Monday, December 30, 2013

2014 Movies

I found 2013 to be a sub par year for film, which is pretty sad after 2012 gave us so many good movies! I have a feeling the next few years will be better especially with what 2015 (Star Wars,  Avengers 2, Batman vs Superman) has in store. Here are some films slated to be released in 2014 that I am already looking forward to seeing, in no particular order.

X-Men: Days of Future Past -- May 23 - There is only one preview out but this movie looks like they got almost everyone from every X-Men movie ever released involved. I give them guts for going with a time travel story involving Wolverine traveling to the past and future, so many mutants! It is also nice to have Bryan Singer back to direct (he did X-Men & X2) and I hope they continue where they left off from the strong X-Men: First Class (2011).

The Grand Budapest Hotel -- May 7 - Wes Anderson is back with his usual cast of actors for what looks to be another great movie. This time the great Ralph Finennes appeard to be the main star. The first preview makes the movie seem like it will live up to the other amazing works of Anderson. I am excited to see where he will transport us next.

Interstellar -- November 7 - Again I do not know much about this and even the teaser really doesn't give us too many details but when Christopher Nolan directs and Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, and Anne Hathaway are involved you have peaked my interest. From what I have heard the movie genre is sci-fi...take my money now!

The Monuments Men -- February 7 - I was bummed when they pushed this one back to 2014, the cast and story really impress me and I have been eagerly waiting to see this one starring and directed by George Clooney. The one good thing is that we do not have much longer of a wait to see it, but the push back of it has me somewhat worried about the film (but not too much).

Captain America: The Winter Solider/ Guardians of the Galaxy -- April 4/ August 1  - I was impressed with the first go around and am hopeful the sequel will be just as well done. I have read the comics so I already know who the winter solider is and it should be nice to see how they play that out on film. Looking forward to another good Marvel comics film.

Guardians of the Galaxy should be interesting, it will be the least known comic book character Marvel has done since Blade. I am a big comic fan and I still have never read a Guardians comic,so I feel this movie is more to tie the marvel comic to outer space and will really tie into Avengers 2. I feel this movie will be more comedic then other marvel ventures as well. The cast is pretty impressive (Benicio del Toro, Chris Pratt, and voices of Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel). Should be interesting to see how this movie does.

Jupiter Ascending -- July 18 - After Cloud Atlas I am eager to see what Andy &  Lana Wachowski have in store for us. I might be in the minority but I thought Cloud Atlas was a sweeping and epic film of hope and survival and from the preview I have seen of Jupiter Ascending it looks like they are going for sci-fi again.

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For -- August 22 - The first Sin City was a very faithful adaptation (look and story) to the comic and I love the visual style and grit they went for in it. It has been a long time (9 years!) since the original but it appears they are finally ready to give us the next installment of the series. The cast is impressive and I have no doubt that Robert Rodriguez will do justice to legendary Frank Millers work.

The Hobbit: There and Back Again -- December 17 - We know Peter Jackson will do a good job in ending the series after that great cliff hanger ending to The Desolation of Smaug (which I really enjoyed, even more then The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey). How will the dwarves finally slay Smaug...or will they?

Neighbors -- May 9/ 22 Jump Street -- June 13 - I will put these two together since they are of the Seth Rogen/ Jonah Hill comedy set. Rogen and Hill are probably some of my favorite comedians working today so either one of these films will most likely be hilarious. 21 Jump Street was a real surprise and got better with each watch. Neighbors seems like it will be another well done LOL comedy.

Noah -- March 28 - At first watch of the preview I wasn't sure to what to make of it. A story about Noah's arc didn't seem all that interesting but then I saw it was directed by Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan &  The Wrestler) and I was total interested. Having Russell Crowe, Emma Thompson, Anthony Hopkins, and Jennifer Connolley sure doesn't hurt either. The preview got me pretty pumped to watch it.

Other movies I am looking forward to seeing in 2014:
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes - The first one was a pleasant surprise, I'm interested to see where they go next.

Fury - Brad Pitt in a WWII movie directed by David Ayer (End of Watch)

Edge of Tomorrow - Groundhog day meets sci-fi, Cruise and Emily Blunt and directed by Doug Liman.

Godzilla - The preview and word of mouth have me interested.

Expendables 3- Stallone, Statham, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Jet Li, Wesley Snipes, Arnold Schwarzenegger....yeah I got to see this!

Calvary - From writer/director of The Guard, looks interesting.

Looks like 2014 will be a good year for film.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Farewell Candlestick Park

I wanted to say my fond farewell to one of my favorite places to visit once or twice a year, the once home of the San Francisco Giants and soon to be final game for the San Francisco 49ers... Candlestick Park. Some people might be happy to see it go and some like me will always remember the stick for many memories with loved ones and good friends. I can't recall my first experience at Candlestick but this will be a sort of trip down memory lane (of what I can remember) with my experiences at Candlestick.

The reason I believe why my mothers side of the family loved the 49ers and Giants was because my Grandma on that side was a die hard fan. It also helped that they were living in San Francisco at the time. Fast forward some years and I was a young kid with a special present, every year my grandparents would take me and my brother (3 years my elder) to one 49er game a season. This was during the mid to late 80's and what some consider the best years of 49er dynasty.

A typical weekend we went to a game would go like this: We would spend the night on Saturday with my grandparents and leave early on Sunday morning to head out to the stadium. It is funny because as a kid I remember it seemed to take forever to get into the stadium and watch the games. My grandparents had a legendary tailgating party every time we went. If I was older I would have loved it even more. It wasn't always boring though. Some people would bring TV's and have them playing in the back of their trucks and there was always tons of food and soda around for us kids.
Sometimes my cousin Adam or  Rob would come and we would bring a football and play catch for hours on end just waiting for the game to start. As a kid these were some of my fondest memories hanging out with my brother and grandparents seeing Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Charles Haley, Steve Young, Ronnie was heaven on earth. Candlestick was always a place of fun and excitement for me back in those days.

I also have many memories of baseball and seeing the San Francisco Giants playing. I was very elated in 2010 when the Giants won the world series but it made me sad they never were able to win it all when playing at Candlestick. One of my favorite memories of going to the stadium was with my dad. It was the mid 90's and the Giants weren't doing so well but they had a player named Matt Williams who was just killing it and hitting home run after home run. We went to a night game at random since my dad lived close to San Francisco. We ended up losing the game but my dad for some reason wanted to go back so we ended up seeing two games in a row and went the following night in the freezing cold. The funny thing is that Matt Williams fouled a ball of his foot and missed the rest of the season after that game.

In the last ten or so years I have gone to the stadium about once a year. The Giants moved out and into on of the best baseball stadiums in the majors. The 49ers had the stadium to themselves but there was talk every year about how the 49ers needed a new stadium. It didn't help that the 49ers were the laughing stock of the league from 2003-2008. I would go to a game and lucky enough they would usually win. I sort of felt I brought good luck with me to the stick. I have gone to games with my future wife, my roommate, and my best friend and we usually always had a good time. Sure the stadium was older and had parking system that was seemingly set up my cavemen (leaving the outer lots could take up to 2 hours, sometimes more) but I usually managed to have fun.

The last time I stepped into the walls of the stick was October 13, 2013. My brother wanted to take in one last game and I found it fitting that my last game at the stick would be with the person who I bonded with most at the games as a kid. We got food, shirts, and overall had a great time. Sure guys were barking like dogs for no reason but hey this was our stadium! I was also happy to say the last game I saw the 9ers won 32-20 over the Arizona Cardinals. I was invited back to the stadium after this game but felt that this was my final experience and wanted to leave it that way.

The new stadium will be nice and new (hopefully they figure out the parking and exit strategy) and while I look forward seeing a game there it won't hold the mystique that Candlestick Park did for me. My future child will never be able to say they went to see a game at Candlestick and it makes me sad. The new stadium will be for new fans, fans who will have experiences of Colin Kapernick, Vernon Davis, Navarro Bowman, and Patrick Willis.

I will always have Candlestick and the memories in my heart. Bye Candlestick Park, I will miss you.

I will leave you with what is I think the most important play ever to happen at Candlestick Park: