Introducing World Cup qualifying teams by Playoffs Brackets!

I’ve had the pleasure to collaborate on the latest from Playoffs Brackets, the FIFA World Cup! They are listing the qualified countries and next year will be presenting the live bracket as teams progress through. They’re working now on getting past years’ results up for 2010, 2006 and 2002.

The playoffs brackets for the NBA, NHL and MLB have been great resources over the past years. It’s great to look in one place and see the entire playoff landscape.

Check out the World Cup playoffs bracket and qualified teams list

Man of Steel (2013)

Overall I’d have to say this is a disappointment, but mostly because of the significance of Superman as a character and as an icon in popular culture. A Superman movie needs to do what the character itself does to people: inspire and awe. This didn’t really do either of those things, in the way that it should have anyways.

First of all, the writing was way too corny and unrealistic. David Goyer and Christopher Nolan (gets a pass) were on writing duties and even their Batman scripts were too corny at times and took themselves way to seriously. The dialogue is just unrealistic and unnatural.

The story is strange in that it seems to move at a decent pace but also way too quickly at the same time. It jumps around in time a lot, which is ok but it seems to add more fluff to a story that doesn’t really have much happen.

What I did like was Henry Cavill; he was a great Superman. He had the perfect build, jawline and mannerisms that Superman should have. His Clark kent impression was laughable, but that is the classic running joke about Superman (look, it’s Superman with glasses on!) The costumes were good, the action sequences — while super fast and blurry most times — were amazingly filmed and breathtakingly epic. The CGI was flawless and very believable.

I didn’t like how this was just another standalone Superman film, however. Marvel has set the standard for making it’s individual superhero films (Iron Man, Captain America, Thor) part of a larger universe, and bringing them together in an epic movie that is the 3rd highest grossing of all time (Avengers.) Justice League is coming in the next 2 years, and this movie did nothing to create a universe for that (ie. hint at supporting characters, make us anticipate more heroes in the world or a larger villain presence.)

Overall the movie was entertaining in spots but wasn’t the epic launch that the DC universe deserves.

Resident Evil 5

After Resident Evil 4, nothing much else compared in the world of video games for me. The Uncharted series was amazing, but RE4 had everything I liked in a game: action, puzzles, intriguing storyline, great controls (Wii version), and suspense.

After finally getting a PS3, I’ve begun playing Resident Evil 5. First of all, the controls: I was spoiled by the fantastic motion controls in the Wii version of RE4. It made moving and aiming very easy and fun. I’ve played through RE4 HD on the PS3, but without motion controls it’s an entirely different experience. RE5 Gold Edition has support for the Playstation Move, Sony’s version of the Wiimote. So after acquiring that setup via Ebay, I was ready to dive into the game.

The motion controls are slightly similar, but off just enough from the Wii version to be frustrating. The run butotn is above where it was on the Wii, you have to hold the trigger to aim your weapon, and Playstation’s ridiculous symbol system for button labels is confusing in mid-play (for someone who has owned only Nintendo systems his whole life.) The motion controls are better than trying to aim with the gamepad, but they are cumbersome.

The game itself is also a departure from the genius of RE4. There’s much less mystery and intrigue, and much more action and melee. Hordes of zombified Africans storm at your player at once in each setting, so there is no strategy other than shoot-dodge-pick up ammo. Gone are the villages and castles, to be replaced by marshlands, oil fields and deserts. The bosses are fun but the overall feel of the game is more shoot-em-up and alien invasion than survival horror.

I am only about halfway through now so I’ll update when I’m finished, but I had hoped for more from this sequel. However, the true letdown was with Resident Evil 6, which took a huge leap in the wrong direction as far as action, controls and storyline. If I ever can play through more than 10 minutes of it without getting completely frustrated, I’ll review that as well.

Yes, they were Detroit Pistons

Joe Dumars has made some puzzling moves over the years as President of Basketball Operations for the Detroit Pistons. Despite winning the NBA Championship in 2004 and a handful of successful seasons surrounding that milestone, Dumars has struggled at times to make the Pistons a perennial contender in the league since he took the job just before the 2000-01 season.

Here are some of the more odd signings since then. Some of them made sense, some of them didn’t, and others just looked strange in a Pistons uniform.

Grant Hill 1994-2000

Hill wasn’t really a part of the Dumars Era, but he did set it off. Dumars first major move in his new position was to trade the ailing Grant HIll away to Orlando for Chucky Atkins and Ben Wallace. It turned out great for Detroit and Hill eventually returned to activity after years of injury with the Magic, but never returned to his former superstar self. Here Grant is rocking the teal which most assuredly is responsible for his injury.

Mateen Cleaves 2000-01

Drafted by the Pistons in 2000 after winning the NCAA Championship with Michigan State, Cleaves never materialized as an NBA player. Must have been the effect those teal-era jerseys had on players. He’s shown here wondering why everyone in the NBA is so much bigger than in college.

Mehmet Okur 2002-04

A 7th or 8th man off the bench for the championship era team, Okur brought some size and European effort to the floor. He went on to a little more individual success in Utah before heading back to Turkey. He also tried to look cooler later with longer hair and a goatee. He needed to do something, that’s for sure. His triple-chin, pictured here, did not ever go away.

Nazr Mohammed 2006-07

Nazr has been around the league, currently backing up Joakim Noah in Chicago. His consistency and hard play have kept him in the 6th man elite, and won him a 2005 NBA championship with the Spurs. Nothing bad to say about this guy, but here he was kissing a 4th Pistons championship goodbye.

Chris Webber 2007

Not sure why this guy thought he was the shit when he signed onto the Pistons in January of ’07, but he didnt amount to anything close to the defensive presence he should have been. By this time he was old and tired, which is probably what Rasheed is saying to him here.

Allen Iverson 2008-09

Worst move in franchise history? Possibly, when Dumars traded Chauncey Billups and change for Iverson in 2008. Iverson was at the end of his career and brought the wrong attitude to the locker room. The Pistons haven’t been the same since. Here Kobe just told Allen how many more years he’ll be playing than him.

Kwame Brown 2008-10

For some reason Dumars thought this guy would amount to something. Apparently being a number 1 draft pick buys you enough cred that you don’t really need any actual basketball skills. As is evidenced by the blocking foul on Pau here.

Tracy McGrady 2010-11

This was a last-ditch effort to either generate some scoring (unlikely) or generate some jersey/ticket sales (more likely, but futile.) McGrady is currently warming the bench for the SPurs in their title run, but he fizzled out after his Houston Rockets tenure. He got lots of chances to touch the ball on free throws, though.

Ben Gordon 2009-12

Another horrid signing by Dumars, using a ton of cap room to sign Gordon and Charlie Villanueva instead of pursuing a superstar or, you know, good fits for the roster. Gordon was an asset off the bench in Chicago, but never caught on as a starter in Detroit. He hasn’t been able to regain his magic since. Here he’s trying to figure out how to get back to Chicago.

Corey Maggette 2012-present

Maggette was acquired for Ben Gordon by trade, and is stamping his NBA passport with yet another stop in his near 15-year NBA career. Just seems weird seeing him in a Pistons uniform. Here’s a photo of him — what do you know — smiling.

Fables #125-129 “Snow White”

What is this, a fairy tale blog?

While writing about fairy tales and comic books may damage my street cred, in the world of geekdom you don’t get much cooler than Fables, a DC comic published under their “Mature Audiences” imprint Vertigo. Fables is mostly “Mature” because the different characters talk and act like normal people, unlike their Disney counterparts. They swear, they have sex and they kill; these are not stories for little Johnny before bedtime.

Slight spoilers ahead for those who haven’t read the entire series to date. Continue reading

What’s Going On Here?

Sorry for the possibly jarring content updates lately. A Wizard of Oz review followed by tweets, followed by a gallery of Salma Hayek booby pictures?

I’m just trying to figure out what this space will be used for while trying to drum up some traffic at the same time (thus, Ms. Hayek unfortunately.) I haven’t gone to the movies lately, nothing really good is on TV and nothing riveting is happening in the comics world (though I might have a review later on…)

So I apologize to my readers (especially the female ones) who may be offended by some certain content choices lately, but it will all even out soon.

Thanks!

Lawrence Frank needs to take the Rutgers job, and the @detroitpistons need to bring in Mike Brown #withallduerespect

Yes, I did pre-order the new Daft Punk album #ofcourse #inrecordtime

Aaaand out comes the red highlighter #marchsadness