Sunday, July 31, 2011

North Melbourne Kangaroos - Round 19 Review

In the Kangaroos only Friday night game of the year they were pitted against top 4 Carlton in a true of test of their place in the pecking order. 3 heavy losses to Collingwood (twice) and Geelong only enhanced the view that they were a fair pace of the mark.

The Kangaroos have been able to match it with teams out of the 8 and 2 disappointing losses to Sydney (1 point) and St Kilda (9 points) prove they are comfortable in he middle of the ladder. The middle of the ladder however could be seen as ranging from 7th to 11th and you only get to play finals if you finish 8th or higher. So where abouts do the Kangaroos sit in the 'middle pack'? Well losses to Sydney (6th), St Kilda(7th), West Coast (5th) and Fremantle (8th) make it appear they are just off the mark at the moment but a closer inspection shows the Roos were a chance in those games losing them by 1, 9, 4 and 29 points respectively. Sure I here you say, the good teams wins the close games (see Geelong) but it also points out that the Roos aren't that far off either.

The last 4 games of the year against Hawthorn (4th), Fremantle(8th), St Kilda(7th) and Richmond(13th) will give a good indication as 3 are top 8 sides and Richmond sitting in 13th spot. The Roos should win the last game if they want to be seen as improving and heading in the right direction. A home game against an injury riddled Fremantle, a visit to Tasmania against the Hawks and a rematch against the Saints will show the Roos where they're at. 3 wins out of 4 could see them playing finals and 4 would give them a likely chance.

But I'm getting ahead of myself let's look back at Friday night. If we must.

Round 19 vs Carlton Blues @ES

North Melbourne Kangaroos 3.2 6.2 7.6 9.8 62

Carlton Blues 1.4 3.9 6.12 11.14 80

I was quietly confident about the match up with several key position players missing through injury and our ability to match up well against the Blues. 5 scoring shots a piece but wayward kicking from Carlton saw the Roos go into the first break 10 points up. The usual players for both teams were laying well.
Again wayward kicking saw the Blues go into the main break 11 down after kicking 3 goals 9. Carlton clearly had the better of the 3rd quarter restricting the Roos to 1 goal 4 and clawing back the deficit so that both teams were tied at the last break.
The going was tough at the start of the last quarter and the Kangaroos squandered a couple of gettable chances particularly marks inside 50 to Drew Petrie and Lachie Hansen. Carlton capitalised on these mistakes and took their chances in a 5 minute spurt kicking 3 quick goals, the ascendancy and as it turns out the game. Andrew Swallow toiled hard all day and tried his heart out in the last but in the end there were too many travellers and the Roos were over run by a fit Carlton side led admirably by skipper and new dad Chris Judd who was instrumental in the last quarter. Bryce Gibbs also shone in a different role in attack kicking 4 important goals in a low scoring match. Swallow ended with a game high 32 possessions, 5 I50's a goal and 9 tackles. Ziebell continued his consistent form with 22 touches and 10 tackles. Goldstein as always played his role with 36 hit outs and 5 tackles.
Roo Rating: 7 1/2 / 10
Daniel Wells
Wells had by far his quietest night with 5 tackles and 13 possessions. Most disturbing was the fact he went missing in the last when he was most needed and this game alone could be his unravelling for an All-Australian selection. Overall a disappointing performance by Daniel.
Wells Rating: 3  / 10
Let's hope Wells and his Roo mates can bounce back next Sunday @Aurora Stadium, Launceston.
Until then hail to FNF!

Friday, July 29, 2011

North Melbourne Kangaroos - Must Win Friday Night Game!

The Kangaroos take on 4th placed Carlton in arguably their most important match so far.

The Roos have been able to account for most teams below them on the ladder and have also been blown out of the park against the top 2 teams. This is a chance to prove to the AFL public that they belong and can match it with the big boys. The Kangaroos currently sit in 10th position a half a game out of the 8 and play Hawthorn next week in another test before a bye. A win tonight and a Fremantle loss to Hawthorn would see the Roos enter the 8 and finals talk for the first time all year. After losing the first 4 games of the year and dropping several winnable games the Roos have won 6 of their last 8 and apart from being gangbanged by Collingwood have been playing good uncompromising footy with loads of contested footy to accompany clearances and inside 50's. If not for inaccurate kicking in front of the big sticks, the Roos would have an even better %.

Where the game will be won!

Let's look at the raw team stats (Totals):

Clearances:  2nd Carlton - 3rd Kangaroos
Contested Possessions: 3rd Carlton - 4th Kangaroos
Inside 50: 3rd Kangaroos - 5th Carlton
1%ers: 3rd Kangaroos - 6th Carlton
Contested Marks: 5th Kangaroos - 11th Carlton
Hit Outs: 2nd Kangaroos - 3rd Carlton
Goals: 3rd Carlton - 6th Kangaroos
Tackles: 2nd Carlton - 8th Kangaroos

Is there a clear winner? The only thing clear here is both teas are doing well in all of these statistical areas.

