If I Were to Die Today…

I don’t know where, I don’t know when, and I don’t know why, but if I were to die today I would want one smile to break the mold.
If I were to die today, I would tell my parents, thank you. Thank you for the life I got to live. Thank you for teaching me the lessons I needed to be taught, and letting me find the lessons I needed to learn. Thank you for the love I received, thank you for accepting my love in return. Thank you for being quiet when I was loud, thank you for laughing with me when I was happy, thank you for seeing what I can’t, and thank you for being there when I couldn’t bear to stand.
If I were to die today, I would tell my brothers, I know. I know that when I fall you are there to help me to my feet. I know you know better than I do. I know anger only lasts as long as it needs. I know your life is one way and mine is another, but between brothers every road joins together. I know seldom words need to be spoken, but the few you do, stay with me forever.
If I were to die today, I would tell my grandparents, that I see. I see the life they have lived. I see what they have endured. I see how life can turn out even when you don’t know the path. I see everything you have given me, I see all that you wish to give, and I see how, no matter what, love never sees the end.
If I were to die today, I would tell my friends, they can. They can be the best of people, they can be the worst of people, they can be everything I need them to be without a word. They can be the saviour when my memory has gone and my own body given up. They can see the light when I am shrouded in darkness. They can understand that friendship isn’t based on reciprocity; they can understand that friendship is simply seeing deeper. They can see that even if they are not there, I know they are with me.
If I were to die today, I would tell the world, understand. Understand that life is a gift; that to be graced on this Earth for the most fleeting of moments is the greatest possibility to encounter. Understand that life isn’t about the final destination, that your resume is not your life, that what you do and how you do it aren’t as important as who you do it with. Understand that a welcome smile and an open ear can be the most cherished treasures of all. Understand that believing doesn’t need to be seen, that listening isn’t always hearing, and that understanding is the hardest part of any conversation. Understand that rage can fuel greatness, but hatred can erratic an identity. Understand that life cannot be bought, stolen, taken, or immortalized by a snap of a camera. Understand that the eye is drawn to natural beauty, but the heart is drawn to what it wants. Understand that when passion and happiness intersect there is no such thing as work. And, understand that life breaks the spirit, but resiliency gives way to the phenomenal beauty of possibility.
I don’t know when, I don’t know where, and I don’t know why, but if I were to die today I would want my words to echo to those that choose to listen. If I were to die today, I would want one smile to break the mold.

Generation Fucked?

A 23-year-olds take on how this generaton will be remembered…

Our grandparents endured two world-wars and faced a life-altering depression. Our grandparents can be remembered for the uplifting swing-type music during times of despair; their ingenuity to resolve a catastrophic economic meltdown; their lack of imagination when it came to their extremely bland clothes; and their immense mark on this planet with so many life changing inventions that have the capability to save humanity—penicillin—or destroy it—atom-bomb.
Our parents defined the age of sex, drugs, and rock and roll; and were the first generation that radically detached itself from the former generation. Our parents can be remembered for their individuality with a faster, louder, and harder music that united crowds of people; their revolutionary attitude towards humanity with the demolition of the Berlin Wall and the Women’s Rights Movement; and their immense spirit through numerous political scandals and breakdowns, and masses of influential people dying right before their eyes.
So, that brings us to our generation. What will we be remembered for? If you ask anyone outside our generation the typical consensus is that our generation will be remembered as spoiled, coddled, or even helpless. In other words, many see our generation as fucked. But, is our generation truly so dependent, hopeless, unimaginative, and, well, screwed? Look closer, alter your perception, and you can see just how intelligent, stupid, heartfelt, crazy, and great this generation truly is and will be.
So how will our generation be remembered?

