Link’n’Blogs – 11.24.17: Giving Thanks In Film


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I loved Lincoln Logs when I was a kid. Though I never entertained the idea that I would be a designer, engineer or architect, something about putting together these wooden and plastic pieces was simply simple fun. Connecting to ideas through the blogosphere seems similar to this pursuit, hence the title of this weekly post. Each Friday, I intend to post something interesting I’ve read out there on the internets. Hopefully others will find these posts as thought provoking as I have.

Thanksgiving weekend is not quite over. Looking for something to do with the family? How about taking a look at one of Cosmopolitan’s list of the best Thanksgiving movies for 2017? Click the picture below of, perhaps THE BEST Thanksgiving movie.

Planes

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Giving Thanks 2017


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All I need in my life (and more), I am given.

All I need to serve others, I have.

All I need to serve God, I have been blessed with.

All I must remember (and I must do better to remember this, every day) is this:

thankyou_edited-1

I am blessed. I am graced.

I am thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Mother's Day 2017 Edits

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The 2017 Denver Broncos Week Twelve: Denver Broncos @ Oakland Raiders


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Denver Broncos @ Oakland Raiders

Sunday, November 26, 2017

 Denver at Oakland

LAST WEEK’S RESULT

Prediction: Cincinnati 20, Denver 24

Actual: Cincinnati 20, Denver 17

BACKGROUND

Ugh.

I cannot remember when I felt so… little… about the Denver Broncos. I also cannot remember the last time the team was all but mathematically eliminated from playoff competition this early in the season.

Ugh.

The meme that has been going around this week is the bus that pulled into and blocked the Weather Channel’s shot of a building implosion in Georgia. I kind of wish that bus had been between me and my television each and every game since the Dallas game this year.

Implosion, indeed.

Image result for weather channel bus georgia

KEY MATCH UP

Look, Oakland has not been particularly good this year. Much like Denver, they have severely under-performed expectations. Their defense has been terrible and their offense not up to par. Denver’s offense has been terrible and their defense not up to par.

Interesting.

Make my key match up this week the Denver offense vs. the Raiders defense.

The problem is…

X-FACTOR

…who will play quarterback for the Broncos?

As I write this, Denver has not named a starter.

It should be Paxton Lynch, right? If he is healthy, it must be him.

If he’s healthy and it’s not him? That’s a PROBLEM.

There are some pretty negative things going around about John Elway’s ability to scout talent overall and talent at the QB position specifically. If Lynch is a bust, watch out. Better go get Kirk Cousins in the off season, Mr. Elway.

PREDICTION

Okay, I’ll take the Broncos. Again.

I believe my rationale this week is the same as it was last week: why the hell not?

If Denver cannot win a few of these last games, more changes are needed than this week’s ousting of Mike McCoy.

Many, many more…

Denver Broncos – 30

Oakland Raiders – 20

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The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: November 15 – 21, 2017


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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

Comics I Read Last Week:

 

One

The best comic I read last week was The Batman Who Laughs #1.

Writer:  James Tynion IV

Artist:  Riley Rossmo

DC Metal rocks on this week with another tie-in issue featuring a dark Batman doing dark things.

James Tynion IV has made himself into a key Batman writer over the course of the past few years and he shows a talent for the macabre in this issue, the premise of which features a Batman who is not only the fusion of Batman and the Joker, but the mastermind behind much of the invasion of the DC Universe from the so-called Dark Multiverse. Evil and scary, Tynion’s “The Batman Who Laughs” is one hell of a creation and one that will, likely, live on beyond the end of the DC Metal event.

He is just too terrible (and I mean that in the very best way possible) not to.

I am not familiar with Riley Rossmo’s art. His style is somewhere nestled between heavy cartooning and comic book draftsmanship and is more than passable. While not spectacular, Rossmo gets the job done and creates some truly ugly panels, which is what this book needs.

If I have one complaint, it is that there is (and has been in other installments of this series) an awful lot of exposition and unveiling of master plans leading to crowded panels and overlapping art and text. Additionally, the font selected for The Batman Who Laughs when he speaks is actually hard to read.

Or I am getting old.

The Batman Who Laughs is a crazy book and a perfect ramping up to the next issue of DC Metal which I eagerly await!

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Justice League: A (Spoiler Free) Movie Review


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justice-league-poster-fandango

Batman smiles!

But more on that later…

If one were to peruse my prior reviews of DC movies, one would find that I have been far more generous in my appraisal of their quality than widespread opinion has been. I have also enjoyed them more, it seems, than much of the movie-going public (though, for the negative reputations these movies have, someone is seeing them – they make a lot of dough!). It should come as no surprise, then, that I very much enjoyed Justice League. There is a Seven Samurai, bring the heroes together quality to the film that is intentional and that works very, very well. Each of the five (six?) heroes of the Justice League are spotlighted quite nicely as they determine whether or not to band together against, you know, ultimate evil.

Let us begin with that self-same ultimate evil. The glaring disappointment in the movie is Steppenwolf, the antagonist whose actions bring together the League. Like many (most?) superhero movies, Justice League has a difficult time establishing Steppenwolf as more than a powerful force bent on destroying the world. He is powerful. He might destroy the world. His motivation beyond that is murky as is the CGI that realizes him on screen. There are some breathtaking CGI scenes in Justice League – very cool, very fun visualizations. Steppenwolf, unfortunately, is not one of them. He is just another generic, superhero movie villain with very little, visually or otherwise, to distinguish him.

The members of the League itself, however? Not generic. At all.

