Grand Theft Auto V Review

Grand Theft Auto V Review

GTA V is a huge game world with numerous gameplay opportunities. In addition to action-packed missions and nerve-wracking raids, GTA 5 also offer relaxing mini-games.If you have yet to buy the game, you can order GTA V with free shipping

GTA V Review

As a pastime you play tennis or golf. Black humor is also a constant in a breathtaking atmosphere of crazy missions, bizarre freak side missions and a fascinating social criticism.

Also awesome to play is the variety of controllable vehicles. In addition to the cars, you can now also get behind the wheel of a jet or helicopter.

The graphics of GTA 5 on console configuration that were released 7-8 years ago could not completely convince. You’ll notice stuttering graphic with edges and flickering textures.

I can not help feeling that there is still a good deal that could be better, especially in terms of technology. If only the developers HAD access to the superior hardware of next-gen- consoles and PC…

GTA V tells the ballad of street gangster Franklin, former professional bank robber Michael and Trevor of violent sociopaths Trevor. Three crooks who sealed the fate of another. As a backdrop to the fictional state of San Andreas, Los Santos is based on the U.S. West Coast state of California and parts of Nevada and Arizona.

The scope of GTA 5 is gigantic. The huge scenes are filled with exciting missions, witty dialogue and interesting characters to burst. The missions are often very large, interspersed with reset points, so you do not have to repeat the complete order in case of death.

The main campaign has a 30 to 40 hours length, with plenty more gameplay available in side missions and the online multiplayer mode. For example you could takes out Franklin’s cell phone on occasion and find dozens of messages. In these you can learn more about the characters.

You can interact with “people” on a fictional Facebook like network with others. Compared with other video games, the characters here go a lot more under the skin.

GTA 5 Online will feature up to sixteen players simultaneously through the environment. Basically, everything contained in the game which you can do solo can be done together: robberies, checkpoint races, base jumping, tennis and much more.

With the help of the mobile phone you communicate with fellow players and start joint ventures: in any one of over 700 missions created purely for “GTA Online”.

Creative gangsters will look into the editor which allows the self-built missions to be upload to the network for other fans. GTA V online will be unlocked by Rockstar Games from 1 October.

My personal dislike all the years about the one thing that had ruined the series to some degree, has been completely addressed with great success. This is the first GTA where it’s fun to drive. In GTA V, it’s really easy to ride properly.

GTA 5 music soundtrack consist of 15 radio stations that play over 240 licensed tracks from disco to rock to rap and reggae. The cast? Top-notch: Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, NWA, Elton John, Queen, Kelly Rowland, Fergie, Britney Spears and many more contribute.

However what if you liked a song you want to hear it again? Tough luck, you can only wait. Sorry, in a time when even the cheapest car radio has an iPod adapter, this is outdated crap.

This game combines the megalomania of an overflowing detail-obsessed world with sophisticated control for combat and road. At the end of the game, the same question remains: Where does the series go from here?

gta v collectors edition

You can buy GTA V with free delivery here in the USA and also available for shipping to select countries outside the U.S.

Make Money Selling items On Ebay

So you need extra cash…Well eBay is certainly a great choice. It’s simple, there are very little costs involved and there are systems in place to ensure fast and secure payments.

Let’s see, how do you get started? In a few easy steps you are on your way to making those extra dollars you need. First things first: You must register with eBay to become a member and registration is free. Next you must create a sellers account, which is also free, although account details must be provided to cater for your sellers fees.

To ensure that you are paid fast and that all transactions are secure and easy for the buyer too, register for Paypal, which is free.

Before posting your first item, you must ensure that you have read the eBay listing policies, to ensure that you have fun making money, without having your account suspended.

Seller Central is the place to be. This is where it all the actions take place. You will find all that you need to sell your first item as well as advice from other sellers. eBay news and updates can also be retrieved from here.

It is great to know that the costs involved are very reasonable as there is only a small fee for your listing and a final value fee, which only applies if your listing closes successfully. There are other costs for extra services, but they are not compulsory, as they merely enhance the chance of selling faster.

Now you need to decide what you want to sell. Remember that it is better to choose an item with a low value and that will be easy to ship. Now that you have your item in mind, you are a click away…

Simply click on sell, enter a description and click on sell it. You can select a category and even a sub-category to ensure that buyers can find your item with ease as they browse this site. An excellent feature is that you can use the HTML Text editor to make your listing more attractive, as you can add color to your writing, bold your words, use bullets and even complete a spell check.