How about players in the top 10 (Total)
Clearances: 3rd Judd (C); 4th Swallow(NM); 9th Murphy (C)
Contested Possessions: E4th Swallow (NM) Judd(C); 6th Murphy (C)
Inside 50: 4th Simpson (C); 6th Wells (NM); 9th Murphy (C); 10th Judd(C)
1%ers: 2nd Thompson (NM)
Contested Marks: 3rd Petrie (NM)
Hit Outs: 1st Goldstein (NM)595; 6th Warrnock (C) 373 - 222 diference
Goals: 4th Walker (C); 7th Petrie (NM); E8th Betts (C), Garlett (C)
Tackles: 8th Swallow

Any clearer? The match winners will be Judd, Murphy and the Carlton small forwards vs Swallow, Wells, Goldstein and the Petrie up forward.

Whoever can win the clearances and contested possession should result in more inside 50's and scoring shots. If it's North Melbourne they need to kick above .500 and they're a red hot chance.

Check in in a couple of days for the review.

Until then hail to the clearance!

Quentin Tarantino Soundtrack List - Part 2

While I'm rating the soundtracks on their respective A List and B List songs I'm also weighing in their relistenablity (it's a word!) and structure. A couple of dud songs can bring down the rating however. This top 4 has a couple of surprises particularly #2 being as high as it is! Well let's jump in, the waters warm!


Kill Bill vol. 2

I generally listen to the Kill Bill's (1 & 2) combined so was surprised that vol. 2 has 3 times as many A - List songs and 10 tracks altogether I rate so highly. A strong Ennio Morricone influence lifts this compilation into the top 4. But there's more to it with great tracks including Johnny Cash's "A Satified Mind", Shivaree's "Goodnight Moon and a fantastic interpretation by Chingon of the common Mexican ballad "Malaguena Salerosa". This is a perfect example of a complete soundtrack that does what it says on the box. All of the songs add their part to the puzzle making this a more than enjoyable listening experience.

A - List
A Satified Mind - Johnny Cash
Goodnight Moon - Shivaree
Malaguena Salerosa - Chingon
Il Tramonto - Ennio Morricone
LArena - Ennio Morricone
A Silhouette of Doom - Ennio Morricone
B - List
Urami Bushi - Meiko Kaji
Summertime Killer - Luis Bacalov
About Her - Malcolm McLaren
Can't Hardly Stand It - Charlie Feathers


Pulp Fiction

I absolutely loved the movie when I saw it in 1994 and had the soundtrack in my sweaty little hands as soon as it was available. It suits Pulp's non-linear structure and offers a few hidden gems such as The Statler Brothers' "Flowers on the Wall", Rick Nelson's "Lonesome Town" and "If Love is a Red Dress (Hang Me in Rags)" by Maria McKee. It also has proven gold with Al Green and Dusty Springfield along with a fantastic rendition of Neil Diamond by Urge Overkill. Although this is an eclectic collection it would most aptly be described at Rock & Roll Surf music. Without putting too much thought into it I had Pulp Fiction battling for the #1 an #2 position so this shows how close the top 3 are and how good the top 2 must be!

A - List
Let's Stay Together - Al Green
Flowers on the Wall - The Statler Brothers
Son of a Preacher Man - Dusty Springfield
Girl You'll Be a Woman Soon - Urge Overkill
B - List
Bustin' Surfboards - The Tornadoes
Lonesome Town - Rick Nelson
Jungle Boogie - Kool and the Gang
If Love is a Red Dress (Hang Me in Rags) - Maria McKee


Death Proof

This is a case of the soundtrack being vastly superior to the movie. I like the movie, it is what it is and although QT took the brief too seriously, unlike Robert Rodriguez, he does manage to achieve what he set out to achieve. He made one of the greatest car chases in cinematic history. Well to go along with that feat he also has compiled a bloody good collection of quasi-obscure 70's rock and R&B. Most are not well known but they are great songs that also pull into a tight huddle giving us a fun and enjoyable listening experience. Not only are there 5 dead set A List songs but also 3-4 B's that could/should be brought into the premier league. Finding and compiling such great songs that also compliment each other is quite the achievement and making this a very worthy #2 even ahead of Pulp Fiction! Smith's rendition of "Baby it's You" is as great the original which can be found on one of the all-time greatest soundtracks - Wanderers!

A - List
Baby it's You - Smith
The Love You Save (May Be Your Own) - Joe Tex
Good Love, Bad Love - Eddie Floyd
Staggolee - Pacific Gas & Electric
Down in Mexico - The Coasters
B - List
Hold Tight - Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Titch
Jeepster - T Rex
Paranoia Prima - Ennio Morricone


Reservoir Dogs

This is the1st of the great QT soundtracks and the best. He set a precedent and although he hasn't matched it he is yet to have a dud also. My brother and I listened to this over and over again and the reason is sits in #1 is because every single song earns it's spot on the roster. I'm not going to relate a song to it's corresponding scene as the song needs to stand on it's own two beat (get it?). This is a great little hark back to 60's music and tying it to K B I L L Y, K Billy's home of rock is genius. Stevie Wright is also dead pan prefect for the role. Ok down to the stats. I've listed 6 undisputed A - List songs with the other 2 unlucky to be relegated to B status. That's right, the worse (if you can call it that) song on the disc is a B+ at worst. I also admire the fact that QT has shot a 50's style heist movie but managed to marry it up with an equally impressive 70's compilation. These are all great sing along songs and I never feel the need to press 'skip' when any arrive on my iPod. My only criticism would be it runs at a very short 30 minutes but I'd rather that than to have an extra song that doesn't pick up the slack.

A - List
Harvest Moon - Bedlam
Little Green Bag - The George Baker Selection
I Gotcha - Joe Tex
Magic Carpet Ride - Bedlam
Fool For Love - Sandy Rogers
Hooked on a Feeling - Blue Suede
B - List
Coconut - Harry Nillson
Stuck in the Middle with You - Stealers Wheel

Next up for QT is Django Unchained, a Southern Western about the oppression of slavery starring Jamie Foxx as the eponymous protagonist. Can't wait to see what QT uses for his 'chain gang' soundtrack.

Until then hail to the Behemoth!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Quentin Tarantino Soundtrack List - Part 1

Before you gather your posse and come at me with pitch forks, I'm ranking this list on the number of songs each soundtrack has on MY A, B and C list (I'll only list the A and B). Not how many grammy's it may have won or in any way how good the film was. I'm also going to leave From Dusk Til Dawn out of this list as it's easier to just have Tarantino directed soundtracks. Otherwise do I add Desperado (Quentin also acted in this) or even the Little Nicky soundtrack, god help us. I am also going to ignore the dialogue extracts and focus on the music.

Okay I'll jump into this with my:


Jackie Brown

There are a variety of genres here but 70's soul and R&B is the flavour and it serves it well. I would say the soundtrack matched the film in that they are serviceable but not great. There are touches of greatest in "Didn't I blow your mind this time" by The Delfonics and "Across 110th Street" by Bobby Womack (arguably the theme of the film). But then there's "Tennessee Stud" by Johnny Cash that although it's not a bad song doesn't fit the mould for this compilation. Then almost inexplicably great songs like The Supremes' "Baby Love", Jermaine Jackson's "My Touch of Madness" (which isn't found easily), and The Delfonics "La-La (Means I Love You)" are missing but included the extended version. I'm also not a fan of the rap ditty  "Letter To the Firm" by Foxy Brown that is played for a few second in the record store. At 51minutes the list is also a little light on considering the songs that could have been chosen. Overall there are 5 good soul songs that could be an integral part of a good soul play list but that's about it.

A - List

B - List
Who is he - Bill Whithers
Natural High - Bloodstone
Across 110th Street - Bobby Womack
Midnight Confession - The Grass Roots
Didn't I Blow you Mind this Time - The Delfonics


Kill Bill vol.1

I am a big fan of this soundtrack and it stood out to me on 1st viewing of the movie and I'm surprised it is so low on the list. But after viewing the number of A and B songs it just proves QT has been able to compile some great lists. The movie and the sound track open with "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) by Nancy Sinatra and it sets the tone perfectly for both forums. The only other A List song for me is Santa Esmeraldo's "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood", it's 10minutes 29seconds of head bopping goodness. There are 5 B List songs that given my mood could swing into the A List category and the disc itself is congruent in theme but there are 5 other QT soundtracks better. Much better than Jackie Brown and pretty close to #5. I'd have no qualms about recommending this to anyone who liked the movie.

A - List
Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down - Nancy Sinatra
Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood - Santa Esmeraldo
B - List
That Certain Female - Charlie Feathers
The Grand Duel (Parte Prima) - Luis Bacalov
Run Fay Run - Isaac Hayes
The Flower of Carnage - Meiko Kaji
The Lonely Shepherd - Gheorghe Zamfir & James Last


Inglourious Basterds

I am including tracks from the extended version because that's the one I have. This would still place #5 without those tracks. QT is great at picking a strong genre and making it fit seamlessly in his little eccentric universe. IB (the film and soundtrack are no exceptions. The movie is a great WWII flick and this soundtrack is the same. Great use of the eminent Ennio Morricone and a collaboration of eclectic tracks makes this the tightest of the soundtracks so far. The only oddity is the obviously post-WWII Bowie track "Cat People (Putting Out the Fire"). The lack of lyrics makes this a great disc to have on in the background especially when reading.

A - List
the Verdict (dopo La Condanna) - Ennio Morricone
Rabbia E Tarantella - Ennio Morricone
the Surrender (la Resa) - Ennio Morricone
Un Amico - Ennio Morricone
B - List
White Lightning - Charles Bernstein
One Silver Dollar (un Dollaro Bucato) - The Film Studio Orchastra
Tiger Tank - Lalo Schifrin
Cat People (Putting out the Fire) - David Bowie

The top 4 Quentin Tarantino soundtracks will be posted very shortly!

Until then hail to the Maestro!

Monday, July 25, 2011

North Melbourne Kangaroos - Top 3 individual performances

There are 2 performances that stand out as 2 of the best for the whole league but choosing the third best was a little tougher. Having a high number in one or more statistical areas doesn't necessarily make it a great performance. Brady Rawlings often picks up 30+ possessions but they aren't as damaging to the opposition as 30 possessions from a more skillful player like Daniel Wells. Shear possessions and marks don't tell the same story as taking into account whether they were contested or a number of uncontested half-back time wasters.

So these are in order and I'm going to start with #1.

#1 Individual Performance (so far)

Andrew Swallow

Round 11 vs Adelaide Crows

I rate Andrew's game against the Crows as the most complete and influential by any player wearing the Royal Blue this year.

Swallow started the game hot winning 2 clearances and kicking a goal in the first 90 seconds. By quarter-time he had 17 disposals, 14 contested possessions, and 10 clearances to his name. Swallow single handedly won the team the quarter and although he didn't replicate these dizzying stat for the 3 subsequent quarters he still played a great game and ending up with some near records on the way. His 39 possessions were used at an astonishingly high 84% effectiveness. He laid 5 tackles, picked u 17 clearances and kicked 2 goals. He also took 3 uncharacteristic bounces as he was obviously aware he was playing a blinder. His most impressive stat was his 27 contested possessions that was 1 off the all-time record. This stat shows that Swallow wasn't on the end of easy kicks and he went and got the ball himself.

#2 Individual Performance

Jack Ziebell

Round 17 - Western Bulldogs

You could excuse Ziebell his relatively slow start to the season as his is coming off 2 broken legs and hip surgery and he's only 20. Coach Brad Scott subbed him out of most games at the start of the season as his fitness slowly built up and Ziebell has started to repay the faith picking up 20+ possies in 7 out of the last 9 games.

It was on the Sunday afternoon against the Bulldogs that Ziebell played his breakout game picking up 41 valuable possessions. His 28 kicks were more than any Bulldog could manage in possessions for the match. Ziebell entered the league with a mature body and show this by shrugging many tackles as well as laying 6 of his own. He was able to pick up 20 contested possessions and executed 8 valuable clearances. His confidence building during the season and reaching a crescendo as he attacked the ball and took the game on as evident by his 8 inside 50's an a goal.

Ziebell still needs to build a bigger fitness base as an uninterrupted pre-season will help with this but his game is even more magnificent in the reality that Ziebell was only on he ground for 68% of the game time. Imagine what he'll be able to do when he can play a regular midfield role at about 85% GT?

#3 Individual Performances

Todd Goldstein

Round 14 vs Port Adelaide

Picking the 3rd IP was difficult as a few players has very good games and Daniel Wells was unlucky as was Drew Petrie but Goldstein needs to be rewarded for his ultra consistent season thus far that could/should result in an All-Australian selection.

Goldstein set the tone early and finished the game with a staggering 53 hit outs (His second 53HO game for the year) and his attack on the footy a marvel for a player who stands 201cm and 103kgs. He picked up 13 handy possessions including 4 rebounds out of 50 and a goal. When he didn't have the ball on a string he laid 6 tackles.

I'd love to be able to update this post with another stand out performance before the season is over particularly a finals game.

Until then hail to Spitta!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

North Melbourne Kangaroos - Round 18 Review

Round 18 - Brisbane Lions @ET

North Melbourne Kangaroos 4.7 8.10 12.15 17.20 122

Brisbane Lions 4.0 8.5 10.6 11.11 77

I hate game when we're quite strong favourites and this one was as important for final 8 aspirations as any this weekend. 'We' also owed the Lions an uppercut after they beat us earlier in the year when they had no rights!!!
Another dominant 1st quarter wasted by inaccurate goal kicking had me prepared for the worst. 11 scoring shots to open the game is a good effort but 4 goals from those opportunities is not. 4 goals 3 in the second quarter was in improvement in accuracy but saw the Roos holding onto a tenuous 5 point lead at the main break. Daniel Wells was having a rare quiet half but Ryan Bastinac was having a consistent ball winning half to counter it. While some of the usual suspects were playing well Swallow, Goldstein and Petrie (Despite his inaccurate goal kicking!?) what was most refreshing was the younger brigade in Leigh Adams, Bastinac and Jack Ziebell picking up the midfield slack.
I was always of the belief that the Roos would wear the young Lions down and eventually pull away and they did just that kicking 4 goals to 2 in the 3rd quarter and 5 to 1 in the last to pull out a percentage boosting 45 point win. The key match up for the game was in the ruck between 2 of the up and coming tall timber of the AFL Todd Goldstein and Matthew Leuenberger. They are 1 and 2 respectively in the league for hitouts and are capable of going forward and adding to the scoreboard. It was almost a tie but Goldstein stamped another claim for All-Australian honours with 42 hit outs and 2 very important goals. Leuey was probably 50/50 in ruck contests against Goldy but Goldy's tank enabled him to play an astounding 98% of game time to Leuey's 68% which allowed him to attend more stoppages and therefore end up with the more hit outs. I tipping this two ruckmen to be the premiere ruckmen of the comp for the next 10 years like Dean Cox and Aaron Sandilands. If Petrie had kicked straighter we would have been 'Best on Ground' with 13 very strong marks and 8 scoring shots. Unfortunately he kicked 3.5 and should have had at least 6 but in the end it was enough and the Roos have the chance to enter the 8 next weekend if they can beat Carlton on the big stage of the Roo grown Friday Night canvas. On a Lions note Simon Black played a blinder and should be good for at least 2 more years!
Roo Rating: 8 / 10
Daniel Wells
Daniel had a quiet day amassing only 17 possessions and almost half of them in the last quarter. It is his lowest output for the year and goes with a n 18 and a 19 possie performance as the only time he hasn't had 20+ in 18 rounds. It goes to show how good he is when his 12 kicks all hit a target and he drifted forward and kicked 2 goals plus an easy snap that was just wide left. He also laid 5 bone crunching tackles to match his new aggressive inside game. If Wells wants to be considered elite and one of the A grade players in the comp he will need to step up on Friday night with a team lifting performance.
Wells Rating: 6.5 / 10
Until then hail to the Dish!!

Friday, July 22, 2011

3 about to become 4

Damn, it hit me today that in less than 6 weeks I'm going to be a father (again).

Are we ready and how will Ben react. Apparently he has hit a couple of babies at Childcare and maybe this is because we are talking about babies more.

We're still waiting for Ben's bed to arrive and the transition for him out of his cot is probably going to be the hardest. Yes I know we'll be hit by a whole new level of sleep deprivation but I'm already up at least twice during the night at the moment and Annaliese will be doing the late night feeds. So hopefully Ben accepts that they will be a little bundle taking up our attention and time. Guess we'll find out - in 5 weeks 6 days actually!

Anyway it's about to get real, real soon!

Until then hail to Caesar!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

North Melbourne Kangaroos R14 - R17 Review

Round 14 – Port Adelaide Power @AAMI

Port Adelaide Power 5.3 9.4 10.5 14.7 91

North Melbourne Kangaroos 5.0 12.4 18.8 21.10 136

This was a must win for the Roos and as such is always seen as a danger game for me! Port are fighting very hard NOT to be the team that wins the 'spoon' in the Gold Coast Suns 1st year. At quarter time when they were up by 3 points I wasn't panicking but knew they need to stamp their authority on the game and thankfully in the 2nd quarter they did. Despite Port kicking 4 goals for the term the Roos poured 6 goals 4 onto the scoreboard and it had the effect of warm treacle. Port felt the omnipresent pressure from said scoreboard and the scoreline slowly drifted out of reach like Wilson (or should I say Sherrin) out at sea. Daniel Wells and Jack Ziebell were having quality games and supplying the forward line with quality entries. If Drew Petrie and Brent Harvey could have kicked straighter the final margin would have been larger than the 45 points it eventuated into. Petrie kicked 4.3 and Harvey 3.3 but 21.10 for the team was a great sign after games earlier in the season being sub .500 and seemingly costing the 4 points. Todd Goldstein didn't gather a heap of the pill (6 possessions) but he did rag-doll the opposition recording an almost record 53 hit outs and 6 tackles to stamp his name in All-Australian contention. The Roo interestingly again had the most players on the field who were yet to notch up 50 games.

Roo Rating : 8.5 / 10

Daniel Wells

Daniel again gathered 20+ possies, equal leading the team with 27 including a team high 6 inside 50's. His silky skills helped break the Power back in the 2 and 3rd terms and his attacked on the ball has proved thus far not to be an aberration. He also chimed in with a handy goal.

Wells Rating: 8 / 10

Round 15 - St Kilda Saints @ET

North Melbourne Kangaroos 3.2 7.3 9.6 10.10 70

St Kilda Saints 3.4 10.5 12.7 12.7 79

This could prove to be an important game finals wise as the Saints are finally hitting form that pre-season selectors were tipping. In a typically low scoring see-sawing affair the lead changed several time and neither team ever looking out of the running for the biccies. It was arguable the 2nd quarters that won the Saints the game when they piled on 7 goals to 4. They were only to score 2 goals for the 2nd half but it was enough to hold on for a 9 point victory. The Kangaroos more than had their chances in the 2nd half but rushed wayward kicking cost them the win. 1.4 in the last quarter was inexcusable considering the high amount of time the ball spent inside their 50 metre arc and the fact the Saints didn't score a point and never looked like it. They flooded their back line and the Roo didn't play smart football bombing it onto Drew Petrie when he was often outnumbered 3 to 1 instead of looking for a 2nd lead up option. Brady Rawlings picked up a Roo high 25 possies but is rarely damaging with the ball. Todd Goldstein continued his stellar and consistent year with 47 hit outs giving him 100 over weeks. Leigh Adams was a bright light up forward kicking 3 goals straight in a close game.
Roo Rating: 7 / 10
Daniel Wells
Well again picked up 20+ possessions and pumped the ball 5 times into attack and laid 6 tackles. He wasn't at his best but 13 of his kicks are more damaging than 30 Rawlings disposals
Wells Rating: 7 / 10

Round 16 - Collingwood Magpies @MCG

Collingwood Magpies 4.3 10.6 16.12 22.15 147

North Melbourne Kangaroos 1.5 2.8 3.9 3.12 30

After the jail style pumping the Roos suffered in the 2nd round to the Pies I was just hoping for a better effort, not deluding my self with a win. The Roos actually had more of the ball and had they kicked straighter (1.5) could have been in the game but the lead slowly then quickly blew out and the young Joeys put their heads and eventually lost by a record (to the Pies) 114. Kicking 3.12 for the day didn't help either. I will say however that the Pies are a bloody good team!! Zeibell and Wells again tried with 27 and 29 possies respectively and Goldstein won his position with 38 hit outs.

Roo Rating: 1 / 10

Daniel Wells

Daniel tried for much of the day but with so many passengers even his impact on the contest was lessened. Still one of the best Roos though that doesn't say much.6 tackles and 5 I50's are handy stats in any game.

Wells Rating: 6 / 10

Round 17 – Western Bulldogs @ET

North Melbourne Kangaroos 3.3 11.7 13.11 21.16 142

Western Bulldogs 5.3 7.4 13.6 17.9 111

I hope hoping the Roos would respond after a 100+ point walloping and according to history it was never in doubt. Since 2001 the Roos have lost 6 games by 100+ and have also won every game after that. They are the only team with a 100% record. When the Doggies picked up a 22 point buffer last in the last quarter I was cautious but all the typical Roos were playing including a great opening quarter to Daniel Wells. Halfway through the 2nd quarters the game opened up and the Roos managed to score a flurry of goals. Live-wire small forward Matty Campbell relished the insistent I50's registering 3 1st half goals and Petrie was clunking marks. North finished the quarter with a year record of 8 goals 4 and a 27 point lead. The Bulldogs came out and played some good footy in the 3rd kicking 6 goals to 2 trailing by only 5 points at the last break. I was still optimistic as Ziebell, Wells and Swallow were getting plenty of the ball and Goldstein was having another solid game. The lead changed several times through out the term and Ziebell continued to find the aget with ease ending up with a crazy 41 possies including 21 contested and 13 clearances. He had 28 kicks, 5 marks, 6 tackles, 8 I50's and a goal to his name by the final siren and all on playing only 67% game time. Ziebell has been much maligned through out his career but when you take into account he has had 2 broken legs and hip surgery and he's only 20 it's quite remarkable that he is not playing in the #2's let alone picking up 40+ possies. He is the 2nd youngest player ever to get that much leather in one game. The Roos had too much of the ball and ending up kicking another 8 goals 5 for the quarter to run away with a 31 point lead and a real chance of playing finals. This would be up there with the Essendon win in the fact that they were challenged and responded with great footy. Andrew Swallow also had a good game after a couple of quiet ones finishing with 33 including 8 I50's and 5 tackles. The skipper Boomer Harvey had a blinder of a last term and provided a lot of spark finishing with 26 including 2 goals and 5 goal contributions.
Roo Rating : 9/ 10

Daniel Wells

Daniel got the ball 33 times including 23 extremely damaging kicks 9 I 50's and 4 tackles. At half time Wells had more kicks than any Bulldogs player had possessions. If Ziebell hadn't hadn't gone berserk Wells would have been a clear Best on Ground. As it was during the coaches voting Wells equalled Ziebell with 9 out of a possible 10 (a 5 and a 4 vote). Wells is seriously getting All-Australian and Brownlow talk in many media circles and would be a favourite slightly ahead of Goldstein for the Syd Barker medal (North Melbourne Best and Fairest). This has clearly been Wells' best season so far in consistency and the amount of great games.

Wells Rating: 9 / 10

Until then hail to the zieBULL!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Red Hot Chili Peppers new single

The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie

Anticipation of the new RHCP single was as high as it could possibly be in my house after a 4 year self imposed hiatus by the iconic rock band.

I read a few reviews before downloading it (legally on iTunes) and this was a bad mistake. Especially when I read one review saying it sounded more like Bon Jovi. Which it does not!!!!!

I'd also read an interview where leader singer Anthony Keidis explains the origins of the song and how it was originally going to be an hour long B-side of a jam session. Thankfully they whittled away and produced a worthy opening single for the upcoming album I'm With You.

It all started after Flea spent a day trying to nail a classic bass line and in my opinion he did and it's the best part of the song. Flea has strummed out an iconic head bopping beat and Anthony has layered quality but not great lyrics to.

While it's not one of the Peppers greatest songs it sits comfortably nestled in several ipod playlists. And you know what I don't mind the cow bell. I hope it isn't played throughout the album but it kinda fits here!

My appetite is well and truly whetted for the album which will hit the stands 3 days before the birth of my 2nd child!!!

Until then hail to the lipstick junkie!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My Top 6 Pixar Movies

I have always been a fan of good animated movies and loved Aladdin but this beast that is Pixar has cornered the market to the point that it's one apparent low point in Cars is actually a great movie. (And incidentally only just misses out on my top and is ahead of several others. Every Pixar movie seems to focus on a common belief/thought/wonderment or idea. Whether it's toys coming to life or monsters in the closet.

I am a huge fan of every Pixar movie and wait in anticipation for the forth coming instalments including Monsters University (a prequel to Monsters, Inc)

Well here it is:

#1 Toy Story

This would be one of the greatest tales ever told and has all the heart and smarts to literally appeal to every demographic. While it’s a G rated movie for the kiddies it also grabs anyone with a nostalgic bone in their body. Even kids who didn’t grow up with a menagerie of toys will have had at least a toy soldier to throw around in the backyard. And let’s be honest as kids we all imagined what it would be like for these creations of metal and plastic to come to life. What personalities would they have and most importantly what would they get up to?

Having the 2 main protagonists as polar opposites is a stroke of genius. I’m going to assume that kids 200 years ago would have played cowboys and Indians and had rudimentary dolls for make believe play. Then the opposite would be the future and what is the future? Space. So we get the greatest space ranger to secure sector G in Buzz Lightyear. Even their names match their appeal. Woody is a basic description of what the first toys would have been made out of and buzz and light brings to mind vivid space fights in an unknown region.

We open with Andy (the owner of the toys) having his birthday party and all the toys are concerned they will be replaced and this included Woody. He actually gets a little irritated and snaps before the party as he is the ‘favourite’ toy and wants it to stay that way. So they send down soldiers to report back what the new toys will be. Most of the toys are non-threatening to the others but the last one is the newest gadget on the market space ranger Buzz Lightyear. This makes Andy’s 2 favourite toys direct rivals for the coveted roles as main toy. Cleverly the movie finishes with the same image but Woody and Buzz are pretending to not be worried about the Christmas presents Andy will receive. The characters have come full circle and learned to be happy with their place in the scheme of these.

The detail and quality of the animation was ground breaking at the time as still holds up today after several jumps in technology. I also rate that the humans aren’t rendered ‘real’ whereas the toys are given great detail.

Having a 21 month boy I’ve seen many of the Pixar movies but none more so than Toy Story. And it was with these repeat viewings that I picked up on the little layers and details that complete the movie. I particularly like it when Slinky dog is sticking up for Woody and Potato Head pulls his lips off and taps his butt with them.

#2 Toy Story 2

Not often does a sequel to a great movie match or beat its predecessor. And Toy Story 2 almost does this. Although TS1 is better TS2 is a fantastic tale and has all the ingredients of an awesome stand-alone movie. And as with all good sequels great characters are added to the fold. Stinky Pete and Jessie being the stand outs.

Woody isn’t taken to Cowboy camp after Andy finds a rip in his seam. Woody is left on a shelf to wait it out and it is up there he witnesses Andy’s mum collecting various unused toys including Squeaky the penguin from the 1st movie for a garage sale. Woody saves Squeaky but in the process manages to be seen by Toy Barn owner Al McWiggin and recognised as the highly valuable toy he is. Andy’s mum won’t sell Woody knowing he’s one of Andy’s favourite toys. Al won’t take no for an answer and steals Woody. The rest of the gang witness this from the safety of Andy’s room and set out to save Woody.

Woody is patched up and in turn meets the rest of the ‘Round Up Gang’. Stinky Pete, Jessie the cowgirl and his trusty steed Bullseye. Woody also finds out he was a treasured toy but during the space wars boys turned to spacemen and aliens for toys and Woody and his gang were phased out. Al finds a buyer for his collection but it’s in Japan. Woody wants to go back to Andy but Stinky Pete has other ideas. Buzz with the help of some of the other toys track down Woody and battle the Emperor Zurg and eventually get Woody back home along with Jessie and Bullseye.

The themes of friendship and our place in the world as again high in this movie and it has a lot of heart. At the end Woody explains to Buzz that it’s ok that Andy will outgrow them because they’ll always have each other ‘to infinity and beyond.’

The graphics are again excellent with vibrant detail and the choices of voices at spot on.

#3 A Bug’s Life

The 2nd Pixar movie to hit the screen was a take on the 7 Samurai/Magnificent 7 story of a group of bandits, in this case grasshoppers headed by…… bullying a defenceless group of ants in this case into giving their ‘stock’ of food they need horde for the winter.

The main protagonist is Flik, a bit of an oddball ant who fancies himself as a bit of an inventor. While carrying one of his inventions he inadvertently knock over the horde of food left for the grasshoppers meaning they don’t have anything to offer when they arrive. He is then banished in the guise of recruiting some ‘warrior bugs’ to fight off the grasshoppers when they return.

Flik finds his way to the big city (a garbage dump) and he mistakenly thinks a rabble of a circus act are his warrior bugs and they thinks he’s a talent agent. They agree to travel back with him to Ant Island.

Flik eventually twigs to the fact that these bumbling bugs are not warriors he devises a plan to create a large bird to scare away the leader Hooper fabulously voiced by Kevin Spacey. The plan doesn’t quite work and just as Hopper is about to kill Flik he tells Hopper ‘you need us and you know it’. It is at this point when the ants realise they outnumber the hoppers 100-1 and run em out of town. Hopper has one last attempt vengeance but through the quick thinking Flik is eaten by a real bird.

The animation is bright and vibrant and very attractive to the eyes. Each bug is detailed to the hilt and has its own interesting idiosyncrasies. Although this a tried and tested plot A Bug’s Life adds just enough to make it unique and stand out.

Isn’t it interesting my top 3 Pixar movies are the 1st 3 they made? This doesn’t mean they dropped off but damn they nailed it at the start.

#4 The Incredibles

The Incredibles is set in a world where people with various super powers exist but through the growing trend in litigation these ‘super heroes’ are forced to retire and hide for fear of law suits against them. We focus on a family Mr Incredible – strength, Elastigirl (he wife) – she can stretch her body into almost any shape, their kids, Violet - can turn invisible and create protective force fields, Dash – and run extremely fast and little Jack-Jack – appears to be normal. Mr Incredible, Bob has gained weight and works in a boring office job. He his best mate Frozone and Bob regularly go out and fight crime and wish they could go back to the old days.

Bob is soon entrapped after finding a video telling mysteriously offering to pay him a large sum of money if he could locate and destroy a robot. It ends up being a ruse and he has been lured to the island by Syndrome a wannabe superhero. He destroys the robot return home, gets in shape with a returned vigour for the crime fighting caper. Bob is then lured back to the island this time to fight a more advanced robot. He barely survives and his wife finds out where he is. She leaves Jack-Jack with a baby sitter and takes the kids to help out dad. Syndrome captures the family. Bob doesn’t want his family in danger but soon realises he needs they helps and he can’t do it on his own. The family uses their respective powers to overcome Syndrome and learn the valuable lesson of teamwork and family in the process.

My love for the Incredibles is that is it a brilliant mix of action, suburban melancholy and satire. There are a lot more set pieces and it is visually stunning. But again it has heart and a brain at the core of it. Otherwise it’d just be another Steven Segal action movie.

#5 Monsters, Inc.

The 4th Pixar film on the feature slate is Monsters, Inc. The nuts and bolts of the story are: Monsters have access to doors; these doors are entry points into little kid’s bedrooms. The monsters enter, make the kid scream and the scream is bottled as a power source. With kids growing up too fast in today’s society they are bottling less screams and therefore running low on energy.

Our main protagonists are Mike and Sulley. Mike is the fast talking Billy Crystal (with some wonderful dialogue) and Sulley is the huge but lovable John Goodman.

The wonderful imagination of Pixar movies is what makes them so bankable. Through the course of the film a little girl enters the monsters world ‘Monstropolis’ and tags along Mike and Sulley.

Another breakthrough for the animation department was ‘simulated movement’. Instead of animators individually putting three million hairs on Sulley they would animate the character bald and naked and the simulation department would add the fur or clothes as one and they would react to the body’s movement as they would in real life.

Pixar again manage to make a film that appeals to the masses including witty dialogue and a great storyline.

#6 Finding Nemo

A pretty simple premise. A clownfish named Nemo is taken by divers and his father Marlin goes on an odyssey to find Nemo. Along the way he befriends short memory loss victim Dory and ride the East Australian Current down to Sydney.

Nemo learns a lot on the way too ending up in a dentist’s fish task with a band of motley crew who help him escape.

While not as impressive as the previous entrants ‘Nemo’ is a more than worthy Pixar entrant.
Well this rounds out my top 6 but honourable mentions must go to Toy Story 3 and Cars. I agonised over their inclusion and maybe in a few years they'll permiate up the ladder. Although new instalments may take the honour also.

7. Toy Story 3
8. Cars
9. Up
10. Ratatouille
11. Wall-E

N/A. Cars 2 (Took Ben to see it but only saw half so will reserve judgement until a full viewing, I'd guess it'd sit around the 9 mark)

Hope you enjoyed my list and feel free to leave a comment, I'd be very interested to see where others rank this movies. Be warned it's not as easy as it looks!
Until then hail to Dinoco Blue!