Justice League has a tonally different feel from the prior movies of the DC universe. Where those movies, in my opinion, delved surprisingly deeply into the implications of heroes living in the “real world” and the ramifications of their presence, Justice League end-runs any significant thematic rumblings in favor of save-the-world dynamics. And the dynamics are engaging, exciting and fun.

Batman (Ben Affleck having much fun in the cowl) knows something is coming for the Earth. He learned this at the end of Batman v Superman and he is aware that his actions have left the earth vulnerable, aware that Superman’s death is, at least partially, his responsibility. He and Wonder Woman (the again terrific Gal Gadot) embark on a quest to bring together other meta-humans to face the coming crisis. These are the meta-humans Batman and Wonder Woman learned of from Lex Luthor’s jump drive in Batman v Superman and the fun kicks into high gear when the team starts to come together.

Say what you wish about Zack Snyder as a director. I believe it is difficult to fault his casting choices. Jason Momoa (Aquaman), Ezra Miller (the Flash) and Ray Fisher (Cyborg) are all terrific and bring much to the party. Miller’s Barry Allen is a particular delight and he had a challenging task to differentiate himself from Grant Gustin’s popular turn as the Flash on television. His performance more than does that. He is hilarious and endearing. Ray Fisher’s Cyborg is the surprising heart of the movie and the depths that could be mined with the character point to great potential. Jason Momoa’s Aquaman has a bit more going on than the tough-guy images shared in the previews might suggest. Individually they are good.

Together, they are great.

The fun of Justice League is found in the well drawn interplay among the leaguers. Director Zack Snyder, writer Chris Terrio and Joss Whedon, who came into the movie very late in the process (and it is very difficult to tell where Whedon picked up from where Snyder left off) know that their stars will carry the day, so much so that the plot of the movie, which is more than serviceable, is less important than the players. It is difficult to single out any combination of the Leaguers as the best combination and that is a credit to cast and director.

If the DC movies (save the almost universally well received Wonder Woman) have been bleak, humorless, gray and meandering, Justice League set out to and succeeded in rising above those critiques. The movie begins briskly and does not take its foot off the gas until the final stinger scene (at the far end of the credits… stick around, people). It is rumored that Warner Bros. mandated a running time of no more than two hours. While I would have loved to have seen a bit more (and a long run time may have addressed some of the Steppenwolf issues), I understand the choice. And it works.

Justice League is a big, fun, superhero team origin story. It is a story of redemption for Batman who lightens up in this one, who cracks jokes and smiles and, through whom, perhaps the upcoming DC movie slate is changed. Future DC movies are well positioned following Justice League.

And, hey, let’s get Justice League II on the schedule.

Now, that the team is in place, I want to see what happens next.

JUSTICE LEAGUE receives FOUR AND A HALF BAT SMILES out of a possible FIVE.

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Link’n’Blogs – 11.17.17: Justice League Facts


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I loved Lincoln Logs when I was a kid. Though I never entertained the idea that I would be a designer, engineer or architect, something about putting together these wooden and plastic pieces was simply simple fun. Connecting to ideas through the blogosphere seems similar to this pursuit, hence the title of this weekly post. Each Friday, I intend to post something interesting I’ve read out there on the internets. Hopefully others will find these posts as thought provoking as I have.

Justice League opens today and I, for one, am very excited for the movie. I have enjoyed the DC movies which, I know, places me squarely in the minority, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I behold much to like in these movies. If you want to get ready for the movie, click the photo below to read up on the League and the film with an article from comicbook.com.

You Can't Save

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The 2017 Denver Broncos Week Eleven: Cincinnati Bengals @ Denver Broncos


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Cincinnati Bengals @ Denver Broncos

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Bengals at Broncos

LAST WEEK’S RESULT

Prediction: New England 24, Denver 26

Actual: New England 41, Denver 16

BACKGROUND

Words fail me just like the Broncos’ special teams fail them.

Words fail me just like the Broncos’ defense fails them.

Words fail me just like the Broncos’ coaching fails them.

Words fail me just like the Broncos’ offense fails them.

I think that is the order of failure as I saw it during last Sunday night’s latest debacle. It is hard for me to remember, in my over 40 years as a Bronco fan, a season quite like this one. I know that winning has spoiled me. I understand that.

I am just hoping, at this point, for the Broncos to be competitive in a game. Over the course of the last five, they have been in the lead for a total of four minutes of game time.

Four. Minutes.

So, yes, I cannot remember a year quite like this one. And I hope to put it behind me very quickly after the next seven weeks wrap up.

Get healthy Paxton Lynch. We would like to know what Denver has in you.

KEY MATCH UP

One of the most veteran coaches in the league in Marvin Lewis goes up against one of the first year coaches in the league in Vance Joseph.

Who has the upper hand? Whose seat is hotter?

Neither has done a particularly good job and both teams seem to be spinning out of their respective coaches’ control. One (or both) of these guys is likely to be out of a job this off season.

From what I have seen this year, I, frankly, think it ought to be both.

X-FACTOR

Both teams are desperate to win. Both teams’ seasons have unraveled. Both will try to bring their best effort, however…

These are two of the most mistake prone teams in the AFC (if not in the entire NFL) go at it Sunday. Whichever can commit the least amount of bone-headed, egregious, stupid, lack-of-concentration mental errors and turnovers will, likely, win this game.

PREDICTION

Denver’s season is over. The playoffs are far out of reach. What remains now is playing for pride and for position on teams – this one or another. Within that very unfamiliar territory, can the Broncos find a way this week against a team that looks an awful lot like them?

Let’s go with “yes.”

Why the hell not?

Cincinnati Bengals – 20

Denver Broncos – 24

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