When typing in your description, remember to keep the information accurate, make use of the brand name and product type and year. To make your item stand out more, why not include a picture. Buyers want to see what they are about to own. Remember that your first picture is free, so why not make use of this opportunity.

Online auction is the selling option available to everyone. Here you would enter your start price that should be the sizzler that grabs the attention of your buying audience and that will open the bidding. You can also make use of the reserve price, that carries a fee, but that will secure that your item will not be sold for less.

Basically you are in charge. You can decide what you want to spend to secure a faster sale. All charges are
transparent, so there are no hidden costs awaiting you at the end of your sale.

One possible very large expense – it is the seller’s responsibility to pay for packing, insurance and shipment of items. If you are selling, say a piano, your shipping costs will be extremely high. Even if the item is only going across town you will be responsible for that move.

You have to take those costs into consideration when pricing your items. For large items it would be more cost effective to place ads in local papers. When people buy from an ad in the paper or even Craig’s List it is up to the buyer to provide the transportation.

Take into consideration all aspects so you won’t be caught off guard.

eBay University Learning Centre is your step by step guide that will answer all your questions and get you to point of sale as fast as possible.

eBay is the popular way to transform your unwanted goods into hard cash. In the haven of your living room you can start your own business and work your own hours.

Digital Cameras Guide

You have had a compact digital camera for a while. Time to upgrade. Single lens reflex (SLR) cameras are what professionals and serious amateurs use, be it film or digital. And not just because they let you change lenses.

Digital Cameras Guide

SLR cameras produce high quality images, which is what puts them in a class apart from cheaper compact cameras. The same holds true for film or digital. In digital cameras, the sensor is also smaller, bringing with it problems such as grainy pictures, better known as “noise” in digital parlance. Not so with digital SLRs. And DSLRs also avoid “shutter lag”, meaning you actually get what you clicked-that candid moment, with no delay.

So, you may have a compact camera offering 10 megapixels and an SLR also offering just for 6 or 8 megapixels. But the digital SLR, with its more advanced sensor will produce much better pictures. Megapixel numbers are not everything-because if that were true in photography, you would have got the same image quality with any camera, provided you used the same film. We know that’s absurd.

* A 6 megapixel DSLR is great for most jobs. To save money you could even buy an older model, like the Nikon D70S, which used to cost a lot more. It was a standard with the pros, until newer models arrived.

* Consider battery life. You should get at least two days of regular shooting without recharging.

* DSLRs store pictures in memory cards (usually called CF or SD cards). It helps to have more than one card with at least 1 GB capacity each.

* Dust is a major enemy of all electronic appliances. See that you don’t get any of it into your DSLR when you change lenses.

* DSLRs are often much larger than other digital cameras. But that’s a small inconvenience, if you want a much better picture. One way out: Own more than one digital camera- a compact for some jobs, a DSLR for more serious ones.

Be Cool

Be Cool
Rated PG-13 for violence, sensuality, and language, including sexual references
Running Time: 114 minutes minutes
Directed by F. Gary Gray
Release date: 3/4/2005
Double Feature Films / Jersey Films / MGM
be cool movie
I loved Get Shorty and the idea of a sequel always has had immense appeal to me, but like any other sequel, it would have to be the right story at the right time, and include all of the right people. As it turns out, Be Cool doesn’t quite satisfy all that criteria, but it sure tries hard and manages to entertain just enough so that it feels like it’s more success than failure. But there’s far too much of the latter and not enough of the former to suit my taste.

When I first learned that the story of Be Cool revolved around Chili Palmer ditching the movie producing biz to go into the world of music, I was dismayed and more than a little perturbed. But when I actually thought it over, it occurred to me that if Chili still were doing movies in the sequel, the story would feel stuck in neutral, and therefore suffer because of it. So I got over that part, even though it would mean bidding adieu to some choice characters like Harry Zimm and Karen Flores and Martin Weir (although he does pop up here) and Bear the stuntman.

And that’s one of the main areas where Be Cool drops the ball. The characters just aren’t as memorable or entertaining this time out. There were no deadbeat or extraneous or waste-of-space characters in Get Shorty. You knew who everybody was, what their part in the story was, and they were all well-written, three-dimensional, and interesting. Here, you only have two or three who can go the distance. Some of them are lame right out of the box, some of them have their moments, but there is an undeniable lack of spice when it comes to the characters in Be Cool. More on that in a bit.

