Friday, May 26, 2006

Box Office Poison reviews "X-Men III: That's all they can stand, they can't stands no more!"

The id and I - "X" marks the spot!

The film season shines down on "id island" again as the summer movie-machine spews out another "juggernaut" suitable for framing (and reviewing) - "X-Men III: The Last Stand."

The marvelous mutants are back with a vengeance for this third (and final?) installment of this comic book franchise with an extra chromosome. The premise: "A cure" is discovered for the mutants this time around and our friendly, sometimes furry, folk have to grapple with whether or not to "drink the Kool-Aid."

When we last left The X-Gang, mutant hottie Jean Grey got swept away in a wave of glory trying to save her friends (including boyfriend, Cyclops, and the the wolf she'd LIKE to find sleeping in her bed, Wolverine).

Cyclops is left alone in his room, sulking for his fallen sultry supergal, probably listening to old "Level 42" songs and drinking spare Heinekens he has on his nightstand (Beer: In case of emergency, break glass).

Meanwhile, on the other end of the mansion, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), Storm (Halle Berry) and Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) are left to pick up the pieces as their old fancy boy foe, Magneto (Ian McKellen), rants away - seeking to wage a war on humankind.

A lot of "new" characters are introduced, including "Angel" and "Juggernaut," along with "The Beast" (played with great delight by Kelsey Grammer who returns home to the mansion "where everybody knows his name...").

But it's Halle Berry as the stylish Storm - and Jackman as the snarling, sarcastic Wolverine - that bring "a touch of class ...and classlessness" to the third installment of this fabled comic franchise - and they are the mutant cornerstones that hold this fantasy foundation together.

When Jean Grey returns from the dead as "Dark Phoenix" the sexual chemistry between her character and Wolverine rages out of control ("There's no sex in your violence ...there's no sex in your violence ...THERE'S NO SEX IN YOUR VIOLENCE!") while Charles Xavier and Magneto produce their own amount of philosophical friction as they ping-pong back and forth between their own ethical mutant debate ("Everything Zen ...everything Zen-? I don't think so!").

Although I'm more of a "Green Lantern kind of guy" (McEditor's note: Why can't he make a river of green beer with that ring!), I find the story of "The X-Men" mostly entertaining, and engaging, enough. There's just something about misunderstood, misguided, mutants who are disgruntled and torn between using their odd powers for good - or evil - that fascinates me (but, keep in mind, I worked in the world of journalism for several years! My mutant name was: "Acid Tongue").

And thankfully, this time around, "the politics" are toned down a bit in "X-Men III" - as no one shackles the blue-haired Beast and imprisons his furry liberal ass down in Dick Cheney's "Democracy Dungeon" ...for simply wandering into a red state.

That being said, "X-Men III: The Last Stand" is a fun little romp through the realm of cinematic comic books, despite it's anti-climatic ending.

And it's quite a refreshing change of pace from that OTHER big box-office movie that has everyone talking about it's attempts to discredit and crush the Catholic church: "Mission Impossible III."

"X-Men III: The Last Stand" - Grade: B (For Beast-iality!)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Raiders of The Lost Snark

"Comedy is something that can bring persecutors and tyrants to their knees." -- Mel Brooks

Not to go all "Alanis Morissette" on you, but ...Thank you, Cleveland Cavaliers, for an incredible season! It just shows you, Cleveland, what some "fresh blood and new ideas" can do for a sports franchise - and a town - as a whole.

It may not be as "artisitically stimulating" as street mimes doing somersaults through laser beams set to The Cleveland Orchestra, but LeBron James is an artist in his own way - and the basketball court is his canvas.

I guess that would make this blog a box of Crayola crayons!

Nevertheless, kudos to Dan Gilbert for bringing his deep pockets and commitment to winning to Cleveland. Why would LeBron James want to go anywhere else - when he, in fact, has brought the world Cleveland.

