Wednesday, June 27, 2012

10 facts on softball

Daniel Brizuela                                                                                                                                  6/4/12
10 facts on softball.
1. More than 100 countries play softball.
2. Softball is the number one participation team sport in the United States.
3. It was invented in 1887 by George Hancock.
4. The original ball was soft enough that a glove was unnecessary.
5. A game is played in 7 innings.
6. The 1996 Olympics was the first Olympics to have softball for women.
7. In 2005 the Olympics committee dropped the game entirely, and 2010 was the first Games without softball.
8. Softball became a part of the NCAA in 1910.
9. In World Championship competitions, the United States has the best women’s teams and Australia has the best men’s teams.
10. The Amateur Softball Association is the strongest softball organization in the country.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Box-office bombs

Daniel Brizuela                                                                                                                                3/29/12
Box-Office Bombs.
            In the business of film-making one thing that many people fear is making a film that turns out to make under the budget, otherwise known as a box-office bomb. This can happen to small and big budgeted films, highly praised or highly hated films, some could be directed by a very well known and loved director and/or with very much loved stars, based on something that was highly popular, a sequel, remake, anything.
            A film becoming a box-office bomb can happen for a number of reasons, one is that most are because they have such high budgets that it’s almost impossible to get back how much a certain movie owes when it was made. Another is because of the current social media since of how one person can connect with so many different people at once and tell them about either how well or bad the film is. The other way a film ends up becoming a box-office bomb is through weak advertising where they didn’t show enough of the film and so not a lot of people knew about it and bad publicity which is when someone associated with the film or the film offends certain people or does something that make audiences not want to see the film at all.
            The biggest film to become a box-office bomb is the 1995 pirate action-adventure Cutthroat Island, directed by Renny Harlin and starring Geena Davis and Matthew Modine. With a regular budget of $98 million, it only went on to make over eighteen and a half million dollars, gaining the Guinness World Record of biggest flop of all time. The failure alone of the film made it Carolco Pictures’ last film it produced before going bankrupt and going out of business. Ironically, though, the film’s music by John Debney is considered one of the best known swashbuckling film scores of all time.
            Other examples of movies that went on to become high box-office bombs are the 2004 war film The Alamo, the highly regarded 1964 epic The Fall of the Roman Empire, and Disney’s 2002 Treasure Planet. Films that were small box-office bombs include 1994s Texas Chainsaw Massacre: A New Generation, 2010s Green Zone, 1999s The Insider, the Jack Nicholson and Marlon Brando 1976 pairing The Missouri Breaks, and many other films.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Midnight in Paris review

Daniel Brizuela                                                                                                                                4/19/12
Midnight in Paris review.
            In 2011, Woody Allen, released a film he had completed in 2010, starring Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Kathy Bates, Marion Cotillard, and other great actors. That film is Midnight in Paris, a romantic fantasy comedy that Allen himself once again wrote and directed.
            The film has Owen Wilson playing a writer vacationing in Paris, and with a love of 1920s Paris art, with his fiancĂ© who’s played by McAdams. After walking through the streets of Paris drunk he stops and after a clock striking midnight is invited by some people in old style clothing being driven in a 1920s style car. It is then that Wilson’s character, Gil Pender, realizes how beautiful and magical the city of Paris, France can really be.
            Pender realizes that the spot he was in at midnight takes him back in time to one of the Golden Ages of art in 1920s Paris. It is there that he meets many of his favorite idols, including Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Salvador Dali, and many other famous 1920s art figures. He also starts to fall in love with Pablo Picasso’s mistress Adriana, played by Marion Cotillard, and spends a lot of time with her in the past.
            Inez, Pender’s fiancĂ©e, doesn’t believe in any of his stories that he tells and isn’t as overwhelmed in Parisian art as Gil is. Near the end Gil realizes that Inez is cheating on him with a friend of hers that she adored and they both call off the wedding. Before that, Gill and Adriana end up in 1890s Paris which is also considered a Golden Age in art with Adriana deciding to stay and Gill deciding to stay in his own present.
            At the end Gil and Inez have broken up and Gil decides that he wants to stay and leave in Paris because of how beautiful it is. While walking in midnight, Pender runs into an antiques dealer he earlier met named Gabrielle, who, like him, also likes Paris in the rain.
            Midnight in Paris turned out to be one of Woody Allen’s best films he’s ever made, becoming the highest grossing he’s ever directed. At the 84th Academy Awards, the film was nominated for Best Picture and Best Director and won for Best Original Screenplay.

