Kevin’s Blog: Almost Live, Definitely Half Assed Review of @WWE #Raw

hanging-tents-for-rock-climbers-1I’m hoping to get some extra sleep tonight. I’m not feeling the best. Hopefully I’ll get the illness bug out of my system so I don’t have to worry about it at Wrestlemania. When checking for images related to sleeping, it caught my eye when I saw “Sleeping while rock climbing.” That’s where the image above comes from. That’d be fun to do once. I slept in a tree house for my honeymoon so this isn’t that far from the pail.

Hulk Hogan comes down and shills for the WWE Network. We get the first annual 30 Man Andre the Giant Battle for a trophy. Memphonites? John Cena saves us. He shills for Hogan and the match. Cena then joins it. The Wyatts are here. Maybe they’ll save the segment. I dig his promo. Calling himself a god is pretty ironic considering the pride talk. Cena comes back with the jokes about the same subject. Better than normal for his jokes. Cena challenges him to a match at Wrestlemania. Luke Harper & Erick Rowan step onto the apron. Commercial.

Cena is in a match with Rowan. Hogan is a Cena cheerleader. Rowan is using his size to his advantage. Cena wins with a roll up out of the blue. What a weak win. Harper & Rowan pretend like they’re going to go after Cena & Hogan but the Wyatts back away.

Stephanie & HHH come out to the stage. She is really doing well with the smug quality. They are being kind and not firing Daniel Bryan. They want an apology from him though. Short and sweet. The New Age Outlaws come out to do commentary. Very choppy start to the show.

Curtis Axel & Curtis Axel are in the ring. The Usos hit the ring. Then replays of last week. Road Dogg claims that the NAO were under the weather during their loss. U-SO! It’s kind of cool that they’re finisher is the flying tag and Samoan splash combo. Kane talks to the Shield. He wants to know if they’re disposable. Reigns & Rollins are going to take on Cody Rhodes & Goldust. Rollins gives Kane some guff about his losses. The chop continues.

Jack Swagger is taking on Big E Langston again. Zeb Colter & Cesaro are at ring side. Big E wants in on the Battle Royal at Wrestlemania. I’m glad that is over shadowing the match. Belly to Belly suplex gets my attention. Swagger takes out Big E’s knee. Swagger distracts the ref and asks for Cesaro‘s help which doesn’t help. Swagger had said at the start the match that “I’ve got this.” Big E rolls up Swagger for the win. Zeb Colter watches them bicker like school girls. Zeb blows his stack. Swagger & Cesaro shake but Cesaro puts in an extra squeeze.

The Undertaker allows me to catch up a little bit. Paul Heyman shows up before he can say anything. Heyman gives us a break down of winning streaks at Wrestlemania. He asks Taker not to wrestle Brock at Wrestlemania so that everyone can worship the streak and Taker longer. “The fear of the unknown is the greatest of all.” Sure Taker, sounds great in that voice. Rest In Peace. At some point tonight, I’ll have a long paragraph. (Next Day Note: It’s kind of funny how I can complain about the usual 15 minute segment then complain when they change it up. It would have helped if I would have cared about any of these segments. I like a lot of people in these segments but everything was too short.)

Seth Rollins starts against Cody Rhodes. Cody face plants Rollins. Goldust takes over. Downward Spiral by Rollins into the middle turn buckle. Roman Reigns gets his start in the match. Goldust showing off the twisting cross body block. Cody does him one better by doing a spring board cross body. Commercial. Lawler tried to put over a power Samoan Drop by Reigns. I’m not buying it. Samoan Leap drop kick. Reigns starts playing with Goldust. Power slam by Goldust doesn’t quite get the hot tag. Rollins is in to fight a hot tagged Cody. Moonsault gets a two count. Cody with a Muscle Buster.  He stole that from Samoa Joe! (Next Day Note: I can’t believe this isn’t a Twitter beef yet.) Goldust gets speared. Rollins reverses out of the Cross Rhodes. Rollins finishes him off with the buckle bomb & Curb Stomp combo. A good match breaks up the chop even with a commercial.

Continue reading

Stunt Granny Movie Review: 300: Rise of an Empire

300-rise-of-an-empireReleased in 2007, 300 was an anomaly. An R-rated sword and sandals action film with starring relative unknowns based upon an obscure graphic novel, Zack Snyder and his iconic style was unleashed upon the world. Striking color schemes, slow motion fighting scenes, goofy scenery chewing speeches, super abs, old fashioned xenophobic savagery – 300 answered the eternal question of what would happen if an 18 year old uber nerd was allowed free reign to make a movie. A retelling of the battle of Thermopylae, in which a small group of Spartan soldiers undertake a heroic sacrifice against an overwhelming Persian army, 300 became a global phenomenon which helped launched the careers of director Zack Snyder, along with Gerard Butler, Lena Headey and Michael Fassbender (yes – he is actually in that movie). Any film that makes close to half a billion dollars worldwide will be mined for a sequel….which would be difficult since nearly all of the principal heroes die in the film.  Yet here we are with 300: Rise of an Empire, the sequel/prequel/interquel

First things first – if you’re a fan of 300, then you’ll probably enjoy this film.  Even though 7 years have passed between the two films, they share the same sweeping, thematic style.  Although not as groundbreaking as the original, Rise of an Empire is a beautiful film, although more muted than the original.  You’ll get plenty of slow motion spear thrusts, jumping sword slices, and every bead of sweat and blood, this time with the benefit of 3D. In fact, unless you engaged in geek research, you would have no idea that Zack Snyder didn’t direct this film, instead only serving as producer.  Instead, Noam Murro takes the helm – but it doesn’t really matter.  Rise of an Empire’s disadvantage is its status as a follow up film, not only being compared to the original, but also shows such as Spartacus.  The action still holds up, but doesn’t have the jaw dropping impact of the original.

Rise of an Empire takes a peculiar approach in regards to its story, serving as almost a visual appendix of the 300 universe.  Ever wonder what caused the Persians to be pissed at Greece, and what the hell the battle of Marathon was about? Any curiosity pertaining to the origin of Xerxes?  How did Sparta handle the aftermath of the death of Leonidas, besides doing crunches and bragging about death?  You’ll find out all of these things during 102 minutes.  Rise of an Empire solves the problem of following the previous film by telling a parallel story, involving the Athenians battling the Persians for freedom, as well as the aftermath of the Battle of Thermoplyae.  Shifting the focus of the stories from the Spartans to the Athenians helps the movie retain a certain freshness.  Instead of asshole brash killing machines, the Athenians are portrayed as noble flawed, yet skilled warriors, fighting for unity and justice of Greece. It’s also a more grounded movie than the original, with less fantastical elements, and a more adult story. As the leader of the Athenian army, Themistocles’ journey of freedom and redemption has more resonance than Leonidas ranting about DEATH AND GLORY while kicking messengers down pits. Personally, it allows for easier support and investment in the story. The movie spends an inordinate amount of time explaining the backstory and desires of the principal characters.  Some may enjoy the added character development, while others will just bide their time into the next set piece.

Anyone who watches genre movies understands that it takes skill to add believability and soul to an often ridiculous setting.  Gerard Butler was the primary reason for 300’s success, and his shadow looms large throughout the film. The movie makes a wise decision in presenting Themistocles as a more human character.  Played by Sullivan Stapleton of Cinemax’s Strike Back, he’s portrayed as a quiet thoughtful warrior wracked by responsibility and guilt, yet resolute in his dream of a united Greece.  My first impression was that he was a bit dull, until I realized that I was comparing him to Leonidas.  In actuality, he serves as the heart of the film, playing a more difficult character.  Lena Headey aka the chick from Game of Thrones reprises her role as Queen Gorgo, basically serving as the narrator of the film.   From her initial haughty arrogance when rebuffing Athens call for help, to bitterness and sadness from her husband’s death, to her eventual resolute fury when seizing revenge, she plays her role effectively. But the star of the movie by far is Eva Green, as Artemesia, naval commander of the Persians and the primary antagonist.  As a Greek who swears vengeance on her own people, I can’t recall the last movie which starred a terrifying, sexy, powerful, psychotic and charismatic female villain.  Every scene is dominated with her presence, almost to the point of her serving as an anti-hero.  Similar to how 300 was the Gerard Butler show, this film is her personal playground.

Watching a violent yet erotic sex scene in 3D in a crowded film is an experience in itself.  If you need one reason to see this movie, then see it for her.  As for the other characters, they serve as bridges from the first film, as well as plot devices to give weight to the primary characters.  I haven’t mentioned Xerxes as a major character, because quite frankly, he doesn’t earn that role.  But there’s nothing wrong with a towering walking Oscar statue prancing around like a prima donna.

I definitely recommend this film.  It’s not without flaws – there’s less humor than the original.  In addition, although it tells a nobler story, it has less weight of consequence due to its status as a prequel/interquel as well as sequel. And it also has a rather infuriating ending.  However, if you like seeing men with 8 packs fighting on burning ships while riding a horse under water, then go see 300: Rise of an Empire.  And seize your damn glory. -Shahid

%d bloggers like this: