Monday, September 29, 2014

"One eye was on my work, the other on my master"

12 Years A Slave by Solomon Northup
Last night I finished reading Twelve Years A Slave (1853), the memoir of Solomon Northup, which was turned into a movie by Steve McQueen accoladed for its cast, screenplay, design, score and cinematography. I must admit that I haven't had a chance to see it yet, but I assure you that I'm making work of it. Solomon's slave story is as brutal as they come, and I'm very curious to find out how McQueen brought it to life and depicted the inhumanity of slavery.

Saturday, September 27, 2014


Jennifer Lawrence nude pictures - The Fappening
4chan must go
The Fappening is still happening, and it's disgusting how little is being done about it. Last week, a second wave of nude photos ("The Fappening 2: The Second Cumming") was released by 4chan hackers, victimizing Jennifer Lawrence (again), Kim Kardashian, Meagan Good, music video model Emily Ratajkowski and Gabrielle Union, among others.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Skateboard P is still rolling

Pharrell Williams - Sportpaleis
Happy feet
Pharrell is a hit-maker. 

Granted, he has used his groovy skills mostly to craft hit records for others, as demonstrated by a long and glorious producing resume that includes Drop It Like It's Hot, I'm A Slave 4 U, Hot In Herre, and most recently Blurred Lines and Get Lucky.

Saturday, September 20, 2014


Boyhood by Richard Linklater
"It's always right now"
Two days ago I went to see Boyhood with my lovely lady Sarah and hip hop'd out sister colleagues Anke and Liselotte. There simply was no getting around the IFC Films product, which won Best Film at the Seattle International Film Festival in June. Bald Bryan's praise on The Adam Carolla Show, the movie's 99% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and, of course, all the talk about director Richard Linklater's stunt concept had really warmed me up to it. A movie that was shot over 11 years? Following one boy's life? This I have to see.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

2014 Offseason winners: Washington Wizards

Paul Pierce - Washington Wizards
The Truth arrives in DC
2013-2014: 44-38

After winning just 72 games in his first three seasons with the Washington Wizards, 2010 No. 1 overall pick John Wall exploded in his fourth go-round, starting all 82 games and posting career-highs of 19.3 PPG, 8.8 APG and 1.8. SPG. For the first time since 2007-2008, when DeShawn Stevenson went head-to-head with LeBron James, the Wizards reached the playoffs, even defeating the fourth-seeded Chicago Bulls in the First Round. Sure, they couldn't resist the Indiana Pacers, losing 2-4 in the Conference Semifinals, but for the first time in a long while, the Wiz were relevant again.

Monday, September 15, 2014

"If it's not going to put a dent in the world, quit"

Failure's an option
I recently read The Dip (2007) by marketing guru Seth Godin. I'm a daily reader of his wonderful blog and I had also checked out Purple Cow and Small is the New Big - all three of which are fantastic reads - so when I found this book about "when to quit and when to stick" in the Queromedia library, I knew I had to bring it home with me.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

If I Stay

If I Stay by R.J. Cutler
"You're my home now"
Last night I watched If I Stay, the movie adaptation of Gayle Forman's bestselling YA novel from 2009. The book has been on my to-read list since forever, but I have yet to get to it. The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer production wasn't really on my radar, except for the constant social media push provided by insanely talented Kick-Ass and Carrie actress Chloë Grace Moretz, who totally reminds me of my goofy Swiss cousin Elisa. Or nah? Anyway, I'm a huge Moretz fan and I was very curious how she would fare in a drama film.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

2014 Offseason winners: Denver Nuggets

Denver Nuggets 2014 offseason
Back to the Rockies
2013-2014 record: 36-46

The Denver Nuggets had a tough campaign in 2013-2014. The front office was shaken up, Brian Shaw came over from the Pacers to replace George Karl, and do-it-all forward Andre Iguodala (acquired from the 76ers in the Dwight Howard trade) was shipped to the Warriors. Add already-recovering Italian stud Danilo Gallinari and season-ending injuries to Javale McGee, sparkplug Nate Robinson and J.J. Hickson to the equation, and you can see why the Nugs weren't necessarily clicking on all cylinders. With a healthy core and the addition of Arron Afflalo (shipped to the Magic in the Dwight Howard trade), Shaw's Denverians should be much better in Year 2.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

