Saturday, August 30, 2008

I Will Watch the Watchmen

Am I the only fanboy who had a pretty good hard on when they saw they new Watchmen trailer? I am bit worried to how it will come out on film, I have recently re-read the grahic novel and it just has so much in it as far as character development, which is basically what the comic is about. I hope Zach Snyder is up for the challenge, and didn't change it too much to just incorporate more action, which is sort his strong suit up this point (see Dawn of the Dead remake and 300 for examples). Maybe I am just excited because of the awesome trailer? The song they use is he Beginning is the End is the Beginning by the Smashing Pumpkins, and it just works perfect for the trailer. I think with the dark nature of the Dark Knight it might be a good set up for all the rape, torture, and other goodies that this movie will have in store. Here is a gander at the film, is it 2009 yet?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Madden 09

Yes, I play video games too. I have recently been playing Madden 09! I wanted to write a little bit about, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Ok so lets touch on the cover. You have future hall of fame QB Brett Favre of the NY Jets! They say madden cover athletes have a curse which has been proven correct more then a few times. I guess Favre cursed himself in a way with his own decisions. If you ask me, when you retire and the team moves on thats what they have to do, if you come  back and get mad at them for not making you the starter then it is all your own fault. Seeing you in a Jets unfi will be about as weird as seeing Joe Montana in a Chiefs Uniform, but at least he won more Superbowls before he bolted.


The game has some amazing graphics, i mean this is the best football game I have ever seen in terms of graphics. They detail almost everything on the players and they all have their own faces and looks. No player looks the same and you can tell a big difference between the build of an O-line man or a Running Back. They even improved on things like stadium detail, weather was much improved, and the crowd and people on the sidelines were made to look and feel more realistic. A small thing they added that I really enjoy is that as the game goes on the jerseys get dirty and green. If the weather is rain, you can see the jerseys get increasingly caked with mud, and it depends on how much you player is on the field. It was nice to see all my guys on special teams come out covered in mud and the kicker walks out with a jersey that is mostly clean and untouched. 

You get a more realistic gameplay this year. It is much harder to just make a catch or run and take it to the house. Money plays are almost all but gone. The CPU has some better AI it some aspects. You have to earn your points this time around. I like that the games can get close, its not just blow out after blow out. I usually play on a pretty easy level (Pro Mode, for now). Runnng the ball is harder and while its not my favorite it is much more real. You cannot easily break a run for 20 yards. Having a better offensive line will help you run and pass the ball with greater ease. They also added some replays, which will break down the play and show you how you messed up, they are fun to watch a few times but if you accidently hit one button after your play they are automatically skipped through. I'm sorry but after the play I am always pressing buttons.  They do allow you to replay the previus play in a screen while you are picking your next play, which is a nice touch. 

While running is harder passing seems to be almost just right. If you have a good QB and WR's you pass the ball deeper and easier, if you have someone like Alex Smith at QB it becomes harder to make the deep passes and you are less accurate. You cannot just use Kyle Orton and sling the ball in there this year. When you run you have to wait for your block, not just sprint outside and for a huge run. 

Madden 09 has many good improvements that I touched on here. I am happy with the the graphics and presentation of the game. It looks so good that sometimes I just play to see how fun it will be to play in the snow or rain. This is the pinnacle of grahics for sports games to date. 


The gameplay does suffer in many ways. Running is much harder and the casual gamer may be very upset with this. I play on Pro mode and usually average 3 yards per carry. I am not claiming to be some great player but that seems a tad low to me. If you have a better RB it does help, so does a better O-line. I used the Detorit Lions and couldn't run the ball to save my life. You also need to run to set up the pass or play action fake, and if you cannot run you sort of give up on it and just pass, which leads to the CPU AI picking you off or going with more dime coverage.  The worst thing in running is that when you see a big hole to run it gets clogged in a second and you get tackled. I hate this part. I see a big hole i am in the clear and all of a sudden some huge D-line man comes off his block and gets me. They made the D-line men way to good this year. I have even gone and replayed to see why I always got tackled so easy when I had a huge hole, and it was because the D-line would break their blocks and instantly get me. I am sorry but this is a huge flaw in the game and needs to be addressed. I do not wish to break every play for 50 yards, but when there is a hole I should get at least 4 yards not 1 or 2. 

The sprint button has been tuned down, my guess would be that it was too easy to break a long one with guys with a lot of speed. I will admit its more realistic to not be able to just sprint past everyone. The passing game suffers a lot from this. I will pass to someone like Santanna Moss who is a speedster but he will usuall be tackled right after he catches the ball. I think this should be something that happens more to possesion recievers. Throwing the deep ball is much harder this time around, the CB's seem to stay with you more, not to say its impossible but its very diffcult for avg QB's and WR's to do.

I mentioned the CPU AI, which usually can pass with ease this year around. The thing is the CPU will run about 70% of the time, usually.  Since its pretty fair it term of running the ball, it means they cannot run the ball very good either. They should pass much more then they do. When I played a team who passed more they ended up scoring more against me. The cpu still decided to run for 2 yards gains when they clearly should be passing. Its like Mike Nolan is doing the cpu AI. Another bad thing is that the cpu AI for both my guys and the cpu guys do not know what out of bounds means. I have guys who run routes and will go out of bounds and not come back in play. I would think this is something they would have fixed. It is pretty comical to see the cpu pass to guys who are out of bounds, which they do quite often. I like the free loss of down and all, but I would sometimes rather earn it. 

Instant replay continues to be something they need to work on. You can replay stuff but they have no idea what you want to replay. Sometimes they make a catch and go out of bounds. How do they know if I want to replay if he got his feet in or if made the catch. They really need to make it so you have some sort of option of choosing what you want to review.  They also dont have any pregame show, I know its not that important but I liked in the past when they would highligh one or two player who would impact the game and explain why they would do so. This year they also added a feature that make the game very much a video game, there is a replay a play mode were you can rewind one play of your choosing a game. So if you get beat by a game winning td the game allows you to rewind the play and try to stop them one more time. I am not sure why the added this feature. I have used it sparingly, once or twice but lately I never even use it or impliment it in the games I play. If I play a friend we never use it. I am not sure why the even made this feature. 

Ok so some of the bad stuff could be called nit picking but some is just plain bad. The running game is good for the die-hard realistic fan but most people i know think its just too hard. Guy running out of bounds for no reason gets lame after a while and still no good replay system make it pretty much a non-factor this year. 


The ugly is best summed up in two words: Chris Collinsworth. He is the new announcer for what seems like most of the plays and replays in Madden 09. The guy comes off as smug and some of his insights are just there to be there, they offer nothing which helps or entertains you. Ok well maybe its fun to laugh at sometimes but usually its pretty lame stuff. I understand that its hard to get good play by play in a video game, but with improved technology I would have thought they could somehow make it at least better. I guess it would have been to hard to get the Sunday night team of Madden and Al Michaels, who at least have actual knowledge due to many years of covering sporting events. Madden does lend himself to a few things in the game, like when you take that awful Madden Test.

Speaking of that, that Madden test is bad. I was really excited to see that they made it so the game would adapt to you. I took the tests, they make you do a lot of small test in running, passing, pass and rush defense, and then they give you a grade based on what you did. I remember when I was taking the test it seemed way too easy, they would tell you what button to hit while running the ball. No doubt I did all-madden level (best you can get) in running. So when I played the game with my madden ratings it was nearly impossible to run the ball. It made sense for them to make it so hard when it was so simple in the madden drills! Why did they do this! Anyway I just ignore that madden test thing now and play on Pro mode which is a pretty good setting. I hope they improve this over the years because I was looking forward to having a game that would adpat to me.

Final Thoughts

Madden is fun to play and is more realistic and less arcade style. If you like to earn your yards and use some brains this game will suit you fine. Its a good game for people who really like the NFL and want a game that plays like a real NFL game. Graphics will blow you away and the play by play is pretty bad, overall Madden 2009 is a good effort and should be had by all real NFL fans. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


My Prediction of the 49ers record 

It is never too early for football! I know I there is still many questions left for many teams before the regular season kicks off, like who the hell is J.T. O'Sullivan? 

But alas I am just chomping to get started of some NFL predictions so here is a game by game guess of what I think the 49ers record will be in the 2008 season. 

Week 1

vs Arizona - Since niners have gotten off to good starts almost every year with Nolan at head coach I am pretty confident that the niners will pull through opening the season up at home. With questions about All Pro WR Anquan Boldin still looming, will he even be playing for the Cardinals when the season starts?, and Edge getting older I think the 49ers will be more prepared and will have a slight edge as long as everyone is healthy. I look for Frank Gore to have a big game. 

Final Score: 49ers Win 17-14 (1-o)

Week 2

@Seattle - Niners had a very diffcult time with Seahawks last year. I believed they got shut out playing in Seattle last year and I know they didn't score a TD agaisnt them at home (I had the pleasure of going to that game). I think 49ers do score in this game but riding the win from Arizona the week before isn't enough. 

Final Score: Seattle Wins 24-6 (1-1)

Week 3 

vs Detroit - This will be a big game for Mike Martz. He will be the talk of the town this week because he is going up against his former team and FOX is not smart enough not to care and will hype it up, especially since the game is between teams who haven't been in serious playoff contention in a while. I think the 9ers pull this one out, and I think it gets a little high scoring. Lions should have a tought time running and maybe the niners get some turnovers to seal it up.

Final Score: 49ers Win 27-20  (2-1)

Week 4

@ New Orleans - A very tough match up. The niners are  not that great on the road and playing in New Orleans will just prove to be too tough on them. I think this one will be close for a while but New Orleans will pull away with a big lead in the end. Nuff said.

Final Score: New Orleans Wins 28-14  (2-2)

Week 5

vs New England - After playing against the Saints the niners get to come home to this? Wow, this will be a bad loss. New England went 16-0 last year and has a great team again. If Tom Brady and Randy Moss are both injured the 9ers might have a small chance, but they won't be, the 9ers will see in the Pats what they used to be to other teams in the 80's, Dominant.  This one could get ugly folks. What is even worse is that after this they face Philadelphia Eagles and then the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants, wow what fair scheduling NFL, I call Bullshit on this!

Final Score: New England Wins 37-7 (2-3)

Week 6

vs Philadelphia - Another good team comes to the bay area. Mcnabb and Westbrook and a good Philly D seems to daunting to a team like the 9ers. I think this game could be close but I don't think it will be. After a few more big losses the 9ers most likely lose another one at home.

Final Score: Philadelphia Wins 28-17  (2-4)

Week 7 

vs Seattle - After facing 3 most likely playoff teams the Seahawks come into Candelstick and do not seem as daunting at home. Niners get some good running and just enough D to pull out a win on a Joe Nedney field goal with a min or two left in the game. Niners get back to winning, this will be a close game.

Final Score: 49ers Win 17-16 (3-4)

Week 8

@New York Giants - Ah, this is fun. We get to back to NY for the second season in a row, another reason I hate the NFL schedule makers, is it just me or do the 49ers never get any breaks? I guess once you win you get some of those breaks? NY Giants Defense was too much for Brady and Co. so how do you think we will hold up?

Final Score: NY Giants Win 25-9 (3-5)

Week 9 - BYE

Week 10

@Arizona - The game the niners played @Arizona last year was the most exciting win of the season. While I think it is unlikely they take both games against the Cardinals, I think it is possible and they can do it, just a lot of things have to go right. I will say they do and 9ers pull out a much needed road win. Plus we are coming off a bye week and will have some guys getting much needed rest, that should put us over the hump and take this win. 

Final Score: 49ers Win  24-21 (4-5) 

Week 11

vs St Louis - We played the Rams very close in both games last year and being at home gives us a slight advantage. I say the niners win this one, it will be close but the D steps up and gives us some  turnovers for a home win, it also means the niners are at .500!

Final Score: 49ers  Win 16-10 (5-5)

Week 12 

@Dallas - After 3 straight wins following the BYE the 9ers are on their high horses, so of course they come into Dallas and win! Dallas has a good overall team and proves just too much for the 9ers to handle. This game can be close if the 9ers D steps up and gets some pressure on Romo, but thats a lot to hope for. Another good team that proves too much for the 9ers.

Final Score: Dallas Win 27-13 (5-6)

Week 13

@Buffalo - This game will be played November 30th in New York, I think Frank Gore and Marshawn Lynch both have big games running the ball and the cold makes the game very low scoring, field goals as well as field position will be important and the 9ers get some luck from Andy Lee and Allan Rossum on special teams, just enough to win.

Final Score: 49ers Win 13-12 (6-6)

Week 14

vs New York Jets - This should be a good game. I think the 9ers could take the Jets, well it sort of depends on how Farve is doing with his new team. I think it will be a closer game then most people would think but I have to say to be realistic that the Jets would win this one in a heartbreaker for the 9ers.

Final Score: Jets Win 31-21 (6-7)

Week 15

@Miami - A very winnable game for the 9ers, Miami only won one game all of last year but they have improved in many ways. I think this will be low scoring defensive game and the 9ers D will win out in the end. Nate Clements comes through with a pick returned for a TD to put the Dolphins away for good.

Final Score: 49ers Win 13-10 (7-7)

Week 16

@ St Louis - I want to say the niners will win, i know St Louis is always a hard place to win in. I will just say that this is a game I think 9ers will lose but since I really want them to win I will say that somehow the 9ers pull it out. Maybe by now Josh Morgan has proved he really is the WR of the future and goes off in this game. It is so hard to predicit how teams will be doing in week 16, for all I know Bulger and Holt could be banged up! 

Final Score: 49ers Win 23-19 (8-7)

Week 17

vs Washington - As much I would like to beieve the 9ers could win against the Redskins at home in the last week, I cannot see it happening. Redskins have a lot of talent and play in a tough divison wich makes them a stronger team. The final game of the season is a loss which means the niners finish at .500 which would show some tremondus improvement. If 8-8 is enough to make the playoffs remains to be seen, but I would love to see my 9ers as a wild card and to play some meaning football again.

