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Archive for May, 2016

Blu-ray Review: Zoolander 2

May 30, 2016 | by Herija Green | Comments Comments Off on Blu-ray Review: Zoolander 2
Zoolander 2
SNL circa 2001 called… it wants its tiny prop phone back.

For us, the original Zoolander was kind of like Super Troopers in that it was purely a word of mouth film that we ended up really enjoying — despite the fact that we’re not huge Ben Stiller fans. It was relentlessly stupid in all the right ways, with Stiller and Owen Wilson throwing haymakers at the absurdity that is the fashion world and Will Ferrell doing Will Ferrell stuff as fashion mogul Jacobim Mugatu.

Now, nearly 15 years after the original, Stiller, Wilson and Ferrell (along with newcomers Kristen Wiig and Penelope Cruz) try to recapture the magic with Zoolander 2.

THE PLOT

We open to find both Derek Zoolander (Stiller) and Hansel (Wilson) retired from modeling in the wake of a tragic accident at the famed “Derek Zoolander Center For Kids Who Can’t Read Good” that took the life of Derek’s wife, leading to child services taking custody of their son, and disfiguring Hansel. Both live as hermits, but a visit from Billy Zane bearing an invitation from Alexanya Atoz (Wiig) coaxes the pair out of retirement for one last show.

While they end up being mocked at the show itself, they’re approached by Valentina Valencia (Cruz), who brings them up to speed on a recent spate of celebrity assassinations, all of whom died with one of Derek’s trademark expressions on their face. In exchange for Derek’s assistance, Valentina helps him track down his son, who’s at an orphanage in Rome.

All of these coincidences raise suspicions, prompting Derek, Hansel and Valentina to visit the one man with a known axe to grind, Mugatu (Ferrell). Their prison encounter doesn’t go as planned, however, allowing Mugatu to escape, but not before letting Derek know that he was behind all of the misfortune that had befallen him, including fattening up his son and bringing him to Rome. Can they stop Mugatu before he carries out his true plan?

THE GOOD

Age hasn’t educated Derek or Hansel, and being dumb as rocks has its payoffs. There are several times during the movie when their stupidity elicited LOLs, which isn’t all that common when watching alone. The stuff when the two of them are trying to get their mojo back, complete with Hansel firing objects at Derek’s face, is great, and the ending scene is deliciously absurd. Oh, and the hippo.

Among the newcomers, the best work is done by relative unknowns Cyrus Arnold as Derek Jr. and Kyle Mooney as designer Don Atari. Arnold is funny as Derek’s rejected (and overweight) son, who resents his father’s moronic attempts to re-enter his life. Mooney has a smaller part, but his mile-a-minute contradictions are well done, talking negatively about everyone and everything before ending with something about how much he likes it.

There are some of the best cameos this side of Entourage here. In addition to Zane, Sting has a fairly involved role, Justin Bieber is gunned down, MC Hammer is in fashion prison for his pants, and several real-life designers make fun of themselves while Kiefer Sutherlandis… doing something we don’t want to spoil.

THE BAD

For as talented as Ferrell and Wiig are, they barely share the screen in Zoolander 2. Wiig’s part is quite small, and Ferrell doesn’t show up until fairly late. Ferrell definitely has some moments as Mugatu, especially when dressed as a clown, but Wiig’s one-note mispronunciations don’t work. In fact, the funniest thing she does is a pretend commercial on the disc extras.

Cruz, who essentially assumes the role Christine Taylor filled in the original, isn’t great, either. She’s obviously gorgeous, and we’ve liked her in other movies, but there’s no chemistry between her and Stiller, and we didn’t find her featured moments funny. It’s also worth noting that Fred Armisen is creepily awful as a partly CGI character named VIP. Even thinking about it now makes us cringe.

THE BONUS FEATURES

As fans of the original film, we found the four bonus features actually quite good. The Legacy talks about the release of Zoolander, and how it came out in the shadow of 9/11. It’s an interesting back story, as is the Drake Sather piece about how the character came into being at the VH1 Fashion Awards. As previously mentioned, Wiig’s “Youth Milk” ad is her best moment.

OVERALL

While not as good as the original, Zoolander 2 still manages to elicit some laughs while staying true to the baseline stupidity of its predecessor.

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The Wire Troll: Whit Merrifield an Unlikely Hero for Royals

May 29, 2016 | by JB Branson | Comments Comments Off on The Wire Troll: Whit Merrifield an Unlikely Hero for Royals
The second Royal currently keeping the offense’s heart beating is Orlando. The second year flyhawk is hitting a ridiculous .486 over the last two weeks, along with five extra-base hits and nine RBI. Over the week, Kansas City has scored the fourth most runs in the league compared to ranking 26th for the season — certainly not a trend you would expect with three starters out. Like Merrifield, Orlando is a must add in deep league formats, and even worth a pickup in standard leagues as long as he is on this impressive tear. If Orlando cools off, he could still warrant a roster spot in leagues that allow daily roster moves, as he is always a great start when facing southpaws (he’s a career .303 hitter against LHP).
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2016 RotoRob Top 75 MLB Prospects, Part VI

May 27, 2016 | by RotoRob | Comments Comments Off on 2016 RotoRob Top 75 MLB Prospects, Part VI
Meadows also made a nice move up the rankings this year after enjoying a speed breakout at High-A and then averaging nearly a run per game in a brief trial at Double-A. He’s a .304 career hitter through nearly 1,000 minor league at-bats and has untapped power potential. Meadows is struggling at Double-A this year, but is slowly coming around and we have no doubt he’ll figure it out very soon once his batting eye returns to the levels he showed at High-A.
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Video Game Review: Alienation

May 23, 2016 | by Herija Green | Comments Comments Off on Video Game Review: Alienation
Aliens have come to Earth and are kicking some serious ass. In our desperation, humans have made robotic exo-suits to help turn the tide. That’s where you come in. You’ll pick between three character types (tank, saboteur or bio-specialist), each with unique base weapons and upgradeable skills, and jump into the fray in a last desperate attempt to save humanity.
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The Wire Troll: Steve Pearce Returns to Spark the Rays

May 22, 2016 | by JB Branson | Comments Comments Off on The Wire Troll: Steve Pearce Returns to Spark the Rays
Bour is finally beginning to regain his 2015 power stroke (when he bashed 23 dingers). In May, he has already gone yard five times and cut his strikeout rate in half from the first month. Bour is seeing the ball much better, as evidenced by his ridiculous 46.3 Hard hit percentage over the past three weeks, and this could be heading to a power surge into June. Get him before he’s gone for good, but have a backup plan for when the Marlins face southpaws. Bour owns just two hits against lefties this season.
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