The Death of Rock and Roll
Right now in your head name 3 iconic guitarists of THIS generation. The vast majority probably won’t be able to complete this task. Now change “guitarists” to “DJs” and almost everyone can answer that simple question: David Guetta, Steve Aoki, Calvin Harris, Swedish House Mafia, Avicii, Tiesto, Deadmau5, and, of course, Skrillex.
With the rise of the DJ and the fall of acoustically talented musicians, this generation, unfortunately, is the death of rock and roll (despite what Fall Out Boy thinks their doing with their new tour). Yes, there are a few good bands out there, but the overwhelming majority of hit songs in the market today come from the DJ’s. Our generation is the era of techno, house, and club music…basically anything where the bass drops, crazy electro sounds are blended together, or the lyrics say “shots,” “patron,” or “drink”.
But, what the other generations hear as “just noise,” our generation hears as our own emotions and state of being. Rock and roll has heartfelt, penetrating lyrics and accompanying music, but when you listen to the lyrics of those songs it is about one state of emotional being. Many techno songs have no words, just sounds that the listener can take in. Techno and house music allow the listeners to project their emotional state onto the music that they hear. To one person Darude’s “Sandstorm” is a pump up song before a big match, to another it allows them to finally get over that break up. This generation will be known for bringing the noise.

Tight and Bright
Despite how every one of this generation thinks that people back in the ‘80’s dressed like a neon Vegas sign, this generation will actually be the one labeled as tight and bright. With Lululemon, Aritizia, and TNA yoga pants on every other girl walking down the street, showing off their…thighs; it’s hard to ignore this “tight” trend. Right above those pants you were staying at, a blinding fluorescent coloured shirt on top. To the girls who say they don’t have these…you’re lying! And to the guys, we are culprits too. You turn your head from those yoga pants over to a guy and you’ll see either slim fitting or skinny jeans on that bro. Look up, most likely he has a similar neon coloured, fitted shirt that hugs the skin.
Yes, the majority of our generation wears clothes that look like the bright colours of a male peacock during mating season, but the clothes of today offer a new outlook on the inner strength of each individual. The fact that people are comfortable enough with themselves to wear tight, bright clothing suggests that our generation is starting a trend that we are comfortable with who we are as a person, and don’t care what other people think. We have all seen that guy or girl wearing the yoga pants or v-neck shirt that was just a little too snug; but they rock their clothes and feel good about who they, what they are wearing, and don’t care about others opinions. This generation will be known for rocking the neon.

Social Butterflies or Generation JPEG
“Ok, so stand still (click). Ok Mayfair or Lo-Fi? Lo-Fi it is. Wait a sec…Ok, uploaded to Instagram and Facebook, and tweeting it now!” That’s a conversation we have all heard at one point in our lives (or at least a version of it). Our elders may not understand our fascination with letting the whole world know exactly what we are doing every single second of the day (“Johnny is getting a donut with Mark, boo ya”); and they may see it as odd, or a waste of time, or just flat our stupid, but take a step back and truly analyze these technological wonders known as social media.
Facebook, Twitter, and Skype: every single one of these technological advancements has brought millions of people closer together than ever before in the history of our planet. Not only can our generation connect with each other but, we interconnect with other generations across any age bracket. Mothers and daughters can see their husband/father across the world; old friends can stay in touch despite thousands of kilometres; and grandparents can hear about their grand-children’s lives.
With the development of Instagram our generation is taking more pictures than any other generation before us. Point our phone, choose a filter, add a witty message (and maybe a few #hashtags), and done; the picture is now for the world to see. With all of us documenting almost every event with a picture, it shows that our generation is far more sentimental than first perceived. Instagram and Facebook allow our generation to express a portion of ourselves, and capture a moment in time that we can identify with. Social media allows us to express who we are, and bond with the people who enjoy the same aspects of our lives. This generation will be known for bringing the world closer.

Generation Revolution
Our great grandparents didn’t do it, our grandparents didn’t do it, our parents didn’t do it, but we will be the first generation to do it: we will be the first generation in charge of the safety, security, and overall progression of this world. Previous generations seemed to use the world they wanted, and then put the next generation in charge of cleaning up their mess. We are now the ones that can no longer use the Earth in a reckless manner without thinking of the consequences. It is our generation who will have to think about the sustainability of this world and the future of the Earth for generations to come. Not only will we be the ones who fix the land, sea, and air from the damaging effects of the previous generations, but we will also be the generation to fix the damaging health issues plaguing humanity.
With the way that technology is advancing, and our role to step up and save the planet, we will also be the generation that begins a medical revolution. With technology advancing at an unpredictable rate, and human knowledge pushing the boundaries like never before I am sure we will be the generation that begins to rid this world of AIDS, cancer, and other deadly diseases. We may not be the ones who cure it, but you can bet we will be the ones who start the breakthrough. This generation will be known for changing the world.

