Tag Archives: Los Angeles

2012 NHL Playoffs: The Stanley Cup Finals

So far my predictions have not been so great. I had neither the Kings or the Devils in the Finals, although that’s partially due to the fact that I’m a closet Coyotes fan and had to pick them against the Kings. This column will end with a prediction, but first lets examine the top 5 reasons why each team will win the Cup.

Los Angeles Kings

1) The Underdog Factor.

The Kings, who came into the playoffs as the 8 seed, have dispatched the first, second and third seeds in the West in short order playing only 14 of a possible 21 games to get the job done. New Jersey was a six seed in the East so once again Los Angeles has the underdog card in their favor, a mentality that has done well to motivate them so far.

2.) Jonathan Quick.

Quick didn’t exactly come out of nowhere but the 26-year-old, 2005 third-round pick by the Kings has been taking it a whole new level this year and has exceeded all expectations in the playoffs. He only has two shutouts so far, but has still done a good job of limiting opposing scorers with a .946 save percentage, and a 1.54 GAA both good enough to lead all postseason goaltenders if you throw out Corey Schneider’s three-game performance.

3) Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar.

Brown and Kopitar are both averaging above a point a game, and a matching +13 in the plus/minus column. They will have to continue that sort of production for the Kings to be successful. Brown has really improved his game this postseason and has at times looked like a man among boys. If they can get continued solid performance out of Penner and Richards as well as the guys on the top line they will continue their playoff dominance.

4) The “Old Guy” and the “Franchise First”.

The perennial feel good story about the veteran who has never won a cup is Willie Mitchell of the L.A. Kings. He is 35 and has played 14 NHL seasons, ironically enough starting with the Devils, and has been a solid, journeyman defenseman throughout his career, and alongside Drew Doughty has been logging the most ice time for the Kings during the playoffs. This would also be the first Stanley Cup for the Kings Franchise and it seems long droughts always seem to kindle some extra fire… see 2011 Bruins, 1997 Red Wings, and 1994 Rangers.

Long Time Coming

5.) The L.A. Factor.

After the Clippers and the Lakers both made early Playoff exits, the people of L.A. should be rallying around this plucky NHL team. The Dodgers are also in first place, but it’s still too early in the Baseball season to really get excited about that kind of thing. The Kings are undefeated on the road so far this playoffs so having the extra support at home should give the Kings a home and road ice advantage, that and the throwback silver and black jerseys are some of the best in NHL history.

New Jersey Devils

1) Martin Brodeur.

Brodeur hasn’t been phenomenal this season, but he has been very good and a .923 save percentage coupled with a 2.04 GAA is nothing to shake a stick at. Brodeur is 40 years old, but has already said that he would like to come back next season which would make it an even 20 years as a Devil. This guy has tons of experience and is unshakable. Brodeur piloted the 2002-03 New Jersey Devils to a Stanley Cup Championship amid a messy divorce, in which it was revealed that he was sleeping with his sister-in-law. That doesn’t say much about Martin as a stand-up guy, but it does show the type of focus he brings to the ice rink which makes it hard to bet against this guy. Getting another Stanley Cup ring would also tie Brodeur with Patrick Roy his greatest contemporary goaltending foe.

2) Ilya Kovalchuk.

Kovalchuk is the leading scorer among all skaters in the playoff st the moment and along with Zach Parise and Travis Zajac leads the Devils with 7 goals apiece. Unlike the Kings top scorers these three Devils are in the negative when it comes to plus/minus so they will have to do a better job of protecting in their own end as well as lighting the lamp. It’s good to see the scorers scoring as that means that New Jersey’s game plan is working effectively. If any of these three guys drop off however they could be in trouble. Remember also that this is Ilya Kovalchuk’s first opportunity to shine in the postseason, so it will be interesting to see which way he goes in the Finals.

3) Momentum.