Changing Medium

Same character, different actors

Daniel Brizuela                                                                                                                                4/26/12
Same character, different actor.
            When it comes to film franchises and series that have gone on for years, even decades, there are numerous things you can expect from the films. One of them is how different actors succeeded in portraying one character from someone else for a number of reasons.
            One of the most famous characters with different portrayals is British secret agent James Bond since 1954 to now. At first he was played by Barry Nelson in the live Climax! special of Casino Royale, then eight years later the first Bond film in the EON series had Sean Connery play Bond. Connery first played Bond in 1962s Dr. No, and reprised his role four more times until 1967 with You Only Live Twice when he decided to retire from the role. George Lazemby replaced Connery as Bond for his only appearance as the suave agent in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service in 1969 and then left thinking the series wouldn’t be as successful in the ‘70s since it would only succeed with Sean in the role, where he was succeeded by Connery two years later for Diamonds are Forever after deciding to have a go one more time. It was Connery’s last as Bond in the EON franchise before playing Bond again in the 1983 non-EON remake of 1965s Thunderball, Never Say Never Again. After Diamonds, Roger Moore, who was two years older than Connery, played Bond for seven films and proved to be a bigger success than Connery. He began with Live and Let Die in 1973 and ended twelve years later with A View to a Kill at 57, and left after that feeling too old for the part. After him was Timothy Dalton with only two films, The Living Daylights and Licence to Kill, before a legal dispute prevented more Bond films for the next six years. When the dispute was settled, Pierce Brosnan was the new Bond for four movies from 1995, with GoldenEye, to 2002, with Die Another Day. The current Bond is Daniel Craig, the first born after the series started, and with him having to reboot the whole franchise with the 2006 and 2008 two-part Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace and this year Skyfall.
            Another famous character to be played by more than one person is the DC comic superhero Batman, since the 1943 serial. At first played by Lewis Wilson, father of the current James Bond producer, then by Robert Lowery in another serial in 1949. He was famously played by Adam West in the late 1960s television show and movie of Batman that was considered campy. In between the show and the 1989 movie, Batman was voiced by several different actors in different animated television shows. In 1989, a new Batman film series began with Michael Keaton playing Batman and then reprising the role once in ’92. The next two Batman films, which were made more lighthearted, had Val Kilmer in 1995 and George Clooney in 1997 in the role. It wasn’t until 2005 when Christian Bale took over the role as the Caped Crusader for Batman Begins and then for the sequels The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises.
            There are as many other characters played by different actors as there for those who’ve only been played by one. Others include Hulk, Sherlock Holmes, Jesus Christ, Godzilla, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, Inspector Clouseau, and many more.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Avenger's review

Daniel Brizuela                                                                                                                                5/14/12
The Avengers review.
            Since the early 1960s, many people became fascinated by MARVEL’s answer to DC’s Justice League, The Avengers. With such famous comic book heroes like Iron Man, Captain America, The Hulk, Thor, and so many other MARVEL characters it’s no wonder.
            Ever since superhero movies really took off in the early 2000s, fans have wanted there to be a film on the Avengers. It was 2008s Iron Man, where fans got their first glimpse at what would eventually become a series of superhero films leading up to an Avengers film.
            The excitement all started when Iron Man, directed by Jon Favreau and Robert Downey, Jr., in the title role that fixed his career after his decade long drug abuse in the 1990s, came out and they saw a scene after the credits ended where Samuel L. Jackson plays Nick Fury, the leader of S.H.I.E.L.D, telling Tony Stark that he’s not the only superhero in the world, and telling him of the Avengers Initiative. Originally that was put there as a joke for the fans since no one thought that Iron Man would become the success that it became.
            It was because of the success of Iron Man that eventually led to the idea of making an Avengers film seriously. After Iron Man, there was a scene added near the end of The Incredible Hulk the same year, which had Stark talking with the general in charge of hunting down the Hulk about putting a team together. Two years later Iron Man 2 was released and it too became a huge success thus making an Avengers film more possible. To show that iron Man wasn’t alone the post-credits scene had an S.H.I.E.L.D agent arrive in New Mexico to study what looks like Thor’s hammer in a crater.
            In 2011, two more movies were made that would eventually lead into The Avengers, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger. First was Thor, with Australian Chris Hemsworth in the role and directed by Shakespearean actor/director Kenneth Branagh. In it, Thor has to learn how to get back home when he’s vanished to Earth in order to defeat his brother Loki while learning what it means to be a hero from humans. On the film’s post-credit scene, Fury shows one of the scientists that Thor befriended the Cosmic Cube and on his reflection is Loki, foreshadowing that he’s the main villain of The Avengers.
            The second 2011 film, Captain America, has Chris Evans in the role of Super Soldier Steve Rogers, directed by Joe Johnston. In it, weak and small Steve Rogers become buffed up and given tremendous strength, healing, and memory along with his iconic shield to fight the Nazis in World War Two and its science division HYDRA, led by The Red Skull, also given the Super Soldier serum but with bad results. HYDRA uses the Cosmic Cube as a weapon against its enemies, but thanks to Rogers they’re defeated, but in doing so he ends up frozen in the Arctic with only the Cube found. Captain next awakes in 1940s-style hospital room, but escapes and sees present-day Times Square and meets Fury telling he’s been frozen for over 70 years. The post-credit scene has Rogers training in a gym with Fury telling him about a mission that could help the world.
            That was the last scene shown before The Avengers came out at the beginning of May of 2012, which proved to be the long awaiting film it was going to be. In it, Loki arrives on Earth and steals the Cosmic Cube from S.H.I.E.L.D, along with a mind controlled Hawkeye and the scientist from Thor. After that, Fury has Agent Coulson recruit Stark, although still reluctant, and Black Widow recruit Bruce Banner, now played by Mark Ruffalo, voluntarily. When it looks like Iron Man and Captain America captured Loki, after Thor intervenes but decided let them take Loki, it all turns out to be part of Loki’s plan to turn Banner into the Hulk and divide the team.
            At first it works, but when Loki kills Coulson, who they all knew a lot, they all decide to work together to defeat Loki, with Hawkeye joining after being knocked out of the mind control. Loki opens a portal for a race of warrior aliens to go through and take over. Tony uses a new suit, Banner accepts the Hulk as a part of him which gives him control, and Captain America leads the team thanks to his military skills. The team defeats the alien army by driving a nuclear missile fired by the government to Manhattan and diverted by Stark through the portal to the alien ship. This helps the Avengers win the battle and at the end they all go their separate ways and Fury notes that if the world is in trouble, the Avengers will return. After the credits, the aliens realize they underestimated Earth and you see Thanos in the shadows.
            The Avengers has already become one of the greatest films of all time, having achieved great critical acclaim. The film has gotten praise in pretty much everything including its direction by Joss Whedon, its action, the actors-especially Ruffalo’s take on Banner surpassing Bana and Norton-, and many other things. The film had the biggest opening weekend for any film beating out the last Harry Potter film and the first to make over 200 million dollars and earning over a billion dollars in just 17 days, tying with Avatar and the last Harry Potter. Even then, they’re not done making more films as there will be more sequels to Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, Thor, and spinoffs for Fury, S.H.I.E.L.D, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and other superhero films that will lead to more Avengers films.