Thursday, June 28, 2007
Today is June 28th, the day of the NBA Draft. In the Pacific Northwest, basketball fans are giddy because tonight they will receive a gift from the basketball gods. In Atlanta folk already got money earmarked for the brand new jerseys featuring the name of the new draft pick they’ll pick up tonight. In Memphis, they’re just gonna sit back and take whatever player falls into their laps at #4...but there is no joy in Boston, Mighty Casey has struck out (with a white girl).
Not only have we (the few, the proud) Boston Celtics fans have been in agony ever since the Draft Lottery (and we had just gotten over not getting Allen Iverson in a draft day trade last year!), but now hearing all over Fox Sports and ESPN that most of the proposed trades that would land us a superstar were shot down because Jermaine O’ Neal, Shawn Marion and Kevin Garnett didn’t want to play in Boston was a devastating blow. Whether it’s because of the same old reasons that people tend to think that Boston’s a racist town (not that shit again!) or just because of their recent past track record with players and their treatment (Antoine Walker’s entire career, fans asking for Paul Pierce’s head after the 2005 season ended, Ricky Davis being traded after not even 2 full seasons, etc.) or even their current state of disarray and ineptitude it all boils down to the same thing: the Celtics are not going to be significantly better after tonight is over unless a miracle happens.
If the Celtics can’t land another superstar to help Paul Pierce, the word around the campfire is that he wants to break North (or West). I honestly don’t blame him, if I were him I’d have little to no faith in Danny Ainge’s ability to provide some real help. The last time the Celtics were even competitive was the 2005 season when they won the Atlantic Division title...and that was because they had Paul Pierce, Antoine Walker and Ricky Davis as the big three (and Raef LaFrentz playing center...pure genius). Right after that season they let Toine bounce and traded Ricky Davis the next season...they’ve been mired in mediocrity ever since.
If you go back five years to the Summer of 2002 and track what’s happens to the Celtics since they appeared in the Eastern Conference Finals and how the management has hamstrung this team and every turn, you wouldn’t want to come here and play, either. Listening to WEEI Sports Radio sometimes makes me want to take public transportation over to the station so I can personally fly some heads most of the time. The print media can be just as if not more critical, and don’t get me started on the fans themselves! With all that being said, Boston/New England sports fans are some of the most die hard, supportive, and knowledgeable sports fans in the country...they know when you’re not making the effort and they don’t stand for management failing to produce a winning team here.
Tonight, the Boston Celtics who can’t seem to acquire marquee help through a pre draft trade and can’t get anyone to take the 5th pick from them for any assets they want (as least at the time I’m writing/posting this) look like they be forced to make a pick. The leading 2007 NBA Draft candidates to be picked by the Boston Celtics at #5 are:
Yi Jianlian 7’0 245 PF/SF China
Corey Brewer 6’8 190 PG/SG/SF Florida
Jeff Green 6’9 230 SF Georgetown
Joakim Noah 6’11 230 SF/PF Florida
I’m not extremely excited about any of these cats (even though they're all excellent players) due to the fact that I’ve already spent the past three seasons watching draft picks “develop” and I’m not really looking forward to doing it again. Joakim Noah has moved up the Celtics draft board in recent weeks and the Celtics are also looking to trade down and take Al Thorton of Florida State.
Yi Jianlian seems to be the leading draft candidate and he is a complete unknown. I saw Al Jefferson play in high school and ABCD Camp and I saw Kedrick Perkins play in the same camps and summer leagues against top competion. I’ve only seen Yi face real comp twice, and they were kids (?), too. On top of that, how old is Yi really? I’ve been hearing about him since 2003, which would have made him anywhere between 15 and 19. Danny Ainge has been to see him play in China several times and raves about his talent (keep in mind this is the same man who traded for Raef LaFrentz, Dan Dickau and Theo Ratliff, signed Brian Scalabrine as a free agent and wanted to draft Robert Swift)...that doesn’t put my mind at ease AT ALL.
The NBA Draft is already a big ass crap shoot and in recent years while we’ve been lucky to draft a bunch of attractive assets and trade bait that contribute to our team we are far from getting anther frachise player that can help this team become relevant again. After tonights draft we have to wait again to be in a situation where we can land that potential franchise superstar. Who knows? Yi Jianlian might become that player (though I highly doubt it). We’ll all see how it all pans out tonight and all Summer long.
Friday, June 22, 2007
There are few things that I dread more than the coming of the summer blockbusters. Don’t get me wrong, I realize that without these huge event films that generate massive buzz and excitement that actually compel people to get off of their couches and put their asses in those seats there would be no film industry at all. I just wish that these same films were of a higher quality content wise as well as visually so they would have a better balance to their overall entertainment value.
I often get e-mails from readers wondering why I actually don’t write more about Hip Hop...well, the reason is because most of the blogs I read regularly usually talk about all of the indie/underground Hip Hop albums that I would be writing about. Why should I go on and on about Buff 1, Phat Kat, Black Milk, Evidence, Blue Scholars, J. Medeiros, Marco, Talib Kweli, Big City, Pharoah Monche, and Consequence when everyone already is? What can I say about the upcoming Kanye West and Common LP’s that everyone else already hasn’t? I’ve been on AllHipHop.com (it’s back!) and Okayplayer.com and seen what they all said....when the world zigs, I zag (this is also why I inherently dread movies that most people tend to gravitate to like mindless drones).
That being said, I just see this upcoming Transformers CGI/live action mashup as nothing more than Independence Day/Armageddon 2007...and we know how good those flicks were! I just see a bunch of CGI, explosions and stunts...and that’s it. I expect there to be zero depth, and so do the people going to the theater. That’s the reason they’re called “popcorn movies”, you remember thae action sequences and maybe one or two lines, but if you saw it again you’d catch a bunch of stuff you missed the first time because you were just along for the ride and not focusing on the film and hanging on every single line of dialogue. Just watch and forget it (well, most of it anyways) then when it comes out for rental , watch it again.
There will be several big films coming out (and currently playing) this summer, such as Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer, Transformers: The Movie, Live Free Or Die Hard, 1408, Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix, The Simpsons Movie, The Bourne Ultimatum, and Rush Hour 3. These are the movies that the studios have been waiting to release because these are their prestige pieces that will allow them to make the money necessary to stay afloat and in turn make more films of all kinds. This is why they’re necessary. I’m looking forward to the release of quite a few smaller films this Summer that I’ve been hearing about at all of the 2007 film festivals, moreso because shortly after their theater runs are over they’ll be available for rent or purchase (as will a lot of these studio films that are gonna catch a cinderblock).
I hope that the film industry has a great summer in 2007, I also hope that all of the indie films that are cutting edge and ground breaking get deals and distribution soon as well. Independent films are to the film industry are sort of like what independent Hip Hop is to the Rap industry...although, the percentage of good studio films versus good major label Rap albums is MUCH higher.
Quick note to the American distributors of Cory Yuen’s flick “D.O.A.: Dead Or Alive”, if the film is available for sale on DVD a full three weeks before it’s supposed to be released in theaters...chances are it’s gonna TANK at the box office. Big surprise...dickheads. Now onto the movie stuff!
Dart’s Top Ten Trailers Of The Rest Of June (6/16/07-6/30/07):
30 Days Of Night
You Kill Me
Protege (Moon to)
I Know Who Killed Me
Dynamite Warrior (Khon Fai Bin)
Dart’s Top Ten Late Film Trailers Of The Rest Of June (6/16/07-6/30/07):
No Country For Old Men (USA)
The City Of Violence (KOR)
Sukiyaki Western Django (JPN)
Flash Point (HK)
The Humanist (KOR)
The Vanguard (UK)
Black Sheep (NZ)
Dart’s Director Spotlight recipient for June: Seung-wan Ryoo
Unfortunately, the director of spectacular films like The City Of Violence's movies aren’t yet available for rent in the US..Don’t wanna wait months for them to get an American distributor (like Dragon Dynasty)? They got ‘em for cheap:
Dart's June Independent Movie Of The Month:
Finishing The Game Directed by Justin Lin
This film from the director of Better Luck Tomorrow and The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift is a comedy examining how the studios went about looking for a replacement for Bruce Lee following his sudden death. Check out a clip below and watch for it coming to a theater near you soon.
Add this film’s myspace profile here:
Here are some of my rental recommendations (and early adds) from Netflix:
Home Of The Brave
Reign Over Me
The Last Sin Eater
Black Snake Moan
Behind The Mask: The Rise Of Leslie Vernon
Reign Over Me
The Last Mimzy
Heroes: Season 1 (series)
Phantom Of The Paradise (Brian DePalma classic!)