The tone of the Be Cool movie also left me a bit wanting. Get Shorty was funny, but it’s humor was sly and sharp and droll. Here, some of the comedy borders on downright silly, and it just felt stilted and out of place in the world of Chili Palmer. That’s not to say that I didn’t laugh at some of it, which I most certainly did, but some of the gags were flat or played out or, even worse, not really that funny at all.

So I had high hopes for the Be Cool movie, and even though I did my best to tone down my expectations, I was (obviously) not entirely successful. I’ve also never read either book by Elmore Leonard (and I’m ashamed to admit I’ve never taken the time to read Get Shorty), so maybe I would have been better prepared if I’d read the book beforehand. But it’s not all doom and gloom. The flick is enjoyable and laugh-out-loud funny in spots, and it’s worth checking out. It just didn’t blow my mind or make me want to own the DVD, which is something, to my mind, a sequel to Get Shorty should certainly be capable.

But here’s the good news, although unfortunately it only applies to you unlucky souls who’ve never experienced the brilliance of Chili Palmer: you don’t need to have seen Get Shorty in order to enjoy Be Cool. In fact, I posit that you will enjoy Be Cool more if you *haven’t* seen Get Shorty. You, lucky reader, can laugh at Be Cool and its fleeting, confectionary puff of goodness, then fully digest the long-lasting savory brilliance that is Get Shorty, and suffer none of the disappointment of seeing them in chronological order.

The Plot – Be Cool Story
Chili Palmer is on the verge of another career change. He originally ditched loan sharking to jump feet first into the movie industry, after he figured out that the tools of his shylocking trade would serve him just as well in Hollywood. Now, Chili is tired of the movie business, feeling like he’s sold out by having just made a sequel to one of his earliest and best pictures.

His friend Tommy Athens, who’s a successful indie record label executive, tells Chili he should give the music industry a shot. And then Tommy literally gets shot by someone in the Russian mafia, leaving Tommy’s wife Edie to run their label. So Chili agrees to step in and help Edie, and as such he targets Linda Moon, the lead talent in a three-chick act that’s going nowhere thanks to their lame producer and manager duo, Nick Carr and his stooge Raji.

But wait! There’s more to Be Cool! Seems Tommy owed a bit of money to super producer Sin LaSalle, whose headline group is a ridiculous gangsta rap crew called the Dub MDs who are all the rage. So Chili has to keep LaSalle from shutting down Edie and the label, find a way to get Linda out of her contract with Nick Carr, not to mention avoid getting capped by the Russian mafia, who think he’s taking Tommy’s place.

The Players – Be Cool Cast
I think John Travolta was better in Get Shorty than he was in Pulp Fiction, and that Chili Palmer is his greatest character. So, John – no pressure returning to the role ten years later, right? And the answer is right, but unfortunately, it’s the writers this time who get it wrong.

Like I said, not having read the book, I can’t say if something got lost in the translation when screenwriter Peter Steinfeld adapted Leonard’s novel, or what (although there is a story going around that the original screenplay was MUCH worse and that Travolta insisted they go back to the novel and reinstate nearly all of Elmore’s original dialogue that Steinfeld apparently tinkered with or he was quitting the project, so who knows).

All I know is that this isn’t the REAL Chili Palmer. Oh, he looks like Chili and talks like Chili (they unwisely went to the “Look at me” well a few too many times – it should have been a once and done, during a critical moment, and that’s it), but only occasionally does he truly ACT like Chili, which, I shouldn’t have to tell you, is pretty disappointing.

At times it felt like Chili wasn’t even the focal point of the Be Cool story – the supporting players get a lot of attention, which is great for the ones that work, but unfortunately not a lot of them actually do. But for those brief moments when the real Chili does make an appearance, I have to thank Travolta for giving me another glimpse at what made me fall in love with the character in the first place.

I have never gotten, nor do I believe I ever will get, what the big deal is about Uma Thurman. So she’s an Amazon with blonde hair. Big deal. And yeah, she has some talent, but it’s not like she’s Meryl Streep or Kate Winslet or anything. In fact, her inclusion as Edie in Be Cool feels almost like stunt casting, a way to re-team her with her Pulp Fiction co-star Travolta (yes, there is the obligatory dance sequence, and if you think that’s a spoiler, well, you really need to pull your head out of your rear end). She actually feels like a conglomeration of the Harry Zimm and Karen Flores characters from Get Shorty (which will makes sense once you’ve seen both flicks), which I found just a touch odd.

Christina Milian was a bit of a surprise as Linda Moon, the talented singer-songwriter who becomes the center of all the attention in the Be Cool movie flick. I was unfamiliar with her or her music (at 32 years old, male, and still pasty white as ever, I’m not exactly her demographic), but she does a credible job as the up-and-coming starlet with no ego (a stretch, I know, but it IS a movie).

With Vince Vaughn as Raji … I think the whole white-guy-who-thinks-he-’s-black is SO played out … but even so, it can still be funny if done properly. Unfortunately, Vince Vaughn doesn’t do it properly in Be Cool. He’s awful and painfully NOT funny, in fact. His bad-joke-to-good joke ratio was somewhere in the neighborhood of 25:1. Seriously. I read a review somewhere and the writer felt Vaughn was one of the few performers in the flick who showed up and decided to at least to try and act.

I’m not so sure about that – and maybe I’m being hard on him, but I’ve long since stopped expecting good things from Vaughn – but I think the script definitely let him down and is partly to blame. All I know is that I was appalled at the gregarious response his character elicited from the people in theater (I always take a screening audience’s reaction with more than a pinch of salt though.

They get in for free and get to see the movie before anyone else, so they’re always in a good mood, which definitely skews their reactions). I’m certainly not one to talk about lowest common denominator humor – dick and fart jokes RULE – but most of it was just pathetic with a capital PATHETIC.

Cedric the Entertainer was pretty funny in the Original Kings of Comedy, but his film résumé is a pretty mixed bag, and frankly, he feels a bit overexposed right now to me. And his performance as Sin LaSalle is almost a perfect microcosm of that and how I feel about him as a performer. At times, he’s ridiculous and over-the-top, chewing the scenery so hard it’s a wonder there was any left over for his co-stars to gnaw on. But then there are other times when he is as sharp as a razor – he has the single best scene in the entire Be Cool flick, a great speech that ranked high on the Chill Factor scale. So which one is the real Cedric the Entertainer?? You’re guess is as good as mine.

Harvey Keitel’s presence in the film – not to mention his gawd-awful hideous performance – is a complete mystery to me. His character, Nick Carr, is an utter moron in Be Cool. The only reason I can think of to have him in the story at all is because Raji is too stupid to have Carr’s job, but Carr has to be just as stupid as Raji to put up with Raji in the first place … it’s just a vicious cycle that never ends. Keitel is stone-faced and subdued in a lot of his roles, but here he’s stone-faced and idiotic and just plain BAD. They should have just gotten John Enos to play Carr – at least then I could have said, “Hey! It’s John Enos!!!!”

The Rock is easily the best part of the Be Cool film. I can’t believe I just wrote that. But it’s true – as Raji’s bodyguard Elliot Wilhelm, Mr. Johnson steals the show and generates most of the big laughs. I think it’s a shame that the filmmakers allowed the nature of his character to get spoiled by the trailers and ad spots, because it would have been much funnier had they kept it a secret. I’m not going to say what it is (because you probably already know), but I loved that he was able to make fun at himself and take pot shots at his image the way that he does in the movie. Great stuff.

A lot of people are making a big deal over André 3000 as Dabu, front man of the Dub MDs, and while he has a couple of decently humorous moments, he’s really not in the movie that much, and it’s not like he’s a scene stealer like the Rock (lord help me I think I’m becoming a fan (but the Scorpion King still sucked all mighty goat ass – nothing will EVER change my opinion about that POS)). He’s not bad, I just don’t see what the fuss is all about.

Oh, and Danny DeVito pops up as über-eccentric movie star Martin Weir, but go to the can or the concession stand in the wrong spot and you’ll miss him.

The Pronouncement
Be Cool wasn’t the flick that I wanted it to be. It has its moments to be sure, mostly in the second half of the film once the story really gets rolling, but it never comes close to capturing the same magical feel or the same slick panache that Get Shorty possesses. Which is too bad. A Chili Palmer picture should never allow itself to go out like that. But like I said, it’s still worth a look, especially if you’ve never seen Get Shorty before.

Be Cool Rating – 3 out of 5
It’s a matinee show allllll the way with this bad boy. You’ve been warned.

How To Become A WWE Superstar Review

how to become a wwe superstar book

How To Become A WWE Superstar promises to teach aspiring wrestlers about how the process works, does it deliver?

The answer is: Yes, it delivers in a pretty comprehensive package.

In order to cover the subject in depth, over 100 pages of information was complied. The book gives readers an inside look into what aspiring WWE Superstars have to do in order to get hired by the top wrestling promotion in the world.

From choosing a wrestling school to developing a character, there is no subject too big or too small to be covered in the book.

Many WWE, WCW, TNA & ECW Superstars also share their experience and their knowledge with their views of becoming a professional wrestler.. Many people do not realize the risks and mistakes that wrestlers face on a regular basis. The book details the lifestyle and backstage reality of the wrestlers who keep the fans entertained.

It is important to remember that these people are not just characters on a show. The book explains how professional wrestlers put their career on the line for their job and their passion.

The “HOW” section of the book is filled with practical and realistic information that is updated. I can see aspiring WWE Wrestlers using the strategies described to really speed up their journey of becoming a WWE Superstar.

Rating: 4.5 Stars out of 5

Boiler Room

Rated R for strong language and some violence
Running Time: 119 minutes
Directed by Ben Younger
Release date: 2/18/2000
Team Todd / New Line Cinema

The Boiler Room Review Preview

Someone initially billed Boiler Room to me as a Generation X version of Wall Street, which is not completely accurate. If some of the characters in the film were to comment on their own movie, they would no doubt call it a love letter to Wall Street, to Gordon Gekko specifically. That resonates more soundly with the picture to me than simply calling it a slacker-youth-inspired remake (besides, you don’t remake Wall Street, nor could anyone ever generate anything but a carbon copy of Gekko). That billing combined with a good, promising cast, however, did get me into the theater armed with some fairly decent expectations, which the film lived up to and more than exceeded.

boiler room movie

The story is tight (although just a few minor points kept it from being tight), and has a hard, authentic feel that so many dramas attempt to achieve but fail to do so thanks to one inconsistency or another. Offering up some very strong work by a talented group of young actors, Boiler Room is not the kind of polished piece I would have expected from first-time writer and director Ben Younger. But I will absolutely take it, and I’ll certainly be on the look-out for projects bearing his name until he lets me down.

The Plot

Seth is an intelligent, business-savvy young man who runs an illegal gambling establishment out of his basement. He has fallen out of favor with his father, who disapproves of Seth’s chosen profession for several reasons, and the fact that he’s a judge and Seth has elected to drop out of school in order to run his blackjack casino are only two of them. So, when Seth decides to try and get a legitimate job and goes to work for the brokerage house J.T. Marlin, things appear to be on the up and up. However, the farther along and the deeper he goes, the more disreputable the firm’s practices begin to appear. Seth must decide whether J.T. Marlin’s get-rich-quick-but-at-whose-expense practices are worth the prices they might exact from the various parts of his life.

Boiler Room Movie Cast

Giovanni Ribisi gives an excellent performance as Seth Davis, lending him the perfect blend of wile, guile, brains, and earnestness. Seth is talented as a pushy phone stockbroker, quick with his wits, good at reading the person on the other line, and very convincing. But Seth longs to have some kind of real relationship with his father, something the two of them haven’t had since Seth was a young boy, and this desire shines through and drives his every day motives. Ribisi is fast becoming one of my favorite actors; he takes risks both with choosing his roles and his work on the screen, he is likeable, and quite gifted. Dismiss his forgettable part in Gone in 60 Seconds – this guy is going to be a player for as long as he wants to be one.

Nia Long adds to a growing and impressive résumé her role here as Abby, the main receptionist and office aide at J.T. Marlin. After a disappointing relationship experience with one of the senior brokers, she is mainly concerned with taking care of herself. Long gives Abby a nice-but-not-too-nice yet firm attitude, one that quickly transforms into a take-no-crap-you-can-just-step-off when someone gets too much in her face. As much as I like her, I’m not looking forward to watching Long having to languish in the sure-to-be-tepid-at-best Big Momma’s House.

Vin Diesel, who was good as the maniacal killer in Pitch Black and lent his I-gargle-with-gravel-you-wanna-make-somethin’-of-it vocal talents to the Iron Giant, does well expanding his range here as Chris, an Italian balls-to-the-wall senior broker at J.T. Marlin. Chris loves what he does and loves his fat paycheck, and thus is comfortably willing to turn the other way when it comes to the possibility of under-handed practices being used by the firm. Diesel has some charisma and good screen presence; take note of his name, you will definitely see it again.

Ron Rifkin is Marty Davis, Seth’s father, who is an artist’s proof of an old school, ultra-hard-ass mold of a father. Add the fact that he’s a court judge to the mix, and just about anything Seth does is not going to be good enough. Rifkin, who had great supporting turns in The Negotiator and in L.A. Confidential, puts in another excellent one here. He has a great look for the role; his facial expressions (or lack thereof) convey perfectly just exactly how far up to here he’s had it with Seth and his screwing around. Another solid piece of an overall superior job of casting.

Nicky Katt is likeably unlikable as Greg, Seth’s managing broker at J.T. Marlin. Scott Caan is also good as another arrogant, over-the-top-out-of-control senior broker. Tom Everett Scott, who made such a nice debut in That Thing You Do! but has done nothing of merit since, does well in a small role as Michael, the guy behind J.T. Marlin.

And that leaves us with Ben Affleck, who appears as the firm’s new employee recruiter Jim Young in two short but quite effective cameo-sized scenes. I don’t think the director Younger was trying to make Young a clone of Blake, Alec Baldwin’s legendary I-unload-with-both-barrels-and-if-that-doesn’t-help-get-it-through-to-you-I’ll-just-find-a-bigger-gun character from Glengarry Glen Ross – I think he was trying to make Young into a guy who clearly knew who Blake was and wanted to be a clone of him. Affleck, who I’ve never much cared for with the exception of his Holden McNeil performance in Chasing Amy, does an extremely efficient and credible job with what he’s given to do here. In a movie that already possesses some charge, his two scenes are huge spikes on the celluloid EKG.

The Preparation

After the fact, I found out that Mr. Younger did a large amount of research, interviewing numbers of real-life stock brokers, in order to make his fictitious ones feel all the more authentic. Well, he did a fabulous job porting over the knowledge and experience he gleaned from those interviews. The sales calls that Ribisi and Diesel perform in the film feel like calls I’ve received from people who do it everyday for a living – and it was difficult to see a discernable difference.

Sure, they jacked them up a little so they play out better on-screen, but the core essence of the call and the subject matter and the types of things that were said were the same. Very convincing, that is one of the film’s biggest strengths. What a shame this film only bowed onto 1335 screens its opening weekend. With a budget of only $9 million, it should be able to recoup that money and turn a profit, but I’d love to see it do gangbusters at the box office and bankroll $50 million. It’ll never happen, but if a guy can’t dream, he’s never truly free (thank you, Mr. Keating).

The Pronouncement

As far as good character-driven dramas go, they really don’t get much better than this. One small problem I had with it (a scene between Seth asking his father to do something that is neither explained nor resolved) didn’t even occur to me until much later, as drawn into the movie as I was. A film very much worth your time.

Rating – 4/5

Take it in for an evening show on the DVD or Blu Ray. You’ll be in a more serious mood to appreciate the tone of the film, and better yet, the movie is worth it.

Million Dollar Baby

Million Dollar Baby
Rated PG-13 for violence, distrubing images, thematic material, and language
Running Time: 137 minutes minutes
Directed by Clint Eastwood
Release date: 1/21/2005
Malpaso Productions / Lakeshore Entertainment / Warner Bros.

I treasure every film that Clint Eastwood cranks out, for a variety of reasons, but I particularly enjoy the ones where he not directs himself (I was disappointed there was no role for him in Mystic River). The man just gets film. Most of his more recent flicks are decidedly old school, character-driven pieces, which is something he says is missing in the current Hollywood filmmaking culture that is dominated by remakes and sequels and riding the “hot” flavor of the month (he cited comic book movies as a current example).

Some people might look at Million Dollar Baby and dismiss it out of hand as nothing more than a boxing movie. But it’s so much more than just a boxing movie. The film is a powerful look at a lot of things: motivation, determination, adversity, friendship, dealing with one’s past, and family (and all the complexities that are associated with such a small and simple word).

Clint Eastwood handles all these themes and more with the sure-handed grace and smooth aplomb you’ve come to expect. The film made me want to stand up and applaud at the end – I thought it was that good. And I think you will, too.

million dollar baby poster

Million Dollar Baby Plot

Frankie Dunn is a ex-boxer and retired “cut man” who now trains and manages fighters out of his gym, the Hit Pit, where he is ably yet cantankerously aided by Scrap, a long-time friend and fellow former pugilist. Though a gifted mentor, Frankie has a history of being unable (Scrap would say unwilling) to take his fighters all the way into contention for a championship belt. Long set in his ways and with no family to speak of, Frankie epitomizes the essence of boxing – he’s tough as granite, stubborn to a fault, keeps his emotions buried unless a fight is involved, but is bursting with heart.

One day, Maggie Fitzgerald shows up asking Frankie to be her trainer, but Frankie doesn’t train girls. Maggie is convinced she could be a great fighter if someone would only teach her the right way to box. She trains tirelessly not only because she loves it, but because, like Frankie and Scrap, she has nowhere else to go. Scrap gives her some encouragement, shows her a thing or two, much to Frankie’s chagrin.

Maggie keeps after it and finally wears down a spot in Frankie’s craggy exterior and he succumbs to her hard-headed determination. What happens between them is a great story of two lonely souls, coming together at a perfect time, both with something to teach, both with something to learn, both needing exactly what the other has to offer.

Million Dollar Baby Cast
million dollar baby movie cast

Maggie Fitzgerald, like Teena Brandon, is another role that seems like Hilary Swank was born to play. While I’m able to see someone else in the role, I’m unable to think of another actress who could play her this well. The combination of her unwavering grit, her hard-fought-for athleticism, her trailer trash roots, her compulsion to make not just something of herself, but maker herself someone … Swank effortlessly nails all these traits with a series of stiff jabs and wicked uppercuts. Maggie appears to be a fairly simplistic character, but Swank instills her with layers and heft that are both subtle and unmistakable. A fabulous performance that is sure to draw awards-nomination-level attention.

Clint Eastwood is The Man. Period. He makes other Men look merely like Boys. He is a filmmaking deity, an institution, an icon who continues to ripen, robustly majestic even in this, the twilight of his career, like a brilliant purpling sunset you wish would never end. His portrayal of Frankie Dunn is a marvel to behold – you almost forget for a while that you’re watching Clint Eastwood (similar to the phenomenon who is Jack Nicholson – it’s the same effect, for you never *truly* forget you’re watching Jack).

Ann Hornaday made an excellent point in her review for the Washington Post about the character of Frankie closely paralleling Clint’s style as a filmmaker, and I wish I could claim to have come up with the idea myself, because it’s dead on. Frankie is a no-nonsense guy, a straight shooter, he pulls no punches (sorry), but underneath there is plenty of style and substance and finesse.

Eastwood is notorious for being a no-frills director, his shoots are quick with not a lot of takes, but whose technical acumen is beyond question, and he has great ability to wring a lot from his cast and crew while down-playing the entire process (plus he apparently says “That’s enough of that shit” instead of “Cut” after a take, and how fragging cool is that???). Oh, and he still looks like he could whip your ass at the grand old age of 74. It truly will be a sad day when he’s no longer with us.

Getting Morgan Freeman to do the voiceover work in your movie is like getting married by the Pope or getting a creative writing lesson from Stephen King or getting LeBron James to teach your kid how to play basketball.

Morgan Freeman’s simply the best in the biz. His performance as Scrap is just as golden as his narration, but while Swank and Eastwood have the big story arcs and all the face time, with Freeman, it’s the little moments that are the best: his witty and oft-times pissy banter with Frankie, the few bits of advice he doles out to Maggie early on, like dangling a carrot out to a rabbit.

I’m interested to see the Inside the Actor’s Studio episode with Freeman that just recently premiered – I’m hoping it was recorded either during or after the Million Dollar Baby shoot, because if so, I’m sure Lipton will mention it.

The Million Dollar Baby Review:

Everything about this film screams top drawer: the acting, the direction, the story, the music (also done by Eastwood), the boxing matches, everything. Someone made comment about needlessly pitting Maggie as a white champion (one of her big opponents is a black fighter from Germany), but I think that remark is asinine and just plain wrong.

The film never plays the race card, never even implies that race has anything to do with anything, thankfully, nor do several other clichés see the light of day upon which the story easily could have relied. It’s just a fabulous story that’s fabulously well told by a group of talented actors and filmmakers. Which, at the end of the day, is just about all you could ask for.

Rating – 5/5

With performances this rich and a story this good, you’d have a hard time talking me out of seeing it more than once on the DVD & Blu Ray.

Casey Anthony Trial

For the first time since her last arrest Casey Anthony left jail – to attend a court hearing. She was called to the courtroom by the judge. She was shackled and dressed in her blue prison jumpsuit. Her hair was longer and pulled back from her face. She had the ‘deer in the headlights’ look. When she was told to raise her right arm as best she could she did try and was only able to lift it a few inches. Shackles don’t give you much range of motion.

There was a case going on, her case, and when asked why she wasn’t in court her attorney said she gave him permission to waive her rights to attend. During the discussion the judge indicated he wanted Casey brought to the courtroom so he could hear her say that she had given her attorney permission to waive her. The judge was tired of hearing, she didn’t want to appear.

She was allowed to say for the entire hearing which involved discussion about whether or not there would be restrictions put on the evidence that is going to be turned over to the defense. That evidence is x-rays and photos of Caylee’s remains. In the end the defense team was told they would get the evidence but there is a long list of rules, regulations and restrictions to view the evidence online. No one wants to see those photos wind up in the tabloids at the checkout line.

The mysterious Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez – the babysitter – has not only come out of hiding, but is filing a civil suit against Casey. Attorneys actually wanted to go into the courtroom or into the jail and bring Zenaida with them. They wanted to sit down with Casey Anthony and have a videotaped deposition in the jailhouse. The judge said he would not allow that as it would infringe on her 5th Amendment rights. Casey has rights, but poor little Caylee didn’t have any; her mother took them away. A list of questions will be given to Casey in jail, through her attorney, and they will have 30 days to respond. Her attorney indicated in an interview later that he will give her the list of questions and instruct her to write her name, date of birth and plead the 5th.

This is just the beginning. We are in for a long ride and we will stick it out because the important thing in the end is justice for a little Caylee.

Study, Study, Study

Most students wish they could do better in school. With the proper study techniques and skills they can.

Make decisions for yourself about your priorities, time, and resources. Each student is responsible for his/her own success. Don’t let others dictate what is important to you. Make studying a priority and don’t let anything distract you. Determine the most productive time and place for studying.

Address the biggest challenges first and appreciate your own hard work. If you have a disagreement with an instructor try to understand where he/she is coming from, then try to prevent your argument from their point of view. If one study method isn’t working, try another one. Don’t just keep re-reading, seek out the teacher, a tutor, a classmate, a study group, or the school’s study skills center. Enjoy new academic challenges.

Association is the most important and effective studying technique. A common example of association is mnemonics. Seeing with the mind’s eye increases memory. Think in pictures as much as possible. Playing slow Baroque music while studying reduces the frequency of brain waves and more effective studying results.

It’s best not to wait until the day before the exam to start studying. Waiting until the day before to study does not allow for the regular practice of study skills. On average one forgets 80% of what is learned in 24 hours.

The following is a much better schedule for retaining studied material.

Day 1

Study in 30-minute intervals. Using 15 minutes to study new material and 15 minutes to review previous material.

Take a 5-minute break.

Use 3 minutes to review material that was studied before the break.

The remaining 27 minutes are used to concentrate on new material.

Day 2 – 6

For 3 minutes review the previous day’s material.

Move on to anything new for 27 minutes.

Take a 5-minute break.

Use 3 minutes to again review material from the previous day.

Spend 3 minutes reviewing what was studied in the first 30 minute interval

The remaining 24 minutes are used for new material.

Day 7 – 29

The first 3 minutes are now used to review material from 7 days prior.

Minutes 6 – 9 are used to study the material from the day before

After the 5-minute break, minutes 10 – 13 are used to review material from the first half of the session.

New material follows

Day 30 – 119

3 minutes to review material that was first viewed 30 days ago

3 minutes reviewing material from 7 days ago

3 minutes reviewing 24 hour old material

After the break, 3 minutes reviewing material new to that session

New material follows

Day 120

3 minutes for material that was first introduced 120 days earlier

3 minutes for material introduced 30 days earlier

3 minutes for material introduced 7 days earlier

3 minutes for material introduced 24 hours earlier

After the break, 3 minutes will be used to review what was covered as new in the previous 30-minute period.