Top Movie Preview for 2013 – 2/2

8. The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug 

Release Date: December 13

Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage

Director: Peter Jackson

Genre: Adventure, Fantasy

The second installment of The Hobbit prequel trilogy continues the adventure of Bilbo Baggins (Freeman) and his 12 accompanying dwarves. After narrowly escaping the horde of Orcs on the cliff Bilbo and the dwarves must now continue to make their way to the Lonely Mountain and the evil dragon Smaug. The company must try to reach the human encampment of Lake-town, but to get there Bilbo and the Dwarves must face the treacherous forces of Mirkwood Forest.

After the Blockbuster release of The Hobbit you can bet that The Desolation of Smaug will draw huge audiences. With Peter Jackson finding his niche in the Lord of the Rings universe, it’s hard to find faults with his films. Action, Adventure, fantastical worlds, aw-inspiring sceneries, and imaginative beasts and monsters makes for a great movie experience. Let’s just hope he doesn’t make this second prequel as long as the first.

Trailer: Not Available


9. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Release Date: November 22

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth

Director: Francis Lawrence

Genre: Action, Adventure

After winning the 74th Hunger Games both Katniss (Lawrence) and Peeta (Hutcherson) go on a “Victory Tour” across all 12 states of the country of Panem. While on their tour Katniss and Peeta witness the unrest that their defiant victory caused in the districts of Panem, and how it has begun to inspire rebellion amongst the citizens. As President Snow tries to diffuse the rebellion within the districts he is also planning the 75th Hunger games known as the Quarter Quell. Every twenty-five years 24 champions from previous years compete, once again, in the Hunger Games. Katniss and Peeta are plunged back into the merciless game, but this time the contestants have a new plan and the outside citizens are also the ones to watch.

The first Hunger Games was a tremendous success. Both first time audiences and fans of the novel gave great reviews of the film. Catching Fire will be a critical movie for this film franchise. This will be the film that can delve more deeply into the world of Panem, its districts, and its citizens. Catching Fire can be the film that sets this novel-adapted franchise into the same realm of success as Harry Potter. With a brooding rebellion, the travel to individual districts, and new Hunger Games in a new arena this film has the potential to take the audience’s imagination to a whole new level.

Trailer: Not Available


10. Iron Man 3

Release Date: May 3

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Guy Pearce, Gwyneth Paltrow

Director: Shane Black

Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

After the events of The Avengers Tony Stark (Downey Jr.) is haunted by his memories, and who he has become. His identity as Iron Man has now put him at the top of the hit-list for terrorist organizations and rivalling companies. After an unknown source destroys Tony’s private world he must choose what is worth saving and discover his true self, all the while having to battle a powerful new enemy: The Mandarin.

Probably one of the most successful comic book franchises in recent history (behind the original Superman and The Dark Knight Trilogy) Iron Man comes back to the screen for a new exciting adventure. Downey Jr. fits the title character like Charlie Sheen fit his role on Two and a Half Men. It seems like the man was born to play this role. His quick wit, charm, ego, and narcissism combine so well with the action and spectacular special effects. There will definitely be at least one guaranteed blockbuster this summer.

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aV8H7kszXqo


11. Star Trek: Into Darkness

Release Date: May 17

Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana

Director: J.J. Abrams

Genre: Sci-Fi, Action

Earth is in chaos, Starfleet has been attacked, and now other planets are in jeopardy. Star Trek: Into Darkness follows Captain Kirk (Pine) and his crew as they try to track down a man who has left a wake of destruction across the federation, and who was part of their own organization.

I was not a Star Trek fan by any means of the word, but after seeing Abrams 2009 take on the cult-classic series I was immediately onboard. Into Darkness is one of the most anticipated films of 2013, and rightfully so; with a handful of budding actors, absolutely gripping action sequences, intense CGI, and believable relationships this film should deliver everything die-hard fans and band-wagoner’s are looking for. And, if the film plays its cards right they could be entering into territory no Star Trek film has gone before.

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdgRx94W5ko


12. Man of Steel

Release Date: June 14

Starring: Henry Cavill, Russell Crow, Amy Adams, Kevin Costner

Director: Zack Snyder

Genre: Sci-Fi, Action

Man of Steel focuses on the origin story of Superman: how he was raised and how he became the hero that everyone knows. The film follows Clark’s struggle to cope with human life, deal with his alienation, and his eventual rise to become Superman and protect his home from the attack of the evil General Zod.

From the combined efforts of the directors of Watchman, 300, and The Dark Knight Trilogy director Zack Synder and producer Christopher Nolan turn their sights on the most celebrated comic-book hero ever created. Man of Steel looks to be entrenched in realism and focus on the genuine issues that plague and alienate Clark as he tries to discover who he is and where he belongs. With a big inventory of A-list stars, two huge names in comic-book adaptation films (Synder and Nolan), and a new take on the Superman franchise, Man of Steel looks to be the number one most anticipated film of 2013.

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMLX2ddR874

Dear NHL Fans

The NHL season has returned! After 113 days the NHL and NHLPA have come to terms on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Scream and shout until your voice is sore, let your feelings of relief and happiness shoot to the skies, and hug your friends and family. Once you have let you’re bottled up feelings of jubilation subside take a look back at the entire Lockout and reflect on how the fans were treated. Realize that the fans were not even a minor thought during the entire Lockout. The past 113 days were a flagrant display of dis-respect towards loyal hockey fans.
Four Lockouts in two decades is a clear dis-regard for the game of hockey and its devoted fans. When hockey returned after the 2004-2005 Lockout all of the fans returned in droves. The NHL gave us new rules and the tantalizing lure of the shootout after the 04-05 Lockout (and luckily for NHL the first game back went to a shootout). But, after this Lockout the only attraction for fans to return to hockey is that they will finally be able to watch their beloved game that they missed so dearly over the past four months. But why should the fans return to the stadiums in mass numbers when the NHL and NHLPA clearly don’t show as much passion and love for the game as the fans?
I can’t wait to hear the sound of the crunching ice underneath the metal skates; the combination of beauty and brutality in a well –timed hit; and the simple roar of the crowd after a perfectly placed goal in overtime to give your team the win. This is passion and love for the game that every hockey fan shares within their heart. But, it appears after four Lockouts in 20 years that owners and players no longer share this passion. The owners and players now appear to only care about the numbers of the game. And, if they are willing to sacrifice games and seasons over money problems, why should fans simply sit idly by and wait for owners and players to solve their “issues” and then be expected to return to the game that that was sacrificed without any thought for the fans?
Four Lockouts in 20 years is enough the fans need to respond, and respond with a message that resonates throughout the National Hockey League. The fans have been treated like an old lover that will always return no matter how they are treated. But, at some point the fans have to make a stand a show that they are no longer going to return to our game without consequence.
After the 1994 Major League Baseball season was cancelled the MLB fans returned to the game the next year, but they returned with actions that send the MLB a message. Attendance declined, fans booed the players and owners, made protest signs and T-shirts, and in one case some fans ran out onto the field and threw one-dollar bills in the players’ faces. Imagine a fan jumping over the class during the first face-off of a game and throwing money at the players and coaches. Now that would send a message. And on an even bigger scale imagine empty arenas on the first game back. These actions would show the NHL that the fans are no longer going to put up with these negotiations that abolish cherished hockey games.
So, for the first game back make protest signs, boo the players and owners, don’t watch the game, or don’t even attend the game. Do something that will show that the fans are angry with the NHL and have had enough of the Lockouts that take away the game we love so much. Don’t be a mindless fan and simply return to hockey without reflecting on how you have been treated over the past 113 days, and also the last 20 years.
The fans are the ones losing the most when a lockout hits, the fans are the ones who now show more passion for the game, and the fans are the ones that keep NHL teams alive (disagree? Look at Atlanta, Quebec, Hartford etc.). Be a true fan and show the NHL that their actions have consequences.

Top Movie Previews for 2013 – 1/2

1. 300: Rise of an Empire

Release Date: August 2

Starring: Eva Green, Rodrigo Santoro, Sullivan Stapleton

Director: Noam Murro

Genre: Action

The Athenian General Themistocles and his band of soldiers try to stave off Xerxes and his Persian Empire in the Battle of Artemisium.

The film will focus on the naval battle of Artemisium, but is also reported to explore the back-story of Xerxes and how he gained the throne and the title of “God King.” If this “sequel” is anything like the first expect intense cinematography, epic battle scenes, and highly graphic violence. Rise of an Empire will never be able to match impact 300 had on cinema, but this film will hopefully give audiences the action, battle scenes, and jacked shirtless guys that they have missed since the first 300.

Trailer: Not Available

2. Pain and Gain

Release Date: April 26

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Ed Harris

Director: Michael Bay

Genre: Action, Comedy

Based upon true events that were recorded in the Miami New Times articles in 1999. Daniel Lugo (Wahlberg) was a regular gym rat, but when he begins to grow sick and tired of his not so glamorous life he concocts a plan to kidnap and extort a wealthy regular at his gym, Victor Kershaw. Lugo teams up with an ex-con Paul Doyle (Johnson) and the two pull of their plan and get away with thousands of Kershaw’s money. But now the two body builders have the Miami police on their tails as well as a private detective (Harris) hired by the beaten and bruised Kershaw.

Since his first steps onto the silver screen Dwayne Johnson has improved his acting chops greatly, and along-side Mark Wahlberg both actors’ ability to be serious yet comical at the same time will hopefully fit seamlessly with the tone of the film. The film is set in Miami and this is the first time Michael Bay has returned to South Beach since his 1995 hit Bad Boys. With a script that isn’t intensely driven by CGI you can expect Bay’s Pain and Gain to have a very similar feeling as Bad Boys.  Hopefully this film will be a fun entertaining ride with some laughs along the way.

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEQ8jyvmYtw

3. Now You See Me 

Release Date: June 7

Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Morgan Freeman, Michael Kane

Director: Louis Leterrier

Genre: Thriller

A group of four magicians known as the Four Horsemen (Eisenberg, Harrelson, Fisher, Franco) perform visually stunning and technologically gripping magic tricks in which they rob banks and re-distribute the money back to the audience during their shows. A by the book FBI agent (Ruffalo) is assigned to follow the illusionists, bring them to justice, and discover their methods. But, uncovering the secrets of the highly intelligent magicians may be harder and more intricate than he first perceived.

With a new twist on the magic genre this film looks to have all the elements to make an exciting movie that will keep the audience on the edge of their seat and guessing what will come next. With an all-star cast this film will should deliver one of the more unique and thrilling movie experiences in 2013.

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UE5XcjTpsdo

4. After Earth

Release Date: June 7

Starring: Will Smith, Jayden Smith

Director: M. Night Shyamalan

Genre: Action, Sci-Fi

A thousand years after apocalyptic events destroyed Earth and forced a global evacuation General Cypher Raige (Smith Senior) and his son Kitai (Smith Junior) return to our former home planet after a collision with an asteroid causes a crash landing. The General is badly wounded and Kitai must journey across the landscape to recover the spacecraft’s rescue beacon. But, Earth is no longer what it used to be, it is now a highly dangerous environment where everything and anything is a threat.

An independent teenager on a hostile planet, surrounded by countless of dangerous creatures, all the while trying to help save his father and live up to his father’s reputation, this looks like what James Cameron may have had in mind for the early stages of Avatar. After Earth will mark the first directorial shot for M. Night Shyamalan since the Hollywood flop, and audience / critic bashed, The Last Airbender. But, the originality of the film combined with what looks to be stunning graphics, the up-and-coming skills of Jayden Smith, and an always strong performance from Will Smith will hopefully redeem the director and make for a very interesting film.