Final Score: Washington Win 23-13 (8-8)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Lost Classic

Intruder (1989)

I often find myself watching older movies that I think are worth seeing but maybe never got a big word of mouth. One movie I just watched that I thought worth writing about was Intruder. I basically rented the movie because netflix said it had Bruce Campbell in it, and being a big Bruce fan I wanted to see him. I also asked my horror lover friend Dennis and he said the movie was good, so I figured it would be worth a rental. The movie did start out sort of slow, my friend Brian commented that it had been 30 min in and we still didn't have a kill. Then the movie really got going. I think they killed off around 5 people in 20 minutes, not a bad average of around 4 kills a minute. The movie takes place in a supermarket, adding to the nostalgia factor was seeing all the old name brand cereal boxes and pepsi cans of old. The movie has some nice brutal kills, some of which I didn't think would be so nasty but the movie doesn't shy away from gore and I liked that. The acting is pretty bad, I mean the main actress is wretched but the main bad guy is a great villan and the movie has some good shocking moments, overall a good rental and should be watched by horror fans. BTW Campbell was in for a disapointing 2 or 3 minutes, so do not see it just to see him. You do get some good Raimi brother action, because both Sam and Ted Raimi show up and get killed off in fun ways. 

Friday, August 15, 2008

Bad Acting

I am no acting major or Tom Cruise but I can tell when someone does some bad acting and these clips take the cake! I think my favorite is Troll 2, it rules. Not sure why the voices are off but it sort of makes it even funnier. 

Dark Knight

The title of this film is dead on, this is a dark film that is more of a crime
film and drama then it is a summer popcorn blockbuster. Not to say there isn't some nice action and explosions but the crux of the story is about villians and what really needs to
be done to become a hero.

That said all the characters are back from the orginal, even a few you didn't
think would show up are back. Bale is a great Bruce Wayne and a good Batman, his voice
sometimes seems way too forced when he dons the mantle. Lt Gordon is played exactly how I
think he should be by Gary Oldman, he is good everytime he is on screen. Michael Caine is
back as Alfred and is funny, Morgan Freeman is back as Lucious Fox who is sort of Waynes
go to guy for weapons and such. The character of Rachael Dawes is back but instead of
Katie Holmes we get Maggie Gyllenhall who gives a slightly beter performance, she
seems to have a lot to work with because she has a new love interest Harvey Dent, who is
played by Aaron Eckhart. Oh and of course the person who steals the show (would have even
if he wasnt prematurly taken from us) as the Joker.

So The Joker, wow what an amazing and scary villian. Ledger took the character
and made it his own twisted man. I thought he just made everything about the movie
better. I always say that the hero is nothing without a villian, if we never feel the villian can
harm the hero or others then why even be scared? the Joker is a scary motherfucker, at one
point I wanted Batman to harm him because he was a psycho and scary fucker. The Joker
has plans, his plans included hurting Batman and also Harvey Dent. He does end up
making Harvey into something terrible as well. When Dent does make his change into the
villian Two Face it is also frighting. He was once a noble man who lost everything and
has every reason to lose it.

The Dark Knight is just an overall great movie, not a great comic book movie but
great movie which stands on its own. The director Christopher Nolan continues to shine
and give a fresh take on the Batman and his villans. Everything in the movie happens
for a reason, everything leads to something else. The action feels real, not much CGI
used and you can tell. The main stars are the villian, and the movie plays out very dark
and somber.
Even the ending is one of the most downer endings to a comic book movie in a
while, but i am sure it has a purpose to set up for another film, which is about 100% going
to be made after the box office numbers the Dark Knight has put up.

So some negatives? well I didn't see it in IMAX, I bet it looked even better in
that venue of film. I do have some gripes with the ending and who is killed, because I thought
the guy they killed (pretty sure he is dead ) was going to be the villian of the next
movie. At the end of Batman Begins we got the perfect set up for the Joker, this time we are
left with Batman being on the run and taking the responsibility so he can be a hero for
the people. I also sure wouldn't have minded seeing more of the Joker, he plays a major part
of the movie but there is just so much going on witth him, batman/bruce wayne, dent and
dawes, two face, the mob, wayne tech, no wonder the movie was 2 and a half hours
long, in fact I could see it going longer.

One more slight thing was the ending, I expected a tad bigger ending but its
nothing worth talking to much about. The Dark Knight is a movie I need to see again, it
has so much to take in. Maybe I missed somethings but the movie is worth the hype, it blew me
away and go see it.

Grade: A

NOTE- Since this has been written I have seen the movie two more times and one of those times was on IMAX. I still give the movie a solid A!