Tag Archives: San Francisco

Alcatraz: Season 1, Episode 4 – “Cal Sweeney” Review

In this episode of Alcatraz we follow the events surrounding Cal Sweeney (Eric Johnson), a suave bank robber known for his theft of safety deposit box items. He is not a violent criminal unless things don’t go his way.

With episode 4, after our characterization of Dr. Soto (Jorge Garcia), we get back to the same feel that the first two episodes had. This episode had both the feel of a procedural cop drama and a mystery.

Spoilers Ahead>>>>>

Continue reading Alcatraz: Season 1, Episode 4 – “Cal Sweeney” Review

Alcatraz: Season 1, Episode 3 – “Kit Nelson” Review

I was really looking forward to watching another episode of Alcatraz ever since the end of episode 2 last week. Shows that revolve around a big mystery, like this one, always seem to leave me wanting more and episode 3 falls in line perfectly.

Episode 3 is about a child killer, who would kidnap his victims and return their bodies home 2 days later, reappears from the past, spurring a manhunt. However that’s only part of the story. Much of episode 3 is used to give some much needed characterization to Dr. Diego “Doc” Soto (Jorge Garcia).

Spoilers Ahead>>>> 

In last weeks review I said that I wasn’t totally sold on the idea of Doc as Rebecca’s (Sarah Jones) sidekick and that remains true, but only because he spends so much time in the field. I totally understand his role in the show but I feel like the writers may be taking things too far by allowing him to run around and get shot at so much.

I can’t complain too much though because I’m a huge fan of Castle. At least he has a vest.

Kit Nelsons (Michael Eklund) confession to the warden about killing his brother was incredibly creepy. His facial expressions alone while describing what he did were just crazy and they took the show to a much darker place than I expected.

I’m also left wondering what role Thomas “Tommy” Madsen (David Hoflin) plays in the conspiracy. The way he is shown interacting with all the inmates leads me to believe he has something more to do with what’s going on.

I’m glad the writers spent an episode on the topic of Doc not fitting in. His character needed a little more fleshing out so he wasn’t just a cardboard cutout representation of a nerd who knows too much.

As I predicted each episode is leaving the viewer with more questions than answers, but it is managing to do it in an entertaining way. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in the upcoming episodes.

4/5 Bears

In case you missed it, here is a look at Episode 4!

Alcatraz: Season 1, Episodes 1 & 2 – ‘Pilot’ & ‘Ernest Cobb’ Review

I’ve always been very interested in Alcatraz Island ever since seeing Clint Eastwood in Escape From Alcatraz. So when I heard that J.J. Abrams was going to be producing a Sci-Fi/Drama series that revolved around the island I was immediately intrigued.

I sat down to watch the first two episodes and was not disappointed. The show drew me into it’s mystery the same way that LOST use to. Here is a quick summary of the plot of Alcatraz so far.

SPOILERS AHEAD>>>>>>>

“When San Francisco Police Department Det. Rebecca Madsen (Sarah Jones) is assigned to a grisly homicide case, a fingerprint leads her to Jack Sylvane (Jeffrey Pierce), a former Alcatraz Island prisoner who died decades ago. Given her family history— both her grandfather and surrogate uncle, Ray Archer (Robert Forster), were guards at the prison —Madsen’s interest is immediately piqued, and once an enigmatic, government agent Emerson Hauser (Sam Neill) tries to impede her investigation, she is doggedly committed.

Madsen turns to Alcatraz expert and comic book enthusiast Dr. Diego “Doc” Soto (Jorge Garcia) to piece together the inexplicable sequence of events. The twosome discovers that Sylvane is not only alive, but he is loose on the streets of San Francisco, leaving bodies in his wake. And strangely, he has not aged a day since he was in Alcatraz, when the prison was ruled by the iron-fisted Warden Edwin James (Jonny Coyne) and the merciless Associate Warden E.B. Tiller (Jason Butler Harner).
Madsen and Doc reluctantly team with Agent Hauser and his technician, Lucy Banerjee (Parminder Nagra), to stop Sylvane’s vengeful killing spree. By delving into Alcatraz history, government cover-ups and Rebecca’s own heritage, the team will ultimately discover that Sylvane is only a small part of a much larger, more sinister present-day threat. For while he may be the first, it quickly becomes clear that Sylvane will not be the last prisoner to reappear from Alcatraz.

