Saturday, July 07, 2007

Are you User: LadiesMan217?

The new Transformers movie, I am happy to report, is good. After this first viewing, I will even have it range over to 'great' status.

I am not a Michael Bay fan, I hated 'Armageddon' and 'Pearl Harbor.' Beyond my personal distaste for his work, Bay has a known reputation for being all about the 'bells and whistles' of special effects and explosions while ignoring things like story, and characters. In fact, when it was announced that Bay would be directing the new Transformers film, most Transformers fans, including myself, cried foul. In most fans' eyes it became a forgone conclusion that this movie would be a stinkfest, and the good Transformers name would be buried by a big budget, July 4th crapload. It turns out, I was worried for nothing.

In Transformers, Bay certainly showcases his flair for the dramatic, effects driven action sequences, but couples that with a solid telling of the Transformers rebirth into the world of pop culture.

As I read that back, I don't like the tone of this review so far. It's not accurate. By 'solid telling' I mean to say it was a blast to watch this movie.

The movie opens with the voice of Optimus Prime narrating the story of the Autobot and Decepticon struggle on Cybertron, and an explanation of what the All-Spark is while the camera flies through space, towards Earth. From there, it gets right into the action where a US Army base in Qatar is completely destroyed by a Decepticon. This action sequence let's you know that Bay and his team wanted to go 'balls to the wall' and they achieve it. The whole theater was instantly into this movie, you could feel the energy after that scene. When the shockwaves started getting layed down, I couldn't help but get sucked right into that. People were excited by what they were seeing.

A quick point, this is what I try to stress with friends who say things like 'I don't want to see it(any movie) on opening night, it will be too crowded' or 'I'll wait for it on DVD.' For some movies, yes, do that. 'Knocked Up' for instance is hillarious, but really, the 'big screen' aspect of it won't make or break that feeling for you. But for a movie like Transformers, get your ass in a theater seat and hope that you see it in a big crowd. For me, it's like a smaller scale version of seeing a concert or going to a wrestling show. I love getting wrapped up in the energy of a crowd, and watching Transformers was no different. Everybody cheered at the end of this one, that makes two straight movies for me, which pretty much seals the deal that this season of summer blockbusters did the trick for me.

Back to the movie, I won't give you an entire breakdown like I did for 'ROTS', but I'll speak briefly about a few things.

1. The first hour, some have complained about. I do understand that the wait for the rest of the action and characters to hit could've been cut down a little, but I enjoyed the development of Sam's character with Bumblebee and the girl. It helps explain exactly why Sam is so important to the grand scheme of things, and gets you attached to the characters. Without that slow build, I don't think Bumblebee getting captured and injured would mean as much.

2. It's awesome to see and hear Optimus Prime in this movie. He breaks out a sword and goes to town.

3. Megatron is only in it a short time, but manages to get some of the best, most fan pleasing lines in of any character. "No, it's just me, Prime." -- "You fail me yet again, Starscream."

4. The battles between the Autobots and Decepticons are awesome, plain and simple. When Starscream is going after the fighter jets, you will agree.

5. "One shall stand, one shall fall." Prime says it to Megatron, again.

I don't want to say too much else as I'd rather you see it. I enjoyed this movie a lot, which surprised me. This is yet another big budget movie with subject matter close to my heart, and it delivered more than I expected. Let me know what you all think.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Will the Knicks Continue to Make the Right Moves?

Quite possibly the answer is a not so surprising 'no.'

According to, the Knicks are talking with the Kings about Ron Artest, which as addressed previously, could eb a good thing.

However, they also report that David Lee could be the main player the Knicks would need to part with in order to get him. Good lord Isiah, don't do it!

I'd rather have David Lee in the Knicks lineup for the next 10 seasons than have Ron Artest for the next 3 or 4 before he wears out his welcome.

If the Knicks can get him without giving up Lee or Balkman, I'll be happy. Otherwise, let it pass, he won't be worth it.

If this happens, I'll be back to square one with the Knicks. Sure, they will probably win more games in 2008 than 2007, but what will it mean for 2009 and beyond?

Ugh. Isiah...

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Are the Knicks Making the Right Moves?