The Devils struggled a bit out of the gate and just barely got by the Florida Panthers in a seven game series that included the last two games being won by New Jersey in overtime. Since then the Devils have been much better though and once they have smelt blood in the water they have done a good job on closing down their opponents. After losing game one to Philly they won four straight and won three straight against the Rangers after going down 2-1 in the series. The first game of the Finals is starting late so both teams have been sitting but for the Kings it has been over a week since they have played real hockey so that gives NJ the edge in game one as far as rust is concerned.

4) Experience.

The Kings have the “Feel Good” old guy, but the Devils have the “Old Guy” old guys. Beyond Broduer they also have Petr Sykora, 35 and Patrick Elias, 36 as the grizzled veteran presence who have been there and done that. New Jersey also has experience on the backline with 35-year old Marek Zidlicky and Danius Zubrus checking in at 33. It’s clear that the Devils have the dominant edge here in age and experience but the question is whether or not this is too many old legs to keep up with the young and speedy Kings.

5) The New Jersey Factor. 

New Jersey has the “Soprano” tough guys, the “Jersey Shore” greaseballs and the New York’s little brother complex to motivate its players. New Jersey has a storied and fervent fan base but unfortunately the team is in financial trouble and a Stanley Cup win might still not be enough to get the ship righted. That being said the Devils have nothing to lose and a lot to prove so I wouldn’t put it past them ton once again surprise everyone by toughing it out and intimidating their way to another championship as they find their way to another 16W.

My prediction: Los Angeles Kings in 6. This is probably the kiss of death as I have picked against the Kings in every previous round but I think they look too good and their goaltender is playing too well to lose it now.

AMC’s Mad Men: Episode 510 “Christmas Waltz”

This week’s episode was called “Christmas Waltz” but really could have been called “Hey remember me? I’m a character on Mad Men who hasn’t gotten much attention lately.” as the episode focused on Lane Pryce, the now seldom seen Harry Crane and the recently neglected Joan. There was even an appearance by the once regular character Paul Kinsey who has turned his devotions to Harikrishna.

I must admit I was a bit confused by some of this weeks elements and I’m not sure how much was my own failings, and how much was the complexities of Mad Men and their room of writers. First the episode starts with Lane talking to his British lawyer who informs him that he is in desperate straights financially and needs to come up with $8000, a hefty sum at the time. (More than a top-of-the-line Jaguar {$5600}) I couldn’t quite follow what the money was for (back taxes?), but it’s hardly important, and we see Lane’s desperation to make good on his debts while trying to avoid outright embezzlement. As the bonuses that he has concocted are delayed again and again, Lane finds himself trapped at episode’s end having already forged Don’s name for a check he now shouldn’t have had for another month. It will be interesting to see how this develops. Will Don ultimately be more upset that Pryce acted criminally desperate or that his British pride kept him from telling Don the truth of the matter and ask for help? I would expect the latter. This week’s next ultimately unimportant confusion for me was Don and Joan’s “Ali Khan” reference. Don has rescued Joan from the office after she has been officially “served” by her douchebag husband. After cutting a check for a brand new Jaguar to tool around in, Don and Joan find a bar in which to down a few drinks and wax nostalgic. The whole scene is oddly mixed with the music from the bar being realistically loud in the sense that it’s hard to hear Don and Joan’s conversation very well. What’s clear is their sexual tension but their flirtation is that of two people who know that their time has passed and they have reached a level of mutual respect and admiration for each other right down to Don attempting to set Joan up with the gentleman across the bar. Don, for his trouble, is greeted by an infuriated Megan at home who is just another in line trying to figure out where Don’s motivations are coming from these days. It seems she can handle his love for advertising, but can’t handle his new-found casual attitude towards work much better than Pete Campbell can.

The other major storyline of the week involved the aforementioned Season-Three-Era Crane/Kinsey centered drama. Kinsey’s only real talent apparently is recruiting for the Harikrishnas, something that doesn’t fulfill his soul. We learn that he has been in and out of every ad agency in town and his ultimate dream is settling in with his new love Lakshmi and writing for the up and coming TV serial Star Trek. He has turned to Harry for his television connections and hopes that he can get his script passed on. All of Kinsey’s heart-felt trust in Harry is misplaced as it is Crane who quickly double stabs him in the back. Lakshmi, played by an actress who will one day play the lead role in “The Juliette Lewis Story”, forces her way into Harry’s office in an attempt to sexually and physically blackmail Harry so that Kinsey will remain with the Harikrishnas. Unfortunately for poor Paul Kinsey he is getting played from all sides as Lakshmi only wants him for his recruiting talents and Harry shows his true cowardice by buying away his problems by sending Kinsey away to Los Angeles with false hopes, crushing both his dreams simultaneously.