Through the course of the investigation, Madsen and Soto will learn that the government has been upgrading the prison since its closing for a reopening to house America’s darkest criminals once more. In the process, Madsen will be forced to see everything she thought she knew about her family’s past shattered, all while fighting to keep the country safe from the country’s most dangerous criminals, locking them behind “The Rock’s” bars once more.”

Thanks Wikipedia!

Now that that’s out-of-the-way here are some of my thoughts on the show.
Alcatraz kicked off the series very strongly with an opening narration by Sam Neill that reminded me of Unsolved Mysteries or The Twilight Zone. That along with the quick introduction of the mystery the show revolves around immediately had me hooked.

The writers seem to be using flashback in the same way that it was used on LOST to reveal elements of character and plot, which I like. I thought it was used well on LOST and if the writing stays strong on Alcatraz it won’t become a problem. I also like that the flashbacks are interconnected, but considering the majority of the characters are in a prison together that’s to be expected.


Sarah Jones (Justified, Sons of Anarchy) plays Rebecca well in a tough but cute, Nancy Drew sort of way. I think she has serious potential to do well as a strong female lead.
Jorge Garcia (Lost) is awesome as always and plays Rebecca’s side kick really well. I’m not totally sold on why his character is her partner, but I’m willing to let it slide for now.
Sam Neill (Jurassic Park) is amazing as Emerson Hauser. Nothing else to say about that really. I am really looking forward to seeing what we learn about his character in the upcoming episodes.

All things considered, I was left with many more questions than answers. I still have no theory on what happened to the staff and prisoners of Alcatraz or why they’re coming back. However I will be coming back to watch this show to find out.

4/5 Bears

NFL Playoff Preview: Saturday

New Orleans (14-3) at San Francisco (13-3): 4:30 ET on Fox

These are two teams that match up against each other very well and should provide for a pretty entertaining start to the NFL Playoff weekend. The golden rule of NFL playoffs has been that Defense wins championships, and this match up should put a good test to that theory. The Saints have the number one rated pass attack in a season where they averaged 334.2 passing yards per game and Drew Brees shattered Dan Marino’s long-standing passing yard record. The Saints rushing game was solid as well averaging 132.9 yards per game, good enough to be sixth in the league.

The 49ers finished 13-3 with Alex Smith as their Quarterback, throwing for an average of only 183.1 (29th) yards per game. That and the fact that they held opponents to the league’s stinginess 77.2 rushing yards per game tells you enough about the Niners. They are about defense, running the ball and making the most of turnovers. The 49ers defense led the league with a +28 turnover ratio forcing 23 interceptions and 15 fumbles versus 5 of each from their side. Compare that with New Orleans -3 ratio and you can see what one of the major keys of the game is for San Francisco.

At face value and admittedly not having watched the majority of either the Saints or 49ers games I was pretty ready to make the bold prediction that the Niners would shut down the high-flying Saints and win a “we dominated more than the final score illustrates” kind of game. Looking at the regular season games however I may have to give the Saints more credit than I initially thought they deserved.

Continue reading NFL Playoff Preview: Saturday

NFL Grizzly Picks of the Week: Week 4

You get 1 point for picking the favorite correctly, and 2 points for an upset win or a pick’em game. Our picks will be in BOLD and upset picks are denoted by a *

So, here are the scores headed into Week 3…

Kaiser      Kronner
14                    9 

And our picks for Week 4:

Rev. Kaiser

Carolina @ Chicago (Vegas Line – Bears by 6.5)
Minnesota @ Kansas City (Vegas Line – Viks by 1.5)   
*Tennessee @ Cleveland  (Vegas Line – Browns by 1) 
San Francisco @ Philly (Vegas Line – Eagles by 7.5)
N’Orleans @ Jacksonville (Vegas Line – Saints by 7)  
NY Giants @ Arizona (Vegas Line – Giants by 1.5) 
Denver @ Green Bay  (Vegas Line – Packers by 13)
NY Jets @ Baltimore (Vegas Line – Ravens by 3.5)

Kaiser can get up to 9 points this week.

Dr. Kronner

*Detroit @ Dallas  (Vegas Line – Cowboys by 1)
Buffalo @ Cincinnati  (Vegas Line – Bills by 3)
*Washington @ St. Louis (Vegas Line – Pick’em/Line is 0)
Pittsburgh @ Houston (Vegas Line – Texans by 4)
Atlanta @ Seattle  (Vegas Line – Falcons by 4.5)
New England @ Oakland (Vegas Line – Pats by 4.5)
Miami @ San Diego (Vegas Line – Chargers by 7)
Indianapolis @ Tampa Bay (Vegas Line – Bucs by 10)

Kronner can get up to 10 points this week.

So there we have it, check back next week to see how the grudge match it working itself out…

Feel free to post your own picks in the comment section below…

NFL Grizzly Picks of the Week: Week 3

For the rest of the year Kaiser and I will split up each week’s games and we’ll see who is smarter. We’ll split the games down the middle. And while we are simply picking winners, we’ll use the Vegas line determine the favorites. You get 1 point for picking the favorite correctly, and 2 points for an upset win. Our picks will be in BOLD and upset picks are denoted by a *

So, here are the scores headed into Week 3…

Kaiser      Kronner
6                    4 

Well, that was embarrassing. Perhaps I’ll lay off the upsets this week…

And our picks for Week 3:

Rev. Kaiser

*San Fran @ Cincinnati (Vegas Line – Bengals by 2.5)
Detroit @ Minnesota (Vegas Line – Lions by 3.5)   
*Miami @ Cleveland 
 (Vegas Line – Browns by 2.5) 
*Houston @ New Orleans 
(Vegas Line – Saints by 4)
Baltimore @ St. Louis (Vegas Line – Ravens by 3.5)  
KC @ San Diego (Vegas Line – Chargers by 14.5) 
*Arizona @ Seattle 
 (Vegas Line – Cardinals by 3.5)
Pittsburgh @ Indy (Vegas Line – Steelers by 10.5)

The Road Warrior Kaiser can get up to 12 points this week.

Dr. Kronner

Jags @ Carolina  (Vegas Line – Panthers by 3.5)
Denver @ Tennessee  (Vegas Line – Titans by 7)
NY Giants @ Philly (Vegas Line – Eagles by 7)
NewEngland @ Buffalo (Vegas Line – Pats by 8.5)
*NY Jets @ Oakland  (Vegas Line – Jets by 3.5)
*Green Bay @ Chicago (Vegas Line – Pack by 3.5)
*Atlanta @ Tampa Bay (Vegas Line – Bucs by 1.5)
Washington @ Dallas (Vegas Line – ‘boys by 5)

Kronner can get up to 11 points this week.

So there we have it, check back next week to see how the grudge match it working itself out…

Feel free to post your own picks in the comment section below…

NFL Grizzly Picks of the Week: Week 2

 

Last week Rev. Kaiser claimed he knew more about football than you, and then he went on to correctly guess 9 of the remaining 15 games – which is roughly 60%.

That’s not great, but he still thinks he is awesome, so we’re gonna do something new. Well, for the rest of the year he and I will split up each week’s games and we’ll see who is smarter.

We’ll count week one as a warm up, so Kaiser gets a clean slate. From here out we’ll split the games down the middle. And while we are simply picking winners, we’ll use the Vegas line determine the favorites.

You get 1 point for picking the favorite correctly, and 2 points for an upset win. Our picks will be in BOLD and upset picks are denoted by a *

So, here we go…

Rev. Kaiser

Kansas City @ Detroit (Vegas Line – Lions by 8 )
*Cleveland @ Indy (Vegas Line – Browns by 2)  
Green Bay @ Carolina 
(Vegas Line – Packers by 10)
Baltimore @ Tennessee
(Vegas Line – Ravens by 6)
Jacksonville @ NY Jets (Vegas Line – Jets by 9)  
Cincinnati @ Denver (Vegas Line – Broncos by 3.5)
Houston
@ Miami 
(Vegas Line – Texans by 3)
St. Louis @ NY Giants (Vegas Line – Giants by 6)

Kaiser can get up to 9 points this week.

Dr. Kronner

*Oakland @ Buffalo  (Vegas Line – Bills by 3)
Chicago @ New Orleans  (Vegas Line – Saints by 6.5)
Tampa Bay @ Minnesota  (Vegas Line – Vikings by 3)
Seattle @ Pittsburgh  (Vegas Line – Steelers by 14)
*Arizona @ Washington  (Vegas Line – ‘skins by 3.5)
Dallas @ San Francisco  (Vegas Line – Cowboys by 3)
*San Diego @ New England  (Vegas Line – Pats by 7)
*Philadelphia @ Atlanta  (Vegas Line – Eagles by 2.5)

Kronner can get up to 12 points this week.

So there we have it, check back next week to see how the grudge match it working itself out…

Feel free to post your own picks in the comment section below…

Alex Trebek Chases Off Hotel Room Burglar

Alex Trebek chased an extremely ugly burglar out of his hotel room Tuesday, tackling her (yes, I said her) and then giving her a stunning snap kick to the face. It was so harsh that it LITERALLY ruptured his Achilles tendon, but he still stood up and looked down at her and said it looks like your face is in JEOPARDY!

Below is an actual, in the moment photo of him tackling the burglar with a confident smile on his face.

Okay, so none of the above happened. But you can only imagine if it had. I’m glad the 71 year old game show host did chase the criminal down and she was caught. Here’s the real story from CNN below:

Alex Trebek, longtime host of the television quiz show “Jeopardy,” was injured while chasing a burglar out of his hotel room early Tuesday.

The 71-year-old TV personality revealed his condition at the National Geographic World Championship in San Francisco. Footage shot by CNN affiliate KGO showed Trebek taking the long way to the stage, hobbling on crutches up the disabled-access ramp. He placed his crutches to one side and hopped over to the podium, where he told his story with the dry wit “Jeopardy” fans have come to love.

“I deal with answers and questions,” Trebek told the crowd. “And today I’m going to start with the answer to a question I suspect is on many of your minds right now. The answer is ‘At 2:30 yesterday morning, chasing a burglar down the hall … until my Achilles tendon ruptured and I fell in an ignominious heap, bruising my other leg in the process.”

That’s some classic shit right there, Trebek telling the crowd what happened in the answer and question form that he uses on Jeopardy. If this guy ever dies they had better have some sort of android replica of him in storage somewhere because I will never watch Jeopardy again without Alex Trebek.

Rock on you classy sonuvabitch!

Random-Ass Movie Reviews: The Rock

Back in 1996 Micheal Bay was and up and coming Director, with only the 1995 credit Bad Boys to his name, and pension for blowing things up. He had not yet sullied his name with predictably bad sequels like Bad Boys II or the Transformers movies. In fact, the movies he did in the 90’s, though now a bit cliché, were some of the decades best action epics.

The brightest spot on his resume has to be The Rock. This was a movie about a group of Marines who steal 15 chemical weapon powered rockets. They then threaten to launch said rockets against the city of San Francisco from Alcatraz Island, where they are holding 81 hostages. His demands require that all the men that has died under his watch, on Black Ops missions, be recognized as heroes and their families be rewarded a million dollars a piece from dirty money seized from weapons sales. His motives are actually noble which sets him aside from most antagonists in the genre. An honorable man pushed too far, the character is relatable and for that this movie is more than your run of the mill Dwayne Johnson/Vin Diesel movie. So in a joint operation, the FBI and a group of Navy SEALS must get onto the island and squash the threat. In 1996 I was all of 13, and when I walked into the theater I found my self thoroughly entertained for the entire 136 minute ride. Here we are now, 15 years later and the movie still holds up.

Our old buddy Nic Cage is our hero. He plays a chemical weapons specialist with the FBI named Stanley Goodspeed, and Sean Connery is basically an old James Bond. Ed Harris and David Morse play our missile thieves, and there are a slew of other recognizable faces as the movie goes on.

When we met Goodspeed, he is in the lab with Todd Louiso (High Fidelity, Snakes on a Plane) and Xander Berkley (24, Terminator 2) attempting to disarm a poisonous gas bomb. After succeeding he goes home to then learn that his girlfriend is pregnant, which only adds to his desperation to survive later on.

General Hummel (Harris) then makes the threat to launch the stolen rockets into the Bay Area. It is then that Goodspeed is called to San Fran because of his knowledge of the VX Gas used in the rockets. Once he arrives he meets John Mason (Connery), and we learn that Mason has been held, nameless and with no trial for over 30 years. Because however, he is the only man to ever escape Alcatraz, he is to be sent in with the SEAL team to guide them through the tunnels of the former prison. He is however told nothing of the rockets.

Once on the island, the SEAL team is led by none other than Michael Biehn (The Terminator, Aliens, Navy Seals, Tombstone) who promptly get his entire team killed. Nice job Mike! You can see Hummel takes no joy from having to kill more soldiers, but some of his men don’t seem to share his pain. With the destruction of the SEAL team, this leaves only Mason and Goodspeed to diffuse the rockets. And it’s only after Mason is let in on the real threat that he decides to help Stanley complete the mission. Thus truly begins The Rock as Connery delivers one of his greatest quotes ever…

So Mason and Goodspeed continue on in hopes of saving the day and are able to disable 12 of the 15 rockets before the John C. McGinley (Platoon, Se7en, Scrubs) led Marine team interrupts them. Things don’t end well for Dr. Cox however, as Mason lights his ass on fire. Booyah.

General Hummel then announces over the Island PA system that if the guidance chips removed from the rockets are not returned, he will execute a hostage. Upon hearing this Mason sends Goodspeed after the rockets and he heads to confront Hummel. This is the first time either of our heroes come face to face with the General, and it is not a battle of fists, but of minds as Mason and Hummel banter…

After this Goodspeed is able to take out only one of the remaining three rockets before being taken into custody. This now leaves Mason and Goodspeed prisoners, with the Marines still controlling 2 rockets.

Mason however did escape once, as it turns out, he still remembers how and they free themselves from their cells. Not in time however to stop the launch of one of the rockets. Luckily Mason’s instinct was right and Hummel is not a mad man, thus refusing to kill innocents. He diverts the rocket so it detonates underwater and causes a mutiny among his own men. The revolt, let by Tony Todd (Candyman, 24, Platoon) results directly in the deaths of Hummel, Major Baxter (Morse) and Crisp (Bokeem Woodbine). From here its a race to the last rocket and a question if Goodspeed can signal in time to call off the impending Air Strike. He does of course win the race and signal in time.

After this he is able to give Mason a give – his freedom. Goodspeed informs FBI Director Womack (John Spencer) that Mason has been vaporized. A lie that is helped along by Special Agent Paxton (William Forsythe). So Mason is free and all is good in the world.

I don’t feel that it would be a stretch to call this one of the best action movie of the last 20 years. I think this is before Michael Bay became so self-aware and you’re reminded of how he built his name. The pacing is good, really no lulls. The cast is great, and the dialogue, though often simplistic, is both powerful and memorable enough to quote. It’s a shame Bay hasn’t done anything of this quality in so long, but this is one of the movies that helped redefine the genre for the 90’s.

For what it is, I give it a strong 4.5 Bears.

ROBOCOP UPDATE

With 38 days still remaining before the deadline, donations for the ROBOCOP statue to be built-in Detroit has already met its goal. They were giving it till March 29th to raise $50,000. Well here we are on Feb. 16th, and they’ve already raised $50,769.

According to the Detroit Free Press the group in charge of the fund-raising will keep accepting donations until the original March 29th deadline and make the statue “as big and good as possible”. Supporters of the statue got a big boost Tuesday when San Francisco businessman, Pete Hottelet, donated $25,000.

He runs a company you may have heard of: Omni Consumer Products

If that name doesn’t sound familiar to you, you need to watch ROBOCOP again. They were the company in the movie that bought the Police and ran “New Detroit”.

Well Hottelet’s company isn’t one I was familiar with 20 minutes ago, but I instantly fell in love with. This OCP, instead of destroying Detroit, actually makes products based off of non-fictional items…

In addition to Ghostbuster’s Stay Puft Marshmallows, they also make Tru Blood Drinks, Anchorman inspired Sex Panther cologne, and the energy drink that destroyed the country in Idiocracy – Brawndo: The Thirst Mutilator.

Now it’s not yet decided exactly where the Robocop statue will stand, but if you’d like to be part of history, you can Donate Here

Please take a minute to vote below…

Alright. Article Over.

UPDATE: As of 10:41 am, on Wednesday Feb. 21st, the total is now at: $60,903