The Falcon & The Snowman (classic)
Easy Rider (classic)
Sword Of Doom
Requiem For A Dream
The United States Of Leland
Igby Goes Down
Melvin Goes To Dinner
Youth Of The Beast (Seijun Suzuki)
Greg The Bunny (series)
Dinner For Five (series)
Captain Herlock (anime series)
Star Blazers (anime series)
Lost In La Mancha
Dirty Pretty Things
The Thin Red Line
Brotherhood Of The Wolf
Enemy At The Gates
Mystery Science Theatre 3000 (series)
The US vs. John Lennon
Beowulf & Grendel
The Last Kiss
Raising Victor Vargas
What the future holds for comic book/video game films:
30 Days Of Night
The Incredible Hulk
The Mighty Thor
Sin City 2
Gears Of War
God Of War
Harsh Times-This movie was delayed due to the fact that the lead character (who isn’t a saint) applied for a job to the Department Of Homeland Security and got hired...Huh? This movie is a continuation of the world that writer Dayid Ayer created in Training Day (he also directs). This is a multi layered character study and the trailer misleads you into thinking it’s just “Training Day 1.5”...not even close. Peep it for yourself.
Alpha Dog-I slept on this flick for a minute..It had Justin Timberlake and Fernando Vargas in it for God's sake! But it was made by a good screenwriter and director (Nick Cassavetes) and had a bunch of other indie stars in it (Dominique Swain, Emile Hirsch, Shawn Hatosy & Ben Foster) and appearances from veteran actors Bruce Willis, Sharon Stone and Alex Kingston so I decided to give it a chance after all. This movie pretty much laid it out and explained why some of our rigid laws that have been created to punish offenders also end up getting some people killed in the process. We also need to begin paying close attention to our children...Damn.
10 Items Or Less- This small dialogue driven indie film features no explosions, no blood and no nudity and it was well under 90 minutes. Well written and well acted...you can’t go wrong with Morgan Freeman. This is the story of a famous actor who leaves the game alone for four years and is thinking about coming back to do an indie film. While researching for his role, he befriends a girl who works at a supermarket in the 10 Items Or Less line. Check it out.
Cocaine Cowboys-If you haven’t seen this stunning documentary about the Medellin drug cartel and the men that smuggled their product in yet then honestly I don’t know what to tell you. Rent it now.
Dead Man’s Shoes-This movie proved that you don’t have to have a big budget to convey despair and fear and have it come across to the viewer. Paddy Considine and his friends create a simple story of revenge with a twist that made me think about buying another bullshit camera and writing a script.
Pusher 3: I Am The Angel Of Death-T he final film of Nicholas Winding Refn's Pusher trilogy is quite a way to close the franchise out. Drug dealing is not the glitzy job it's usually portrayed as being...it's largely a bunch of drama and deals gone wrong. The only character with a big part in all three films, Milos, is featured. It's the day of his daughter's 25th birthday party/graduation/engagement party as well of the day he receives a shipment of the wrong drugs from his supplier...he's in a time crunch. How can he deal with both business and family issues on the same stressful day? You'll see (See Pusher and Pusher 2 first, though.)
Dart’s WTF/Watch This Bullshit At Your Own Risk Award:
Transformers: The Movie- I have lower expectations for this film then an unconscious Verne Troyer. My 18 year old brother jokes it’s because Optimus Prime has a mouth, but the truth is that I have VERY LITTLE trust in Hollywood summer blockbusters (as you read about above).
The Good Shepherd- I want that 3 hours of my life back now...I’d rather just have read the script, thank you very much. This bored ME...that’s saying a lot (I watch Apocalypse Now Redux for FUN). It was like the Brown Bunny (original version) but without the blow job at the end. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
Thursday, June 21, 2007
We all remember turning on the TV early in the morning to that UHF channel that played the morning cartoons either before we went to school or in the morning on the weekends and waiting for that famous show to start up, Hanna Barbera’s World Of Super Adventure. The show was basically a compilation show/mash up of several series’ that Hanna Barbera produced in the late 60’s, some more loved by viewers than others. The show, for some odd reason was shown in a variety of different formats throughout the 80’s. It was broken down into days of the week where certain segments would come on like Force Five did, or it would run through a whole series’ segments and then switch to the next show like Robotech did, or it would just show random shows but never the same show two days in a row...this one was the most confusing. You’d turn on the show and wait to see which show’s coming on and see this leader card on the screen:
“Noooooo!” “Shit! Turn it to Speed Racer instead!” The next day would go much better, though: "Word! The Herculoids!"
World Of Super Adventure was comprised of the following shows: Birdman and the Galaxy Trio, Space Ghost and Dino Boy, Fantastic Four, Moby Dick and the Mighty Mightor, The Herculoids, Shazzan and Frankenstein, Jr. and The Impossibles. All of these were formatted together in thisone supershow and it premiered in syndication in the Fall of 1980. Some shows received considerably more love than others, leading to segments from the Birdman/Galaxy Trio show, The Herculoids, Space Ghost, Fantastic Four, and Shazzan to become runaway favorites. The show became so popular and drew such high ratings that new shows soon went into production for The Herculoids, Space Ghost (minus Dino Boy), and the Fantastic Four.
At school we used to pretend to be these characters at recess, it was a switch up from playing “Space” (which got old real quick because EVERYBODY wanted to be Boomer and Commander Tigh from Battlestar Galactica (in the old Galactica they were both brothers with big ass afros, now they're a hot Asian female Cylon (?) and a drunk bald White Cylon (??) respectively)...no one wanted to be Lando Calrissian because he was a snitch who got Han Solo froze in carbonite plus stole his Millennium Falcon). The girls could be Invisible Woman, Gravity Girl, or Tarra and the boys would pretend to fly around and shoot beams from their fists or fake like they’re shooting energy rocks from slingshots while siccing invisible Herculoids at folks...It was truly a sight to behold.
Birdman was accompanied by segments from the Galaxy Trio, whose ranks included team leader Vapor Man who had the power to turn to gas, Meteor Man who could grow himself or his limbs individually to gain super strength and Gravity Girl had the power of telekinesis and she could degravitize anything she wanted. They all worked for the Galaxy Patrol and they used to patrol space in their ship, Condor One.
Space Ghost lived on the Ghost Planet patrolling space with his teenage sidekicks Jan and Jace with their pet monkey blip. We all remember Space Ghost turning invisible and shooting shit up by touching buttons on the power bands on his forearms for different beams (I swear there were only six buttons but he had a beam for every situation...he was worse than Batman and his bullshit Utility Belt). The Dino Boy segments were suspect...especially at the beginning when they're riding around on that dinosaur (below)...no comment.
The Herculoids (who inspired Kool Herc’s group name the Herculords) were a kind of extra gully space gang/family that lived on a distant planet that they had become the sworn defenders of. For whatever reason, shit used always jump off there and they’d finish it. They consisted of a human family, the father Zandor, the mother Tarra and the son Dorno. They all had slingshots and they used these energy rocks for ammo. I didn’t understand why the son called his parents by their names in the original series, as a kid I thought they were Jehovah Witnesses because I heard The Jacksons called their father by his first name..I soon found out that wasn’t the case with most Jehovah Witnesses when I asked some that showed up at my door as a kid “Why do y’all call your parents by their real names?”. I then understood that the Jacksons were just plain weird. In 1981, they were given a new series and Dorno called them "Mom" and "Dad"...I guess other kids were scratching their heads on that one as well.
The three humans used to roll with (and ride around on) alien creatures named Tundro, a big ass rhino like creature with a horn/cannon that shot out the same energy rocks that the family used as slingshot ammo, Zok an huge space dragon that Zandor used to ride that could fly, breathe fire and shoot beams from his eyes and tail simultaneously. Igoo, a huge gorilla made of stone that would run up on fools and beat their asses with his bare hands and two schmoo like creatures called Gloop and Gleep that pretty much rolled with Dorno. That had so much firepower that their episodes were usually under 10 minutes.
Shazzan was the story of two siblings named Chuck and Nancy who found two rings that when joined together called a powerful genie named Shazzan. They were given a flying camel named Kaboobie, a magic rope and a cloak of invisibility by Shazzan and they searched the world for the rings rightful owners. Every so often, beef would jump off and Chuck and Nancy who touch halves of their rings and Shazzan would appear out of nowhere and regulate. Shazzan would do some elaborate stuff when he could just put ‘em away real quick, too. Made for some interesting viewing.
Moby Dick sucked but the best thing about it was the Mighty Mightor segments from that show. Mightor was a masked superhero caveman (?) with a sidekick dinosaur and a magic club. Frankenstein Jr. and The Impossibles just meant that we turn the channel and catch either Speed Racer or Thundercats before Space Harlock and The Queen Of A Thousand Years came on (that deserves a whole other post of it’s own).
Of course, we can't leave out the old school Fantastic Four series! This show is to thank for the classic underground Hip Hop album "Operation: Doomsday" by MF Doom. All of those sampled show segments, sound effects, theme music and score appear in numerous Doom beats (if you own any of his Special Herbs beat CD's you know exactly what I mean). People have already began raiding the old Spider Man & His Amazing Friends episodes for similar sounds, but Doom beat them all to that, too.
The popularity of these shows and the effect of them on our generation led to the heads at Williams Street going back and ressurecting some of these characters and their enemies to incorporate them in shows like Space Ghost Coast To Coast, The Brak Show, and Harvey Birdman, Attorney At Law. On July 17th, DVD’s featuring the complete series’ of Space Ghost and Birdman are both being released by Hanna Barbera. To obtain episodes of any of these other shows (or any other old school shows for that matter), try here or here
Those looking for old screen captures of these shows individual episodes hit up this spot