film, tech, photo, games, design...
Jul 15, 2014

World Cup 2014: Best XI

worldcup2014bestxi

The 2014 Brazil World Cup will go down as one of the best of all time. It was a pleasure to watch each and every moment. As a way of wrapping it all up, I’ve named my Best XI for the tourney with the restriction of no more than two players from any one squad. There were some tough decisions, but I feel good about the image above. Notable runners up include Messi, Mueller, Neymar, Schuerrle, Alexis Sanchez, Schweinsteiger, Shaqiri, Valbuena, Pogba, De Bruyne, Varane, Rojo, Navas, and Neuer. But hey, you can only pick 11. So… what do you think?

Posted by enderzero at 4:05pm on Jul. 15, 2014    
Jul 3, 2014

World Cup 2014: Final 8 Power Ratings

james

It was an incredible Round of 16 that saw for the first time, all eight group winners advance. What was most fascinating is that in seven of those eight matches, the underdog looked poised to bite the favorite in the tail, only to see the group winner take the match in the end. Alas, our brave men of the USA fell victim as well. But heads high USMNT fans, it was a hell of a ride.

With only eight teams left, this will be the last Power Rankings of the Cup. It’s also the least confident I’ve been. Two of the four Quarters are a complete toss up, leaving the left side of the brackets as anyone’s game. That’s bound to lead to plenty of intrigue and some very entertaining soccer.

1. Colombia (6) Wait seriously…? Why not? Of the eight Round of 16 matches, it was only Colombia’s defeat of Uruguay that looked decisive. James Rodriguez is a bonafide star. But they’ve got a tough road ahead – and this is far from a confident pick.

2. Argentina (1) It took them 118 minutes to do it, but Argentina was eventually able to dispatch a very difficult Switzerland. Was it a confident victory? Far from it. But this Argentina team has the look of winners, and nothing would make them happier than to do it on Brazilian soil.

3. France (3) While France looked a bit lost for the better part of their match against a resurgent but still inferior Nigeria, they eventually figured it out and took the victory in one of only three matches to finish in 90 minutes. Their next opponents, Germany, will prove a much tougher test.

4. Brazil (2) Brazil can most certainly beat Colombia. They can still win the entire World Cup. But their team is yet to start clicking and they were pretty lucky to take out the ridiculously talented Chile. It’s far from over for Brazil but it’s getting more and more difficult to call them the favorites.

5. Holland (5) With the easiest of the Quarter Finals match ups, the Dutch should be able to take it to the Costa Ricans without much trouble. And if we learned anything from their match with Mexico, it’s that Louis van Gaal is one hell of a tactician (good news for Man Utd fans). A Semi Final showdown with Argentina looks pretty likely on the right side of the bracket.

6. Germany (4) The German defeat of Algeria was again a narrow victory over a very good team (and how I would have loved to see a France vs Algeria Qtr). But don’t count the Germans out. The talent and organization are both there. However a free scoring France will likely have the key to unlock this pretty shaky looking German defense.

7. Belgium (7) No need to dwell on the Belgian defeat of the USA too much, but they should probably look to start Lukaku, the one player on the pitch that seemed to have the extra spark necessary to take ahold of a big game. Unfortunately for the Belgians, they’re headed up against Argentina.

8. Costa Rica (10) They have to fit in somewhere right? Yes they’ve had a great run, but even if they manage to somehow pull off an upset over Holland, Costa Rica will still be the bottom team on my Power Rankings come the next go around (note: this is likely the last go around).

Posted by enderzero at 7:01pm on Jul. 3, 2014    
Jun 30, 2014

World Cup 2014: An Alternate USA Narrative

Ghana v USA: Group G - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

A casual observer might notice the general American attitude ahead of USA’s Round of 16 match versus Belgium has seemed a little negative. There’s no doubt the buzz was pretty mixed after the USA vs Portugal and USA vs Germany matches. Yes a bad mistake erased a brilliant chance to defeat Portugal. Yes the match versus Germany was technically a loss. But long time USMNT fans will know that these two matches were in fact huge successes and the great escape our boys pulled off advancing from the ‘Group of Death’ is probably the biggest moment for US soccer since Joe Gaetjens goal versus England in 1950.