New York City is the biggest media market in the world, yet the Knicks are in laughable shambles thanks to owner, James Dolan. Dolan, as owner of the Knicks, is solely responsible for bringing Larry Brown to ...New ...York. Waitaminute.

James Dolan-? Dolan-??? Where have I heard that name before...?

SWEET MOTHER, there's another one out there! Don't I have my hands full as it is - tackling the owner of the Tribe, Larry Dolan, on a daily basis! Now you're telling me the owner of The Cleveland Indians has an "evil twin" running around somewhere in New York, too! (One twin is thrifty, the other twin throws money at problems, but both are equally inept in the world of sports ownership!)

It's just like that episode of the old "Spider-Man" cartoon - where those two rogue acrobats (turned jewel thieves) dressed up in black Spider-Man costumes to create "double the trouble" for our friendly neighborhood web-slinger - and they framed him for a bank robbery he didn't commit (Yeah - it's, um, just like that).

Well, Larry Dolan has stolen our Cleveland Indians - and I want them back! "Stop THIEF!" And while we're at it, hand over Coco Crisp, Brandon Phillips and Bob Howry, too, you masher!

I don't need "a roundtable of sports sycophants" to show and tell me how lucky we are that the Indians aren't The Kansas City Royals. Gee, there's a winning philosophy, Ziggy!

If I wanted to be sold "a bill of goods," I'd buy a Ford from Grady Sizemore.

Okay, well, I see my time for this session is up, and my therapist is coming over to sedate me now...

So where was I-? Oh, yes! Thank you, Cleveland Cavaliers, for the best sports season since the Indians went to The World Series - TWICE (under Dick Jacobs). Now if we could only trade Larry Dolan ...for cash.

ON THE NEXT EPISODE OF WEB-RANTS: The Director of Public Relations for The Cleveland Indians joins our roundtable discussion as a "guest journalist" to "critique" the very team he works for - oh, no, wait. That would be just idiotic, wouldn't it...???

The id and I - "It's bananas!" (B-A-N-A-N-A-S)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Nelson Muntz to Rasheed Wallace: "Ha-ha! You overextended yourself!" (LeBron James, Anderson Varejao and Co. make Purina Piston Chow out of Detroit!)


That's the only thing you can say as a Cleveland sports fan, isn't it-?


LeBron James is "the James Bond of the NBA." Somehow, someway, despite all the odds - against ALL the odds - he finds a way to get the job done. And nobody does it better.


How can this be happening in Cleveland-? Has my own personal Oceanic Flight 815 somehow strayed off course from Cuyahoga County and crashed on some eerie sports-purgatory island where dreams become reality-? Where LeBron flies through the Cleveland skyline like Superman soars high above Metropolis-?

In a town inhabited by so many shameless wannabes - isn't it refreshing to rejoice about a homegrown Ohio kid who actually has ...talent. "So dark the con of Cleveland man." But to say LeBron James has "talent" is like saying that Albert Einstein was "a great patent clerk who was really good at math."

The Cleveland Cavaliers have DEFIED all the odds - and the national media - by winning 3 games against the dominating Detroit Pistons. Can these scrappy, swashbuckling b-ballers make it 4 games to swipe the series away from The Motor City Mad Men-?

Well, when a Superman like LeBron James is watching over your hometown of Cleveland, anything is possible...


Chris McVetta is a blogger who dabbles in sports commentary like Dan Brown dabbles in Da Vinci: Completely half-assed, yet oddly engaging!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Cleveland Indians vs. The Kansas City Royals: Swept Away like Madonna's acting career!

"Falling asleep at the wheel again, baby - You're drifting over the line (the line) - yeah! Your hands are tight but you're losing grip quickly. Fix me, can you read the signs-?"

So my beloved Cleveland Indians have just been swept by the lame Kansas City Royals - is there no justice in The Universe-?

Ah well, what is there left to say-? It's a sad state of affairs when the Indians have the talent that they do on their team - but there are few excuses that can be made for this sorry sight...

It's an exciting team: Grady Sizemore, Travis Hafner, Jhonny Peralta and Victor Martinez at the helm. Ben Broussard and Casey Blake have been playing with passion, which is a great thing.

But I'm sorry, kids, because I don't know how to solve this "X-Files" - as Scully and I swill beer from our hotel room out in Roswell in stunned disbelief.

Even C.C. Sabathia has - excuse the pun - "carried his weight" on this team since his triumphant return (and I'll be the first to admit that I have been critical of Sabathia here, but he has thankfully proven me wrong. Hand me the "Moron of the Millenium Award" - and I'll accept it graciously - and move on).

So, where do we go from here, as fans of The Tribe-? I simply don't know, folks. As Fox Mulder would often say: "I want to believe."

But the fact remains that this Tribe team is underachieving - and how anyone can fix a team with all this talent is a mystery still waiting to be solved...

"It ain't pretty - after the show. It ain't pretty when the pretty leaves you - with no place to go. If you think you want it - here's the place to get it. But it ain't pretty..."

Friday, May 05, 2006

Box Office Poison Reviews "Mission Impossible 3: The Spy Who Loved Scientology"

The id and I - "Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is follow your dreams (This blog will self-destruct in 15 minutes)."

Well, the summer movie season kicked off this weekend with "Mission Impossible III" - and it's a semi-tired spy tale to say the least.

Sure, this time around, the third installment of this somewhat-troubled franchise is now being helmed by Hollywood golden boy, J.J. Abrams ("Lost," "Alias") - which is a definite plus. But the movie, despite it's dynamic thrills and spills, still manages to leave something to be desired by discriminating summer movie mavens.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman faces off with Ethan Hunt (Crusie) as the megalomaniac prototype "Bond villain with a brain stem." But despite the best efforts of this fine actor from Capote - his character is never fully developed in a desirable complex fashion (as opposed to the glorious Alan Rickman who played "Hans Gruber" in the original Die Hard franchise: "I am an exceptional theif, Mrs. McClane, and since I'm moving up to kidnapping, you should be more polite...").

It's not Hoffman's fault - by any means - he just doesn't have a lot to work with here in regards to the screenplay. And, as any film buff knows, the best movies are defined by their villains (think Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor with Superman or Jack Nicholson as The Joker in the original Batman).

But be that as it may - J.J. Abrams does the best he can do with what he has to work with here. Unfortunately, by putting a "human spin" on Agent Ethan Hunt - it feels like Abrams is trying to fit an "Alias" square peg into a "Mission Impossible" hole (and fans of the TV show "Alias" know what I'm talking about here).

Yes, the action sequences in "M-I: III" are fast, fun and furious, no doubt. But Tom Cruise's off-the-set "escapades" make it too painful to watch at times as the film tries to paint him as a "caring family man." It feels like just another futile attempt to portray him as an actual human being capable of love with a beautiful actress in the limelight - and it doesn't work here (Art, again, imitating life).

Don't get me wrong: I like Tom Cruise as "an actor." When he's "an actor" in movies. A Few Good Men and Jerry Maguire are two of my favorite films with Tom Cruise at the helm. But the "love scenes" in "M-I: III" just seem a bit like more "public relations Scientology spin" in lieu of an actual storyline.

That being said, do yourself a favor, and buy the first two seasons of "Alias" on DVD - and watch them on some rainy afternoon. Now that's damn good drama with a superspy kick starring Jennifer Garner and a fine ensemble cast ...worth dying for.

Other than that, the only "Mission Impossible" left is to try and figure out how Mark Shapiro is going to make The Cleveland Indians "a winner" on their limited Larry Dolan dime store budget - and compete in their division with The Chicago White Sox and The Detroit Tigers ("I'm back, baby ...I'M BACK!!!").

I still think back to last summer when local Cleveland writer, Peter Chakerian, and myself sat up in the stands of Jacob's Field and watched Grady Sizemore play ball firsthand. I still remember as we turned and looked at each other and stated about Sizemore with stunned astonishment: "Man, this kid is going to be GREAT!" Well before any local or national media even knew who "a Grady Sizemore" was...