The answer to that is a surprising 'yes.' I did not expect to be saying that about the Knicks anytime soon, but I find myself surprised. The good moves really started two drafts ago, and now the amount of good moves are picking up steam. Two seasons ago, the Knicks drafted David Lee, Channing Frye, and Nate Robinson. Last year, with only one pick to their name, they took Renaldo Balkman. They also signed an undrafted free agent towards the end of the season which most feel was a steal in Randolph Morris, a F/C out of Kentucky. So, with only one pick last year, they got two first round quality players due to savvy, yes, savvy GM'ing by one Mr. I Thomas. Granted, the trade that brought Eddie Curry to NY and cost them their 2007 #9 pick in the draft, will lead most to never use the term 'savvy' in regards to Zeke's GM'ing ability, but I will. Sure, the Bulls got Joakim Noah with that pick, but I'm glad the Knicks didn't get him. He always bugged the crap out of me in college, and he would not have added much to the Knicks roster. He's an undersized forward, which the Knicks have had a steady roation of for the last 7 seasons. No need to add another one to the mix. That, and we as fans didn't really need what will surely be the 1,000+ camera shots of his father watching from the Garden crowd with his giant hat and sunglasses.
So, what do the Knicks have now, after a 2007 draft night that continued the Knicks series of good moves? They snagged forward Zach Randolph from the revamped Portland Trailblazers, who averaged 20+ PTS and 10+ Rebounds per game. The Knicks have needed a forward like that throughout these last 7 seasons with their rotation of small, underachieving fowards. Randolph could be the forward the Knicks thought they were getting when they snagged Antonio McDyess a few years back. Unfortunately, McDyess blew out his knee during pre-season that year, and he has been a bench player ever since. Barring a horrendous injury, Randolph should be able to produce as expected this year.
In addition to Randolph, the Knicks received two solid bench players in Dan Dickau and Fred Jones. These two players might just be moved again in any further deal Isiah has in the works, but at the least, the Knicks have an even deeper bench if they stay on the team. There is nothing wrong with that. Draft night did not only bring this trade to Knickland, they also drafted Wilson Chandler and Demetrius Nichols(a Syracuse alumni!) Nichols came over in yet another trade with Portland. Once again, Isiah took a draft that saw only one pick in the Knicks name and found a way to get two draft picks, and a brand new, talented power forward. Me likey.
But, at what cost did the Knicks get Randolph? They dealt away Steve Francis, who has been on the threshold, waiting to be kicked out the door since before last season started. Good riddance, I wish him luck in getting a bloated contract while having little passion, and a knee full of tendinitis. The one aspect of the trade that I winced at, but am now getting the impression it was OK to do, was packaging Channing Frye in for Randolph. I know you can't just get a talented player for some peanuts and a bucket of chicken, but I always felt Frye could develop into a solid player. However, I do agree with some of the critiques of young Channing. He has been called 'Mr. Softy' and had a very streaky year in 2006. This tells me he is getting pushed around in a league of bulky forward talent. So, for a guy who showed promise but lacked any physical game, the Knicks got a player that has BOTH. I call that a good move.
So, let's take a look at the current Roster and see what the Knicks will offer next season, so far:

Eddie Curry, C
Zach Randolph, PF
David Lee/Jarrod Jeffries, SF
Jamal Crawford, SG
Stephon Marbury, PG

Lee/Jeffries, F
Quentin Richardson, G
Nate Robinson, G
Malik Rose, F
Jerome James, C
Renaldo Balkman, F
Wilson Chandler, F
Mardy Collins, G
Randolph Morris, F/C
Demetrius Nichols, F
Dan Dickau, G
Fred Jones, G

Their current roster has too many players, so more than likely two or three more folks will be traded, released or placed on injured reserve with 'Foot Tendinitis.'

Granted, this squad doesn't exactly make one think the Knicks will be playing for a title in 2008, but there are a lot of talented pieces in place so far, and if Isiah is in talks with the Kings for Ron Artest as is rumored, there could be a lot more buzz shaking throughout the Garden rafters in 2008. Even if that deal never materializes, the Knicks have a solid roster of young, talented players that they can pick and choose to develop and/or deal in the next few years to bolster their lineup where holes become evident, or nab draft picks as other teams are on the verge of playoff success.
The Knicks haven't ever been in this type of position, they have a future, they have leverage, and they have the luxury of being able to make moves for the present too, if they so choose. As I've said before, the Knicks have a way of making their hardcore fans 'believe' again without really making the right moves. This time, there really is reason to hope for us lonely, scared, Knicks fans.

Isiah, please, don't ruin it by making another Jerome James or Steve Francis move.

Thank you,