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZIt20emgLY

5. Oblivion

Release Date: April 19

Starring: Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurlyenko

Director: Joseph Kosinski

Genre:  Action, Sci-Fi

After years of war with aliens Earth is now a wasteland where nothing left is human, and man-made drones roam the surface extracting essential resources. Jack Harper (Cruise) is a drone repairman who is two weeks away from leaving this now forsaken land. But, when Jack discover a downed pod from a spacecraft carrying another human being all his knowledge and understanding of the past begin to unravel and force him to question what he knows and what he believes.

Being almost the primary focus of the film, Oblivion looks to be to Tom Cruise what I am Legend was to Will Smith: a chance to solely carry a film and showcase the full range and depth of his capabilities as an action star. Even at the ripe age of 50 Tom Cruise is still one of the best action stars in Hollywood, and he sure knows how to pick his films: the Mission Impossible franchise, Minority Report, and Jack Reacher.  Tom Cruise alone on an empty planet battling alien life-forms and other humans, how can you say no?

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmIIgE7eSak

6. This is the End 

Release Date: June 14

Starring: Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jay Baruchel

Director: Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen

Genre: Comedy

The apocalypse hits Earth and L.A is destroyed by the events. A handful of celebrities must face the ongoing devastation and obliteration that is occurring around them.

Seth Rogen, Danny McBride, Jay Baruchel, Jason Segel, Jonah Hill, James Franco, Paul Rudd, Michael Cera, and Craig Robinson all in one film…enough said.

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNs0vQgCWY0

The Hobbit: A movie-goers movie

Almost a decade after his iconic conclusion to the Lord of the Rings (LOTR) Trilogy, Peter Jackson returns to deliver the prequel that starts the entire saga. Superb cinematography, stunning landscapes, and all sorts of beasts, creatures, and monsters bring the audience right back into the world of Middle Earth. J.R.R Tolkien’s acclaimed novel finally comes to life in The Hobbit.

The Hobbit begins in the Shire, approximately 60 years before the events of The Fellowship of the Ring (FOTR), where we meet a much younger Bilbo Baggins than we first saw in LOTR Trilogy. The film follows Bilbo along his incredible journey that will lead to his inevitable procession of the one ring of power which sets in motion the events for the LOTR series. Bilbo sets out on a expedition with twelve dwarves to reclaim their home mountain that was taken over by a greedy Dragon called Smaug. The film follows the incredible and fantastic series of events that Bilbo, Gandalf, and the twelve dwarves embark upon. From trolls, to orcs, to goblins, to giant mountains fighting each other the band of questers face countless challenges.

The Hobbit brings back so many of the things the audience fell in love with in the LOTR Trilogy. First off, the sense of wonder. Peter Jackson is one of the great filmmakers that can capture the audience’s complete imagination. From the dwarf’s wide range of creative make-up, to the incredibly inventive sets, to the myriad of beasts and creatures, The Hobbit takes the audience to a world of complete imagination. Second, the cinematography. This film has at least one academy award in the bank and that is its cinematography. Peter Jackson teams up again with Andrew Lesnie who grabbed himself, and the first LOTR film, an Oscar for best cinematography in 2001. The films tracking shots, action sequences, and absolutely stunning panoramic landscape shots are nothing short of epic. Lastly, the film’s computer graphics and visual effects. With almost double the budget of The Return of the King it shouldn’t be a surprise when you see this film how much you are blown away by the visual effects, all three LOTR films took home the Oscar for best visual effects and I bet The Hobbit will follow in their footsteps.  From the detail, realism, and believability of the creatures to the un-believability of the backgrounds and CGI landscapes, this film nails the graphics.

Now to say The Hobbit is the movie experience of the year may be an over statement by some critics, let’s not forget that this year we have already had The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises. Does this film compare with the previous two? In short, I don’t think so. The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises are two films that I believe brought something completely new to cinema and exceeded audience’s expectations. The Hobbit was followed so closely and hyped so much that by the time you go to theatre there is almost no way the film can deliver all you were expecting. The film was magical and extremely well done, but that is not to say it doesn’t have its pitfalls.