Next week we should be getting more into the meat and potatoes of the season’s upcoming conclusion as we wait to see what lies in store for SCDP in 1967, and what goes better with steak and mashed than a stiff finger of Scotch?

3 out of 5 Grizzlies

Call of Duty Black Ops 2 Announced! Where My Nazi Zombies at?

November 13th, 2012 – You will probably not see Dr. Kronner and I for a week after that date. Via Gamespot, the announcement that came to the surprise of exactly no one was released and it is that Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is announced to come out in November, just in the usual CoD launch window that Activision always delivers on to make sure their Q4 numbers are spiked.

So what can we expect from this game? Probably more of the same. Let’s be honest, Call of Duty is becoming the Madden of first person shooters. The differences are pretty miniscule between each individual series. By that, I mean the Modern Warfare series and the Black Ops/World at War series. Both are developed by Infinity Ward and Treyarch respectively, and I honestly prefer the single player of the MW series over Black Ops. However, I will say the multiplayer of Black Ops and the Treyarch team is superior. That and it has nazi zombies which is simply the best party game amongst our group of friends since Goldeneye and WCW/NWO Revenge or Smash Bros or Mario Kart. So with this game, what I’m looking forward to is seeing what improvements they have done to multiplayer, new modes, guns, all that jazz. Of course the maps. As long as I don’t get more maps like Cracked or Hanoi, I will be a happy dude. I almost said happy camper, but that would just make me be a dick.

Anyways, on CallofDuty.com, the reveal shows that it will be tonight on TNT for the NBA Playoffs so I’m sure I’ll update this article tonight once the trailers hit YouTube and the such. Activision in the UK actually jumped the gun before taking down the splash page for the new game by apparently showing the Los Angeles in ruin, not unlike NYC in the last MW game. Other places like China, Japan, and Afghanistan were shown too so like always, this will be a global affair. Again, we await more details to come out so stay tuned to this post once we get more info.

So it’s basically Terminator and Skynet. That’s cool. Maybe some Cowboys and Aliens. Maybe not that cool. Am I playing it? Child please.

Woody Harrelson Stars in Real-Life Cop Drama: ‘Rampart’

Rampart is a movie about a real-life police scandal in 1999 in inner-city Los Angeles. Woody Harrelson plays Dave Brown, a member of the rampart division of the Los Angeles Police Department. The drama with Brown began to become public when he was caught on tape severely beating a citizen who had hit him with his car. The video hit the news, and the scandal began. Brown was also accused of many other controversies including murder. The movie also deals with Brown’s home life. He has two ex-wives, who are sisters. He has one child by each of them.

Director Oren Moverman and Harrelson went to the rampart department of the LAPD to shadow them. The two went on ride-alongs and got an inside look of the area that was being policed during the scandal, as well as the tension within the department.

Rampart will release in theaters tomorrow, although it is not being released locally, so I cannot see it yet.

Check out the trailer:

Is Abraham Lincoln A President, Vampire Hunter, or a Zombie Killer?

2011 marked the announcement of a film that literally sealed the deal for the death of Hollywood. Granted, it’s based off of a marginally successful, tongue-in-cheek novel of the same name, but it’s true when they say that some things are just not meant to be movies. Regardless, this Spielberg produced “historical” action flick has been garnering quite a bit of buzz over the last few months for being as outlandish as it can be.

Of course, every mindless action pic has its low-budget imitators, but there are some movies that are rehashed so poorly, they make history. The Asylum, which is the production company known for taking movies we love and turning them into remakes/sequels we detest. A couple of names that may sound familiar are: Almighty Thor (originally just Thor), I Am Omega (instead of I Am Legend), 2010: Moby Dick, Battle of Los Angeles (not be confused with Battle: Los Angeles; the colon makes all the difference in the world), 3 Musketeers, and sadly, Titanic II.

Now, The Asylum is deciding to bastardize Hollywood even further by redoing Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, as Abraham Lincoln Versus Zombies. Again, world of difference, got to give credit where credit is due. I mean, just look at the originality that is seeping from the loins of The Asylum, here! It really is quite astounding. I mean, if hearing the title Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter doesn’t already make you do a double take, then taking on zombies definitely will.

Of all the ideas that The Asylum has had, this one might be the most absurd, which in turn makes it the most watchable of the bunch. John Wilkes Booth has been turned into a member of the “New Secret Service”. I mean, who can resist historical accuracy this rich with flavor? One thing is for sure, if I had the choice between vampires and zombies, I’m almost positive I’d take the walkers.

In Case You Missed It: Teenage Paparazzo

When many of us think of celebrities, we think of the glamorous lifestyle, the notoriety, and all the cool stuff we could do. Fame, noted by most celebrities, has its ups and downs. But of all the good and bad things, the most annoying of all of them might be the paparazzi. Known as the vermin of the entertainment industry, paparazzi are everywhere, but their job is to seem as if they’re nowhere to be seen. But as much as we hate them, it seems as if we know less about them than the celebrities they’re chasing.

Adrian Grenier, the star of HBO’s Entourage in which he plays a movie star, is beginning to have the line between reality and fiction blurred due to his fame in real life. He’s adjusting to the lifestyle of Vincent Chase both on and off the screen, except in real life he’s not playing a character. He’s Adrian Grenier. One day, while coming out of a club, amidst the mob of paps around him, he sees a young boy snapping his picture. He approaches the child; to only find out that he’s a thirteen-year-old paparazzo named Austin Visschedyk, a smooth and fast-talking kid from Los Angeles. This street-smart adolescent had recently gained interest in the life of a paparazzo when he met Adrian. This boy fascinated Grenier and before he knew it, he was making a film about him.


Camera crew in hand, Grenier and Visschedyk began taking the Hollywood streets by storm; Austin for his pictures, Adrian for an answer. Teenage Paparazzo offers not only a look into the life of a celebrity, but the people who put these celebrities on the cover of every gossip magazine known to man. The film, which was directed by Grenier, shows the human side of the paparazzi, insisting on talking to them one-on-one rather than dehumanizing them and writing them off as scum like everybody else in Hollywood has. Austin was only the beginning for Grenier. The life of a pap is unlike anything else; the adrenaline, the constant motion, the 24/7 workweek, and most of all, the money. Austin was making anywhere from $500-$1000 for a good shot of a hot celebrity, more if it met certain requirements.

I don’t want to spoil too much of the things that go on in Teenage Paparazzo, because that’s half the fun, finding out what’s going to happen next. Weaving in interviews with various celebrities as well as Austin’s story, the film really does give the viewer a neutral view of the lifestyle of both the paps and their victims. The relationship between certain paps and certain celebrities isn’t as strained as many think, which I find to be very interesting. With that being said, most of them are and it can get very, very, annoying. The price of fame is a price to pay, and Grenier is sure to convey this to the viewer. He explains what its like to walk out of your home and not three steps later start being flashed by camera lights at every angle.

If Teenage Paparazzo succeeds at something, it’s the truth that rings throughout the entire film. We’ve seen these people on TV, we see them in movies, on the news, on the internet, but do we know them? No, of course not. We think we do, but we don’t. It seems that a lot of people have yet to recognize that, though.

5/5 Bears

Asimov’s ‘Foundation Trilogy’ Coming to the Big Screen

You should know Isaac Asimov as a fundamental part of all science fiction. His ‘three laws of robotics’ have pretty much defined the genre’s depiction of robots ever since. He’s known as one of the “big three” science fiction authors and he’s basically had an influential role in every android, automaton, and metal man you know and love. On top of being one of the most prolific writers ever, he’s credited with writing arguably the best science fiction short story of all time.

Anyway, if you’re not so much into sci-fi literature, you might have heard Asimov’s name attached to mediocrity-fests like I, Robot. Just let it be known that the original short story is very different and very much better. Asimov’s had a few of his works adapted into unfaithful movies that blandly miss the point, but Gamma Squad’s got word that Hollywood’s giving it another go, this time with the Foundation trilogy. Three books that make up the major storyline of a vast saga Asimov added to and compiled throughout his writing career.

 In case you Asimov fans were crossing your fingers and mouthing prayers to the sci-fi Gods, you should know the series is set to be written by relative newcomer Dante Harper and directed by Roland “Make Things Go Boom-Boom” Emmerich, so the beloved and iconic stories so cherished in the genre will likely be handled with the care and subtlety of a propeller plane dodging an exploding Los Angeles.

Above: Subtlety

Fox has also recently greenlit Asimov’s The Caves of Steel, so now would be a good time to hit the library and read these books before they go the way of Bicentennial Man. Unless you’ve already read them, in which case now would be a good time to cry.

Nike to Produce Marty McFly’s Shoes?

It’s the best idea Nike has had in years, and it’s not at all new. In 1989 film fans everywhere flocked to see Back to the Future: Part II, sequel to the single greatest film ever made. In said film, Marty McFly traveled though time to the year 2015. The future was filled with 3D sequels to movies, books sold in antique shops, and shoes with automatic laces. And while 3D movies are everywhere now, and bookstores are closing left and right, we still hadn’t nailed down the intricacies of the ‘auto lace’. Untill now.

This is from The High Definate:

Last year, word got out that legendary Nike designer Tinker Hatfield and company filed a patent for an Automatic Lacing System similar to the technology featured on the “Marty McFly” Nike Air Mags in Back To The Future II. Since then, fanboys and sneakerheads alike have been speculating that Nike was working on a real-life version of the Air Mags. Speculate no more, because those shits are coming.

Around midnight tonight, members of the media and the fashion world got calls from Nike inviting them out to Los Angeles for a top-secret special event, hosted by Hatfield himself. Following the calls, a video by a YouTube user named DocEmmettBrown88 dropped the following video, showing what appears to be “shelves and shelves of 2011 Nike MAG shoes”.

Here’s the video…

This news was sent to me by several people over the last 12 hours or so as most everyone knows my affinity for the movies, and I wouldn’t be true to myself if this really comes out and I don’t buy a pair. So for the first time ever, Nike is guaranteed some of my cash. Or rather some of my Credit Card company’s cash…

Now bring on that hoverboard!

Comic Con 2011: The Walking Dead Interview with Creator Robert Kirkman!

The Walking Dead season two trailer was revealed at Conic Con yesterday, and is now online! This trailer shows SO MANY different things that I had to watch it twice. So we’ve got it for you, but first here’s some words from Creator Robert Kirkman who did an interview with Entertainment Weekly.

This is how it went:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So what can fans expect at your panel?

ROBERT KIRKMAN: We’re bringing out more actors this year. I’m hoping to get some awkward questions from the audience that I can’t answer too well. And I’ll be wearing a different shirt. Last year my favorite was: “Why aren’t you filming the show in Los Angeles?”

I love the Georgia setting. When you watch Justified — it’s a great show, but it looks like Santa Clarita.

And one of the best things about this season is we’re getting out of Atlanta. It’s very rural. You’re going to see a lot more woods. One of the main set pieces is this farmhouse. It’s going to be pretty awesome, like an Andrew Wyeth painting — with zombies.

In the clip that was released, Rick Grimes is using a rock to kill zombies. Are they running low on ammo?

We’re going to see them run short on pretty much everything this season. It’s going to be a desperate season for our cast. Ammo, food and supplies are going to be scarce, which of course makes it much more fun.

Does the high ratings set by the first season, with only six episodes, put you under pressure for the longer second season?

If we were just coming back for six episodes, it might be more pressure. But we’re confident if you liked the first season, you’re going to really like the second season. It’s everything you liked about the first season, but more of it.

Does the second season follow the comic book more or less than the first?

It’s about as close as the first season, which in my opinion is very faithful to the comic book. The first season took a huge departure in the last episodes. The overall story line is very much taken from the second collection. But there’s also going to be things in there that come out of left field that will leave you completely shocked.

Anything more you can tell us?

We’ve got a tremendous amount of tension between Rick and Shane, with them butting heads. We’ve got Maggie Greene introduced, who’s a potential love interest for Glenn. We’ll possibly be seeing some romance. I think romance and zombies go well together.

Grizzly Review: Battle: Los Angeles

I’m a huge fan of movies involving extra terrestrials, [Ed. – ET for Life!] and there here has been a whole slew of them in the past year. None though stood out to me, or left a real lasting impression. I either disliked the aliens in them, or the cast of human characters trying to survive against them. Out of District 9, Monsters, and Skyline – I really only took a liking to District 9. Monsters didn’t show me enough aliens and Skyline had too many idiotic humans in it. But then I watched Battle LA.

Battle: Los Angeles was basically a simple storyline with excellent visuals. But being simple didn’t by any means make it a terrible movie. By simple I mean “Aliens are here killing people. We had better kick their asses.” which makes up pretty much 85% of the movie, but all the fire fights between the marines and aliens never wore thin for me. It was spread out and the scenes in between gave chances (albeit sparse) for character development. They also gave a nice overview of the characters at the beginning.

The cast was pretty rounded, very well put together. You get to see Ramon Rodriguez in a not so annoying role as a young commanding officer, as opposed to his vomit-inducing portrayal of Leo Spitz in the crap pile that was Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

Bridget Moynahan and Michael Pena were good, though both felt under-utilized. To their credit though, as civilians they didn’t bog the movie down at all and their characters actually enhanced scenes.

Even Michelle Rodriguez took a departure from her normal role as “Female Hardass Character who Yells a lot” in to a more realistic Air Force intel specialist who can fire a rifle. Still no ‘Damsel in Distress’, but something different for her. And then our hero of the movie, Aaron Eckhart. Eckhart was solid and believable as Marine Corp Staff Sargent Nantz, who was actually on his way out of the Corps when the alien aggressors launched their invasion. It’s his experience that gets our cast of characters moving.

The cast also includes a great young ensemble of actors as the grunts, including Cory Hardrict (Gran Turino), Noel Fisher (Terriers), and Will Rothhaar (Jack Frost). Hell, we even had child actor Bryce Cass, who was better than twenty Jake Lloyd‘s could have ever been!

Now I’m expecting a lot of people to ‘rabble rabble‘ about how cliché and melodramatic Eckhart’s couple of speeches to the troops are, but personally I had no problem with them. In terms of melodrama Independence Day still takes the cake on that one. And while I may feel the different about Battle: Los Angeles in about ten years, right now, I thought it was well done and heartfelt.

The movie was shot in a familiar way, the closest thing I can think of being Black Hawk Down, in terms of the urban warfare and house-to-house fighting. The camera utilized the ever-popular ‘shaky sense of urgency’ during the battle scenes, making you feel like you were in the middle of a firefight, actually watching the aliens landing in L.A. And their drone ships hovering all about the war-torn landscape of Los Angeles gave me goosebumps.

The aliens themselves overall were done pretty well. You only catch glimpses of them at first as they ambush our brave marines and seem nearly unkillable. After a certain point though, a weakness is obviously discovered, and then it’s game on.

The aliens reasoning for attacking Earth (which I won’t spoil) may initially sound stupid, but makes perfect sense once you think about it. If anyone out there is a fan of military movies, and alien invasions then this movie is the best of both worlds for you. Good pacing, great cast, and realistic looking effects.

It’s also very refreshing to see it win the weekend box office up against a variety of animated kids films and a Red Riding Hood-Twilight hybrid with a $36 million rake in. (Box Office Mojo)


Overall I give this movie a 4 out 5 Bears