But that's the cost of being wacky Cleveland visionaries: PRICELESS.

"What does it matter to ya-? When you got a job to do - You got to do it WELL. You gotta give the other fella ...HELL!"

Mission ...accomplished.

Mission Impossible III-? Grade: B-

Monday, May 01, 2006

"Suzy Kolber, I wanna kiss you!" (and other NFL "Draft Day" revelations)

The id and I - "The little blog that could..."

So, excuse me, if I'm a little fuzzy right about now. I feel like the Jack Bauer of the sports world - spending the last 24 hours (x2 seasons) on the run. Starting with the Cavaliers and their magical leader, LeBron James, crushing the Washington Wizards on Friday night - and then off to an early NFL Draft Day party - over to The Indians at Jacob's Field on Saturday night - back for more Draft Day madness on "Day 2" with our beloved Cleveland Brownies - and wrapping it up with a "double-header" of another heaping helping of Cavs - and an ESPN Tribe game on Sunday night.

See, my eyes are bleeding orange and brown right about now from watching split screens of all the Cleveland sports action this weekend (I told you it was just like "24") at Alice Coopers'town and Panini's.

But I'm not complaining - it was a swinging good time (and I even found out from a friend that my last post concerning the filming of "Spider-Man 3" in Cleveland got picked up by a news service Korea. Talk about the power of "the web."

First things first: What a refreshing change of professional pace to have "Day 2" of the 2006 NFL Draft hosted by the beautiful and talented Suzy Kolber. I prefer her so much better than the leadoff host, Chris Berman! Listening to Chris Berman is like getting your "sports commentary" from Fred Flintstone...

But Suzy Kolber and friends (Trey Wingo, Chris Mortensen, Ron Jaworski, Mike Tirico and Mel Kiper, Jr.) saved the day with their no-nonsense reporting, analysis and insight.

As far as the Cleveland Browns and their draft, I would give it an overall grade of: B. It's kind of hard to judge because they didn't go for the "flashy" players (they saved that for the outstanding job they did this year in free agency) - it was all much needed meat and potatoes this time around.

But it seems to me that they filled a lot of needs with quality defensive players like Kamerion Wimbley (Florida State) and D'Qwell Jackson (Maryland) - so I'm happy.

Outside of that, I have to save that I'm not a "fan" of Matt Leinart or USC football - but their college football program is simply amazing. That being said, I simply cannot believe that "bonehead" NFL teams like The Oakland Raiders and The Buffalo Bills passed on Leinart and Jay Cutler! What were they thinking-??? They are slumping organizations with quarterbacks like Aaron Brooks - and Kelly Holcomb and J.P. Losman, respectively. Their fans should be outraged!

Matt Leinart is going to be an amazing NFL quarterback - I don't care what kind of talent he had around him at USC! Um, does that mean that Carson Palmer is overrated, as well-? I don't think so, Skippy!

Leinart is going into a situation with one of the best young (and underrated) wide receivers in the league, Larry Fitzgerald. And - oh, by the way - Anquan Boldin and Edgerrin James don't hurt either! And save your tears for "poor" Kurt Warner - he's already won a Super Bowl after making the successful transition from stock boy to superstar...

Other than that, I'm keeping the faith with LeBron James and the Cavs. Their playoff series with The Wizards hasn't been pretty - but I am still confident that the wine and gold will get the job done.

And, yes, as a lot of you have mentioned to me, I HAVE noticed what an outstanding job first baseman, Ben Broussard, is doing this season with the Tribe. Our little "Baby Bono" is all grown up now - and having a fantastic season so far. "It's a beautiful day... don't let it get away!"

Other than that, my doctor has advised me against ranting about the Tribe (for now). So, like George Costanza: "I'm off bread."

With that, I'm going to get some much-needed sleep. Good night, Cleveland ...and good luck.