What we were familiar with in LOTR does not quite transfer over to The Hobbit. In this film it seems like Jackson tried to carbon copy the way he made his previous films, and it falls short. The film’s length and pacing are its kryptonite. If you didn’t know till now Jackson is making The Hobbit into three films. The book is not very long and the idea of three films seems like overkill, but if anyone could do it Jackson could. So with three films at his command, why make the first film 2 hours and 50 minutes? At least three times in the film I thought it was going to end, but it just kept on going. To follow that, some films are extremely long, but when you watch them they don’t feel as though they were as long as they were (e.g. LOTR: Return of the King (ROTK), The Dark Knight Rises (TDRK)). So why do those films not feel as long as they are, but during The Hobbit you can definitely feel its length? It’s all because of pacing. In ROTK and TDKR we are building to one momentous climax. During those films there is a steady incline of drama and action that leads to the climax. But, during The Hobbit it seems as though we are hit with a high point of drama and action, and then a low point of plot negotiation. Many times in the film there are scenes that are too long which bring down the audience’s level of anticipation; SPOLIER most notably the scene between Bilbo and Gollum when they have their battle of riddles. The scene is much too long, and detracts from the intensity of the other events occurring in the film.

This first of three prequels has definitely set the tone for two more great films and a great prequel trilogy, something some other director failed to do right out of the gate (Industrial Light and Magic anyone). The Hobbit drops the ball on a few aspects, but it hits so many of the points that audiences are looking for in a film, and its spectacular action sequences, creativity, and outstanding cinematography help you forgive the films length and pacing. The critics were right on one aspect of the film, that it is an outstanding movie going experience. The Hobbit dazzles the eye and captures the imagination so wonderfully that it is one of the main reasons we go to the movies, and is a definite must-see in theatres.

Lockout the Lockout

“We are making progress.” “It looks like we are further behind than when we started.” “Both sides are beginning to understand each other.” The “Make Whole Provision” and mediators. The fans have heard many mixed signals from the NHL and NHLPA over the past 86 days.

First, the owners and players get our hopes up by saying that they seem to be making progress, or that one of the sides is proposing a new set of conditions; and then, just as suddenly as our hopes were lifted, they are dashed by both sides saying (yet again) that they are not moving forward. What is the point of all the coverage?

It seems like every day on the news they are reporting about the Lockout, and yet they are not saying anything different. Both sides have been talking about what they want out of the Lockout and the new CBA negotiations, and for the past 86 days nothing has changed. Both sides have put together new proposals, and both sides have shot the ideas down just as quickly as they were conceived. The players put an offer on the table; it gets shut down within 5 minutes of the owners and Bettman looking at it. The owners put something on the table, and within a few hours Fehr is back at the microphone-stand saying that they are rejecting the offers. Of course both sides want to get the best deal possible, but how can you negotiate when you know for a fact that you will not budge on your own conditions?

To try and solve the problem the NHL and NHLPA brought in mediators to try and get the head people, who seemed to be the main problem, out of the equation. Has that progressed the situation? No!

The reporting on the Lockout was interesting at the start, we (the fans) wanted to see what the problems were, what both sides wanted, how each side was reacting, and when a magical date might appear that would bring back hockey. But now, 86 days in, 392 games lost, and over $500 million in salary lost the negotiations are going in circles. Both sides are saying the same things over and over, new dates are given for when the season might start, and it seems like we are on an emotional merry-go-round; we get our hopes up, and then have them burned, get our hopes up, and get them burned (repeat for 86 days).

It now looks like the NHL lockout is nothing more than two obese children fighting over a stale piece of cake, and we the fans are the simple bystanders on the side waiting for this pointless fight to end; just so we can have a small piece of what is left when all is said and done.

The Lockout discussions and negotiations put forth by either side are starting to get repetitive and are growing stale. The Lockout coverage is now tedious, mind-numbing, and extremely uneventful. The sports broadcasters are trying to make remarkably mundane (and repetitive) talks of the Lockout into big news points. The fight started out as a heavy weight title match (with a deadline hopefully within eyesight) and has now grown into a grade-school quarrel between two fat kids.

The Lockout fight has become boring and dull. What’s the point of following an argument that hits the exact same points every few days like clockwork? Let them eat cake, and wake us fans up when the hockey is back.