And There Came An Age Of Ultron Plot Leak?

Don Cheadle, of Iron Patriot fame from the Iron Man movies (and the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron) was on the Arsenio Hall show last night and was about to reveal a big Marvel secret…

But things didn’t quite go that way.  You can see the result HERE.

Be careful, Don.

iron-man-3-new-iron-patriot-poster

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True Detective… Time Is A Flat Circle

Hey, True Detective fans!

Check out the greatest tumblr ever!

Click HERE.

 

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Who Shot First… Harrison Ford Speaks.

If the title of this post grabbed you,  I don’t need to explain anything.

han-solo-greedo-570x290

For Harrison Ford’s take on the classic Star Wars conundrum, look no further than HERE for Spinoff Online’s article on the subject including a recent Ford quote.

You tell us, Harrison!

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Teaching Topic and Tip of the Week: 4.14.14 – 4.20.14

Today’s Teaching Topic:

Am I the Entertainer?

The quote for the week is from John Henrik Clarke.

“A good teacher, like a good entertainer first must hold the audience’s attention, only then can a lesson be taught.”

microphone

photo from wikipedia.org.

Today’s Teaching Tip:

Know Where You Stand.

Teachers are not entertainers. That’s a fact. They are not hired to sing and dance and tell jokes. However, much like Billy Joel might suggest, they do know just where they stand.

They stand in front of a class. All. Day. Long.

So, there is real issue of engagement. Teachers are challenged to keep their students engaged. With many different techniques and activities, through lecture and film and cooperative learning, sometimes with a whip and a chair, teachers have the responsibility of keeping their students’ attention.

To expect that the material itself, presented without bell or whistle, will keep students at rapt attention is to set oneself up for failure.

Great teachers leave as little as possible to chance.

Great teachers engage through appropriate means.

Great teachers know that’s part of the job.

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Supermen of Draft Day

There was a super-meta undertone to the recent movie Draft Day that took me a little out of the proceedings…

Tom Welling is in the movie as the Cleveland Browns quarterback Brian Drew.

Kevin Coster stars as Sonny Weaver, jr, Cleveland Browns general Manager.

Frank Langella plays Cleveland Browns owner Anthony Molina.

Ok, fine. However, these actors have had roles in the Superman mythos as well and it was hard not to think about that watching them interact on-screen:

Tom Welling was Clark Kent in the long running television series Smallville.

welling

Kevin Costner was Jonathan Kent in last summer’s smash hit Man of Steel.

costner

Frank Langella was Perry White in the poorly received Superman reboot Superman Returns.

langella

Super-Meta, indeed!

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Draft Day – A Movie Review

draft dayLet’s get this out-of-the-way right at the top: I love football. I love Kevin Costner. I love sports movies. Draft Day was going to have to work pretty hard to turn me off. And, while the movie doesn’t appear to be working particularly hard at anything, it certainly didn’t work to turn me off.

This is going to sound like I didn’t like the movie and that’s not true. I did. I liked it very much. But, the reality is that there is nothing particularly revelatory about Draft Day. No one is doing the best work of her or his career here. That’s okay. It’s fine for a movie to be good and to live exactly up to audience expectations.

In Draft Day, I was hoping for a Kevin Costner sports movie. I got one. I want a Costner sports movie to make me root for the underdog. Check. I want a Costner sports movie to give the actor a scene or two in which he could be, if not heroic, at least commanding. Check. I want a Costner sports movie to supply some good sports action. Check. I want a Costner sports movie to feature a romantic subplot. Check.

It’s all here. It all works. It just doesn’t work overtime, and that keeps Draft Day in the “good, not great” range.

Draft Day creates a compelling time-lock in that all of its action takes place in one day – the day of the NFL draft. There are running countdowns throughout the movie that create a sense of urgency that feels real. As teams around the league prepare for the NFL Draft, the audience is afforded a briefly glimpse into what the pressures of committing to 20-year-old athletes must feel like. The movie, especially in its opening act, excels at creating moments and then paying them off. It does a great job at planting seeds early that come back later in the narrative. I very much liked structure of the film. As the end of the movie approached, I was caught up in the Draft Day dealings and, while the football-part of my mind said, “ah, that probably wouldn’t happen in the real world,” the movie going part of my mind simply didn’t care.

Kevin Costner hits all the right notes as Sonny Weaver, jr, the General Manager of the Cleveland Browns. Weaver, jr, is a comfortable Costner creation, witty but reserved, smart but not overwhelmingly so, dealing with all kinds of father/son issues – in short, the role is a perfect fit for Costner and he does not disappoint. Costner has an effortless appeal that serves the movie well and, when he Sonny seems to have lost his magic, we feel for him because we like the character Costner has created. That’s important, of course, because how the audience feels about Costner will likely determine how they feel about the movie. This one is star-driven to be sure.

Sharing top billing with Costner is Jennifer Garner as the Browns salary cap-ologist, Ali (oddly, her last name isn’t revealed - even in the credits) whose relationship with Sonny is an important part of the film. As always, Garner is very likable in her role and I had no trouble believing her as a passionate football fan with knowledge of the game that rivaled her counterparts in the Browns’ front office. She and Costner share a nice chemistry in the movie and that’s important, because theirs is the most fully drawn relationship in the film.

The supporting cast is excellent, too, from Denis Leary’s Coach Peck, to Ellyn Burnstyn as Sonny’s mother, to Tom Welling (let’s get this guy a better role, soon!) as the Browns incumbent quarterback. Frank Langella is given little to do other than twirl his mustache for most of the movie as he plays the team owner, but he, too, receives a nice moment at the conclusion of the movie. Terry Crews, Chadwick Boseman, Chi McBride, Rosanna Arquette, Sean Combs, Kevin Dunn and others populate the rest of the cast. They are known faces, great actors, and they give weight to the proceedings. Chadwick Boseman, known for his role as Jackie Robinson in 42 and ready to break out in this summer’s Get on Up as James Brown, makes the greatest impact.

The movie looks authentic because of the cooperation of the National Football League. There are NFL personalities cameo-ing in the movie in scene-after-scene, the logos of the teams are on display everywhere and, each time a location shifts to a team’s headquarters, its stadium is shown with a title card naming the specific franchise lettered in the team’s font. That’s great attention to detail.

There are nice plot twists, solid performances and a satisfying conclusion on hand in Draft Day. If it doesn’t re-write the rules of sports movies, it certainly knows how to follow them well.

Draft Day receives three and a half first round picks out of a possible five.

 

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My Best Friend’s Birthday

James

Today is The Magister’sbirthday. He photographs much nicer than this picture, but I am going to say nice things about him and I don’t want them to go to his head.

I won’t mention his age, except to point out that he is older than I, but I will say that I am very lucky that he is in my life.

Rather than try to explain what he means to me, I’ll share a quote from one of our shared favorite television shows that sums up my feelings about him as well as I ever could. It’s a quote from The West Wing.

To be clear, The Magisteris much smarter than me.

He’s also the best friend I’ve ever had. Happy birthday, amigo.

[with the cabinet member selected to stay behind during a State of the Union address]

President Josiah Bartlet: Oh, Roger. If anything happened, you know what to do, right?

Secretary of Agriculture Roger Tribbey: I honestly hadn’t thought about it, sir.

Bartlet: First thing always is national security. Get your commanders together. Appoint Joint Chiefs, appoint a chairman. Take us to defcon 4. Have the governors send emergency delegates to Washington. The assistant Attorney General is going to be the Acting A.G. If he tells you he wants to bring out the National Guard, do what he tells you. You got a best friend?

Tribbey: Yes, sir.

Bartlet: Is he smarter than you?

Tribbey: Yes, sir.

Bartlet: Would you trust him with your life?

Tribbey: Yes, sir.

Bartlet: That’s your chief of staff.

barlet and leo

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