2014 Offseason winners: Milwaukee Bucks

2014-2015 Milwaukee Bucks
The Young Bucks
2013-2014 record: 15-67

The Bucks got a bit carried away with last year's Riggin' For Wiggins tank fest, beating the tank-happy 76ers at their own game, and collecting a franchise-low 15 wins in 2013-2014 to improve their odds in last June's NBA Draft. Unlike Philadelphia, GM John Hammond doesn't intend to stay in the lottery forever. He added No. 2 pick Jabari Parker and some solid pieces to his young core, brought in a new coach to guide the youngsters, and is generally steering the franchise in a new direction.

Monday, September 8, 2014

2014 Offseason winners: Detroit Pistons

Detroit Pistons 2014 offseason moves
The center of attention
2013-2014 record: 29-53

The Detroit Pistons were a bit of a mess last season. Their towering trio of bigs - Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe and Josh Smith - didn't really gel on the court, coach Maurice Cheeks apparently didn't get along with Smith and Will Bynum, and the team generally lacked a system. The arrival of former Heat and Magic coach Stan Van Gundy will solve at least some of their problems, and while they won't be contenders, they should at least be able to churn out a few more wins in 2014-2015.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

"We need to be cautious and smart and ruthless"

The Killer Order (James Dashner) review
The before!
On my recent trip to Turkey, I finally finished the Maze Runner trilogy by beststelling author James Dashner. My Maze-crazed sister Margot had also brought The Kill Order (2012), a prequel to the series, so I decided to check that one out, too. I'm always a bit skeptical about prequels - oftentimes they're just obvious attempts at milking the success of something - but Margot (and Marlon, and Sarah) assured me my reservations were unwarranted. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

2014 Offseason winners: Chicago Bulls

Pau Gasol to Chicago Bulls
Pau chicka wow wow
2013-2014 record: 48-34

I don't know how they do it. Even without superstar point guard Derrick Rose (who tore his meniscus just 10 games after returning from an 18 month ACL recovery) and Bulls lifer Luol Deng (traded for Andrew Bynum and three future draft picks at the February deadline), they still managed to grab the No. 4 seed. Sure, Thibodeau's pesky troops got over-run by the Washington Wizards in the first round, but it's not hard to see why: their hard-ridden core guys and rag tag crew of in-season additions simply ran out of gas against the excited kids from the capital.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

2014 Offseason winners: Dallas Mavericks

Chandler Parsons to the Dallas Mavericks
Chandler Bang in the Big D
2013-2014 record: 49-33

Just 3 short years ago, the Dallas Mavericks won the NBA title. Last year, they barely made the playoffs, taking the Champion San Antonio Spurs to 7 games before ultimately falling short. With Shawn Marion gone to the Cavaliers, Mark Cuban decided to surround re-signed championship holdover and Mavs franchise hero Dirk Nowitzki (3 years, $25 million) with a healthy mix of veterans and youngsters, drastically improving their odds in the Western Conference.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Bad Neighbours

Bad Neighbours by Nicholas Stoller
On Sunday night I watched Bad Neighbours. It was raining outside, I enjoy the works of Seth Rogen and Zac Efron, and I craved some laughs. I was pretty confident that this Universal Studios comedy would do just the trick. Especially with director Nicholas Stoller at the helm. You might remember him from such films as Get Him To The Greek (2010) and Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008).

Monday, September 1, 2014

I feel I must address this nude pic issue

the fappening 2014
The day the interweb exploded
Public figures still have a right to privacy.

2014 Offseason winners: Cleveland Cavaliers

It's that time of the year again. Fresh talent has entered the league via the Draft. Free agents have found new landing spots. Other players were traded. Some teams got better, others got worse to get better in the long run. The NBA landscape has changed a lot in 12 months. Just like I did last year and the year before, I will select seven teams that I believe will take steps forward from last season, be it marginal or not. Sometimes my selections are slam dunks, other times not so much.

My 2014 Offseason Winners are: