and falls in love with her and the Na'vi's way of life however, things get very very compl…

Kristen Stewart

I understand the crazy publicity this produces for Proenza Schouler but I wouldn't let Kristen Stewart touch my clothing with a ten foot pole.  Stewart doesn't give a shit about her fans, her behavior, or her clothing.  She doesn't deserve to wear this amazing piece.  Look at how she rolled up the sleeves!  Ahhh, this isn't your boyfriend's button down, stop it!!   Her posture and miserable smile scream whatever and Proenza Schouler's S/S 10 collection is anything but whatever.  If you hate being famous so much, stop making blockbuster movies.  Get this girl off of the Red Carpet!


MAD ABOUT CRAMER

I know CNBC isn't the go to channel for television viewers looking for entertainment, but there is some there (if you know anything about the stock market). Jim Cramer, CNBC's most energetic stock market pundit, brings a new look to the often dreary description of the stock market.
His show, Mad Money, airs Monday-Friday at 5pm and 10pm CST. His goal is to tell viewers advise on investing in the market, but in plain English, not the normal Wall St. jargon that baffles the casual investor. Cramer goes to any length to make the stocks he is reviewing memorable, even wearing women's shoes, eating toothpaste, and covering himself in multiple food products.
Another tool in his arsenal is a huge sound effect machine that sits in front of him as he does the show, helping to demonstrate the points he is trying to make (these can be heard at the CNBC Mad Money Soundboard). Viewers of Mad Money can feel Cramer's passion for what he is doing. He became a hedge fund manager and bec…

SNL SCENE STEALER

I actually haven't seen anything funny on Saturday Night Live since Horatio Sanz left. The last quality material the show produced seemed to be when Tina Fey was still writing. But, in the current season, I have seen a glimmer of hope for this quickly declining show- Nasim Pedrad (who was hired when two female cast members were fired).
She was born in Iran and is only the fifth SNL cast member born outside of the U.S. After moving to the U.S., she graduated from the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television.
Since joining the cast, Pedrad seems to be stealing each skit she participates in. Her impressions have covered a vast array of characters- from Kim Kardashian to the Iranian President's wife on Weekend Update. This portrayal was viewed as somewhat controversial, since Pedrad is actually from Iran and blatantly mocked Ahmadinejad. Her fluent Persian was a handy tool for leaning over to speak to her husband (played by Fred Armisen) as he sat there staring blankly into th…

SURVIVING WHAT?

If anyone still watches the reality show Survivor, now in it's 20th season, I need to know some things from you. In this season, Heroes vs. Villains, rehashed former players of the show are back competing again. They are in Samoa, I believe the only location that the show has been where there are no poisonous snakes. This brings me to the question- when the players in in these other locations (Africa, the Amazon, the Australian Outback), why do they never encounter any of the dangerous animals that reside there? Most of the locations the show has taped in are crawling with poisonous snakes & spiders, as well as crocodiles, yet viewers never see them, not even when the contestants are out prowling through the rain forest for food. It seems to me that there may be some help by a never seen crew that keeps danger away from these "survivors." Another question about the topic of food- in most of these locales, there is fruit growing everywhere. The hardest thing a person m…

CHOPPED!

Yet another dysfunctional family has left the television air waves. The Teutuls, Paul Sr., sons Paulie and Mikey are no more on the TLC channel. After six seasons, the show American Chopper, has been cancelled. This was in major part because of the firings of Paulie and Mikey from the Orange County Choppers (OCC) motorcycle shop where the show was filmed. The boss, Paul Sr., was constantly bickering and feuding with his son (and head fabricator/designer) Paulie, and finally had enough of it. Mikey on the other hand, may have been fired because the only thing he really ever accomplished while at the shop, was making people laugh. The series was built around the perpetual strife between Paulie and his dad. Some of the time these blow ups were so bad, that Paulie would leave the shop and not return for days. Mikey was always trying to patch things up between the two, but his efforts were in vain. After both sons left OCC, the show tried to follow each of them in their lives away from des…

WHERE ANARCHY RULES

The FX Network has signed on for a third season of their basically unedited show Sons of Anarchy. A show about a dysfunctional California motorcycle club (aka gang). With last seasons finale pulling in 4.35 million viewers, the show looks like it may be gaining some momentum. The show stars: Ron Perlman, as the leader of the club, Clay/Charlie Hunnam, as Jax, the second in command & step son to Clay/Katey Sagal as Gemma, wife to Clay & mother to Jax. But SOA has one of the most interesting casts of misfit characters supporting these better known actors as well as some great guest roles, like rocker Henry Rollins as a Neo-Nazi bad guy. The biker drama not only is filled with non-stop action, but has been granted major leniency by FX in editing for a 9 pm (CT) cable show. The cursing flows as if viewers were sitting in on real motorcycle gang conversation. There is also plenty of flesh to be viewed as well. Sons of Anarchy is an excitement-filled hour where viewers can get to kno…