So as a little exercise, let’s pretend the USA’s three group stage matches were played in reverse order, with the exact same results. Perhaps it’s a bit silly, but remember, this is the same end result either way, and the narrative is really what people get attached to.
Read on

Posted by enderzero at 5:19pm on Jun. 30, 2014    
Jun 28, 2014

World Cup 2014: Power Rankings – On To the Knockouts!

wc2014_knockouts

It’s kind of like that moment on Christmas morning where you look around and find out you’ve opened almost all your presents. Yes, there are still those one or two big ones you’ve been saving for last, but the feeling of the end approaching is starting to creep in.

The World Cup has reached its midpoint with half of the teams now eliminated. But with only 16 matches left to be played, the heartaches are going to come fast and furious. Here’s my take on the chances of the teams that are left in the hunt.

1. Argentina (1) – There was nothing unconvincing about Arg’s 3-2 defeat of Nigeria, even though the Super Eagles looked pretty good. But the Argentina open wheel racer is only in about 2nd gear right now and they’re just starting to push down on the pedal.

2. Brazil (4) – The hosts’ best match so far was their 4-1 defeat of Cameroon, and you want your best match going into the knockouts (sorry USA). Of course that was against a destitute Cameroon — but I think Brazil will beat Chile and that’s going to put them back in the driver’s seat in the top left quadrant.

3. France (2) – While not technically qualified after two matches, Le Bleu’s chances of going through looked pretty assured — and they showed it with a rather uninspired draw with Ecuador. But it was a B-squad and they should be able to turn it around vs Nigeria. But will they have Germany’s number in the Quarters?

4. Germany (6) – I don’t have any trouble picking Germany over Algeria, but I’m having night sweats thinking about how great a France-Germany Quarter could be. The way France is playing, I still give them the slightest of nods.

5. Holland (5) – The Dutch have the relatively easy CONCACAF quadrant with a match against Mexico and then likely Costa Rica. Can they finish off our rivals? Yeah, I think so.

6. Colombia (8) – It might be rather unpopular to put everyone’s favorite dark horses way down in sixth. I like Colombia. I LOVE James “Don’t-Call-Me-James” Rodriguez. But after a likely tough victory over Uruguay, they ain’t gonna like playing Brazil.

7. Belgium (7) – There are huge question marks over this USAvBEL game — but interestingly enough, they aren’t over the USA. I pretty much know how we are going to play. But no one is sure which Belgium team will show up. If Belgium at their best gets off the bus, the USA is in big trouble.

8. USA (9) – We did what we needed to do, now we need to keep on doing what we can. Regardless, this is house money from here on out.

9. Chile (3) – Chile is worse than USA??? No, probably not. But USA’s chances of beating Belgium are better than Chile’s over Brazil.

10. Costa Rica (10) – I’m picking CR to beat Greece, but I have them down in 10 because I still don’t believe.

11. Mexico (12) – Sorry compadres. You’ve had a great tourney, but you aren’t beating the Dutch. We’ll miss you Wet Herrera.

12. Switzerland (13) – You gotta like the creative goal scoring by Schaqiri. But does anyone really think it will be enough to get past Argentina? Although remember, Switzerland upset Spain in the first round of 2010.

13. Algeria (19) – One of the more impressive sides of the B-qualifiers was the athletic showing by the France B-Side of Algeria. But the German train will likely mow them down.

14. Uruguay (11) – How does a team with Edinson Cavani seem so destitute? You’d think they have a shot of beating Colombia – it all depends if they’re hungry enough…

15. Nigeria (21) – France fodder.

16. Greece (23) – Costa Rica is so lucky.

Posted by enderzero at 9:21am on Jun. 28, 2014    
Jun 23, 2014

World Cup 2014: Round 2 Power Rankings

worldcup2014collage-rd2

This has been a ridiculously entertaining tournament so far and round 2 of the group stage did NOT disappoint. As I prepare to reveal my power rankings after round 2, it occurs to me how many of the high ranked teams have yet to truly impress. There are 7 teams that have won both of their games. Of those, perhaps the most impressive, France, still has a chance to be knocked out. This could all change a lot in the next few days, but for what it’s worth, here are my thoughts on where teams rank right now. (The numbers in parenthesis this time are my ranking from round 1).

1. Argentina (2) – Are they the most convincing team of the tournament? Probably not — and until that wonder goal by Messi they were dropping way down on this list. Frankly they need to start playing as more of a team. But with 6 points in the bank and the best player in the world heating up, Argentina is now the team to beat.

2. France (5) – France has been perhaps the most convincing team of the tourney with their dismantling of an awful Honduras and a much better Switzerland. While they haven’t technically qualified, they’d need to lose huge to Ecuador in order to be eliminated and with the way Benzema is playing, I don’t think it’s about to happen.

3. Chile (10) – The big mover in the rankings is the rampant Chile who are looking very convincing. Suddenly it isn’t who is going to go through in 2nd of Group B and play Brazil, but who is going to go through from Group A and have to play Chile.

4. Brazil (3) – Convincing? No. But this is still their World Cup to lose and as things get more serious, I have a feeling these guys are going to get busy.

5. Holland(4) – Well Australia is a pretty tough team. Not tough enough to win, but tough enough to expose a few chinks in the orange Dutch armor.

6. Germany (1) – The second half of the Ghana-Germany match was a real cracker and while it ended with a point apiece, Germany still has it in them to go very far at this tournament.

7. Belgium (8) – Yet another victory snatched from the jaws of a draw. No one wants to play this Belgium side who definitely knows how to win. No one except American fans who would be ecstatic to give them a try.

8. Colombia (7) – Colombia dropping a spot isn’t so much a reflection on their performance against a pretty unconvincing Ivory Coast, as it is a comment on the better teams who have slid in above them.

9. USA (13) – A victory versus Ghana and draw versus Portugal? Fuck yeah I’ll take it. But more importantly, USA is playing the most convincing soccer we USA fans have EVER seen. This is a good team and it is an exciting time to be a USMNT fan!

10. Costa Rica (14) – Victories over a Suarez-less Uruguay and Italy are impressive, no doubt, but the USA could still beat them.

11. Uruguay (21) – Right, I can’t put them above a rampant Costa Rica, but would Cost Rica have beat the Suarez-infused Uruguay that beat England? I doubt it. And I doubt many other teams on this list could beat them either.

12. Mexico (15) – Brazil’s bogey man, Mexico likes to give the Brazilians a hard time and look in the driver seat to go through in Group A, perhaps even in first. But is Mexico a team built to go far in the knockout rounds?

More teams with a real chance:
13. Switzerland, 14. Ghana, 15. Croatia, 16. Italy, 17. Ivory Coast,

Unimpressive teams with a small chance:
18. Portugal, 19. Algeria, 20. Russia, 21. Nigeria 22. Ecuador

Just barely in:
23. Greece, 24. Iran, 25. South Korea

Essentially out:
26. Japan, 27. Honduras

Officially out:
28. Bosnia, 29. Spain, 30. England, 31. Australia, 32. Cameroon

Posted by enderzero at 12:38am on Jun. 23, 2014    
Jun 21, 2014

World Cup 2014: All The Permutations for USA’s Match Versus Portugal

ronaldoinjury600

After Germany’s draw with Ghana today, many questions are swirling around about if this was really a good result for the USA. The short answer is “maybe.” It’s great if we win tomorrow, okay if we draw, and not very good at all if we lose. I’ve worked out all the permutations (on facebook no less) and reposted them here. Let me know if you have any questions.

RAMIFICATIONS OF A USAvPOR DRAW TOMORROW:
+ We go into GER match level on 4 points with them, but they would have a superior goal dif.
+ USA win vs GER and we go through in 1st.
+ USAvGER draw and GER goes through in 1st, we go through in 2nd.
+ Both GHA and POR go into their final match looking to win big enough to overturn their -1 (GHA) and -4 (POR) goal difs and steal the 2nd place spot from us.
+ If we end up tied on goal difference and points with GHA (i.e. we lose to GER by 1 and GHA beats POR by 1) or POR, then it goes to GOALS SCORED. That one is a little hard to calculate because anything can happen tomorrow and in the upcoming matches, but right now we have 2, GHA has 3, and POR has 0 – but to overturn those goal differentials, they would obviously have to score goals.

RAMIFICATIONS OF A USA LOSS TO POR TOMORROW:
+ USA beats GER and we advance.
+ USA would advance in 1st with a win over GER unless POR beats GHA and overturns goal dif with USA.
+ USA draws GER and POR draws GHA, USA advances (unless our round 2 loss to POR is by 3 or more goals, then POR advances).
+ USA draws GER and GHA beats POR, USA and GHA are tied on 4 and it goes to goal dif (a 1 goal loss to POR by USA and a 1 goal win by GHA would mean it would go to goals scored, anything else and GHA advances).
+ USA draws GER and POR beats GHA, USA is eliminated (and POR goes through in 1st).
+ USA loses to GER, USA is eliminated

RAMIFICATIONS OF A USA VICTORY OVER POR TOMORROW:
+ USA goes to the Round of 16 muthafuckahs!!!! (and in 1st place with a draw or win vs GER).

Posted by enderzero at 7:53pm on Jun. 21, 2014    
Jun 17, 2014

World Cup 2014: Round 1 Power Rankings & Top 5 Fixtures of Round 2

worldcup2014collage

It’s become a bit of a tradition for me to order the teams at major soccer tournaments with my Power Rankings. Now that we are one round into the Group Stages of the Brazil World Cup, it seems a good time to give it another go. These completely subjective rankings are based mostly on performance in the first match and to a lesser degree on group difficulty/chances of advancing. Numbers in parenthesis are the FIFA World Rankings from before the tourney.

1. Germany (2) – The team that topped my list after one round in 2010 makes it back to the top to start things out in 2014 after their handy 4-nil dismantling of a FIFA 4th ranked Portugal team. Even with their only true striker being the unfielded Klose, the potent midfield play and attacking threat of Mueller, Ozil, and Gotze look like they will prove more than a match for any of the less-than-impressive defenses we’ve seen on display so far.

2. Argentina (5) – In a tournament with way more goals than we’ve seen in past years, it might make sense to tip the squad with the most attacking threat to go the furthest. In that case, you’d be hard pressed not to bet on Messi, Aguero, Di Maria and co., even if they did only score 2 against a pretty decent Bosnian squad. If it comes down to a shootout, it’s hard not to see this team going home the victors.

3. Brazil (3) – While Oscar has looked fantastic and Neymar quite dangerous, the vaunted “most expensive center-back pairing ever” of David Luiz and Thiago Silva have been less than convincing. Still, this is a strong Brazil playing at the Brazil World Cup and you have to think if they start firing on all cylinders, they’re going to be very hard to stop.

4. Holland (15) – The shocker of the tourney so far was the 5-1 thrashing The Netherlands put down on cup-holders Spain. But let’s be honest, many predicted a Spain-in-decline at this World Cup – they just perhaps didn’t think it would be such a complete collapse. There is no doubt that the Dutch have a great squad buoyed by a young back line that mostly plays together in Holland and the potent tandem of Robben and van Persie up front, but it remains to be seen if this team with a long history of falling apart on the big stage can keep it together down the road.

5. France (17) – Quite possibly the most surprised I’ve been by the form of any of the big teams was the all-around play of France in their 3-0 defeat of Honduras. Granted Honduras is one of the worst teams of the tourney and came out with the perceived game plan of just kicking France until they give up. Nonetheless, Benzema is looking like a would-be Golden Boot wearer and France has a tendency to win big when they play well.

6. Italy (9) – The Azzurri’s talisman Andrea Pirlo might be getting a bit slow at age 35, but their new look with the young 21-year-old Marco Verratti at his side proved a great decision and propelled Italy to a narrow victory over a talented England side.

7. Colombia (8) – No Falcao, no problem. A rampant Colombia made short order of Greece with dominant forward play from Teo Gutierrez and J.Rod. A relatively easy group should see them advance in first where they’ll likely come up against England or Uruguay in the Round of 16.

8. Belgium (11) – While their performance in the first hour of play versus Algeria was less than impressive, the Belgian team figured it out with a few key substitutes and were able to find 3 points. This squad has so much talent that as they continue to play together, they should continue to improve, and could be a force to be reckoned with in the knockout stages.

9. Switzerland (6) – Spots 9 and 10 were a bit of a toss up for me but I give the slight edge to the Swiss who are my pick to come out in the second spot of Group E. Based on Honduras’s performance against the French, the Swiss should make short work of them in their final match (though I think they’ll fall short when up against France). The fact they’ll likely play Argentina in the first knockout round is probably bad news, however.

10. Chile (14) – Chile are a good team, no doubt, but the 3-1 score line over Australia makes the game sound a bit more one-sided than it actually was. It seems Chile’s hopes to advance really come down to tomorrow’s match versus Spain, the winner of which will likely get the second spot in Group B and the prize of facing Brazil.

11. England (10) – The first team without points to make the list, the England squad showed plenty of talent in the first hour of the match before turning to jello in the Manaus heat. Hodgson still seems to be doing some experimenting with his mostly Liverpool side, but there was nothing I saw versus Italy that made me think they couldn’t handily beat Uruguay and Costa Rica.

12. Spain (1) – The reigning World Cup and Euro Cup champs looked like shit for all but the first 30 minutes or so of their embarrassment against Holland. Their back line is in shambles and they simply don’t have the scoring threat that made them so unstoppable in tournaments past. Spain fans will remind you that they lost their first match in South Africa to Switzerland (and we know how that ended), and perhaps the big loss will snap them out of their malaise. But if I was a betting man (and I am), I would not be putting money on Spain to advance.

13. USA (13) – Coincidentally matching their FIFA world rank, I’ve put USA at 13 because there is still a very tough road ahead and frankly, we are a bit beat up. But the emotion involved in yesterday’s win versus Ghana might just be enough to carry us to a result against a very questionable Portugal side. I doubt many USA fans look at our Round of 16 run in South Africa as anything but a success. That was a much easier group, but the emotion of the Algeria match made it seem all the more epic. Getting out of this year’s group of death would be an incredible feat by any standards and big improvement on four years ago.

14. Costa Rica (28) – Punching well above their weight, Costa Rica looked very good against a Suarez-less Uruguay. They’ve got a couple big matches coming versus Italy and England, but if their form keeps up, who knows what might happen.

15. Mexico (20) – Pundits seemed to make a lot about the 1-0 win versus Cameroon, but I wasn’t too impressed. Still, Miguel Herrera has no doubt turned El Tri around and they certainly have a shot at advancing if they can get a result in their last match versus Croatia.

16. Ivory Coast (23) – What a difference a Drogba can make. Even though he wasn’t directly involved in the goals, Drogba’s presence on the pitch in the 60th minute seemed to simultaneously vitalize Cote d’Ivoire and terrify Japan whose 1-0 victory turned to a 2-1 defeat in 100 seconds. A result against Greece and it should be enough to see Ivory Coast finally make the knockout stage of the World Cup.

17. Bosnia (21) – While Dzeko failed to make much of an impact, Bosnia put up a respectable fight against Argentina in their 2-1 defeat. Given they only have Iran and Nigeria to deal with in Group F, they should be in decent shape to advance in their first ever World Cup.

18. Portugal (4) – Yikes. Portugal’s performance versus Germany was pretty much the worst case scenario for the Iberians save a CR7 injury. The Pepe red card was idiotic and injuries to Coentrao and Almeida are very bad news for the squad’s chance to advance. Still, Portugal is ranked 4 by FIFA for a reason and if Ronaldo turns it on in Manaus, the USA could still be in plenty of trouble.

19. Russia (19) – They couldn’t quite get firing on all cylinders versus S. Korea, but there is talent on Russia no doubt, as evidenced by the quick answering goal by Kherzikov. But the silly mistake by goalkeeper Akinfeev means there is plenty of growing to do in the team as they look towards hosting the Cup in 2018.

20. Croatia (18) – Like their brothers in Bosnia, the Croatians also took a loss to a tourney fave in Brazil. Unlike the Bosnians, Croatia has a tougher final game in Mexico. With no points in the bank yet, it’s hard to get too excited about their chances.

21. Uruguay (7) – This could prove to be a very silly decision to put Uruguay all the way down at 21 if Luis Suarez comes back and starts burying goals like when he wears red. But based on the gutless performance versus Costa Rica, there is nothing to be optimistic about for Uruguay fans if that doesn’t happen.

22. Algeria (22) – I was actually pretty impressed by the Algeria team in their match versus Belgium. Some have called them the France B-team and they showed speed and ingenuity on the pitch. That said, I still haven’t seen enough of their play to tell if they have a chance to advance. A big win against Korea could see them shoot up in the Power Rankings.

23. Ecuador (26) – It certainly isn’t over for Ecuador, but the common reprise that Ecuador only wins at elevation seems to hold some water as the loss to Switzerland with France still to play could mean their time in Brazil will be rather short lived.

24. Japan (46) – The Japanese team looked pretty good for the first hour of the match versus Ivory Coast. But the squad just ran out of ideas and certainly couldn’t come back once they went down to the far more physical Elephants. Might they find some points against Greece? Sure. But chances of doing the same against Colombia are far less likely.

25. Ghana (37) – Just like the USA, Ghana had to win their first match in order to have any hope of advance. Well… they didn’t. Heh.

26. South Korea (57) – Korea might have managed to get a point out of their match with Russia, but I think it’s going to be their only point of the tourney with a talented Algeria next and Belgium to follow.

27. Australia (62) – There is a whole World Cup worth of teams that didn’t make the World Cup ranked higher than Australia in the FIFA world rankings but the Socceroos looked pretty decent against Chile. Do they have a chance of advancing from Group B which also includes Holland and Spain? Frankly, no.

28. Greece (12) – FIFA’s ranking of Greece as 12 seems like the most egregious error of the table after watching their anemic performance versus Colombia.

29. Iran (43) – While they looked rather athletic running around out there, the Iranians are just not in the same league as the rest of the teams in Brazil (and obviously neither are the Nigerians).

30. Cameroon (56) – Perhaps I’m being a bit harsh on Cameroon but it’s pretty clear that Eto’o is old and this team looks like they are going nowhere in the very tough Group A.

31. Nigeria (44) – While Klinsmann scheduled the USA’s final warm up match versus Nigeria because of their similar style to Ghana, it was very clear from the match against Iran that Nigeria is no Ghana.

32. Honduras (33) – Somehow over the years, Honduras has become the CONCACAF team it is okay for USA fans to like. Well sorry Honduras, but you looked like amateurs against France and I don’t really like you that much.

My 2nd Round Top 5 Matches:
5. Colombia vs. Ivory Coast (Thurs.)
4. Spain vs. Chile (Weds.)
3. Italy vs. Costa Rica (Fri.) or Uruguay vs. England (Thurs.)
2. Switzerland vs France (Fri.)
1. USA vs. Portugal (Sun.)

I’ll try to follow up with more power ranking in a few days after the second round has wrapped up.

Posted by enderzero at 6:15pm on Jun. 17, 2014    
Feb 23, 2014

Top 10 Highs & Lows from Sochi 2014

sochi2014collage-close

The last two weeks have absolutely flown by (hmm, that might be an exaggeration) but the Sochi 2014 flame has been extinguished and all eyes now turn to Rio 2016 and the next Summer Games. Before we get ahead of ourselves, here is a look back at my Top 10 moments of the Sochi Winter Games — both the hits and the misses.

See the list

Posted by enderzero at 5:58pm on Feb. 23, 2014    
Feb 7, 2014

Sochi 2014 Olympics – Ryland’s TV & Streaming Highlights

sochi2014collage

It’s Winter Olympics time again and anyone who was around four years ago will remember just how damned excited I get for the Games. USA won the total medal count last games with 37 with host country Canada winning the most Golds (14 to USA’s 9). Russia finished way back in the pack with only 3 gold medals and 15 medals total. That was good enough for sixth place (behind Austria). You can bet the Ruskies are going to be looking for some redemption.

UPDATE: I’ve created a Public Google Calendar with all of the event discussed in this post. See the Calendar below.

Click here for all the fun

Posted by enderzero at 7:03pm on Feb. 7, 2014    
Dec 30, 2013

Ryland’s Top 50 Films of 2013 (+ 3 Most Overrated)

Another year of great cinema is coming to an end. Many have called it the best year in some time. I’m not so sure I agree. But there were some fantastic films and I saw a whopping 192 that qualified for my list. I’ve narrowed it down to a mere 50 for you to peruse, plus I’ve added three films to the bottom whose critical support made me all angry. For most films, I’ve included my reaction tweet to give you a bit of insight as to what I was thinking the moment I walked out of the theater. Check out the list and let me know where you think I dropped the ball.

See the full list

Posted by enderzero at 4:16pm on Dec. 30, 2013    
Jul 5, 2013

Producing Reel

Here is the one-link-stop for the public videos for both features produced by Ryland Aldrich:

SNAP (Teaser trailer)
Directed by Youssef Delara & Victor Teran
Produced by Ryland Aldrich, Amir Delara, Youssef Delara, and Victor Teran

A stylish psychological thriller set against the underground dub step DJ scene that takes the audience on a dark and terrifying journey into the depths of the psychopathic mind as it threatens to explode into horrific violence.

SNAP premiered at SXSW 2013. It will make its international debut in London at Film4 FrightFest on August 23, 2013. SNAP will be released theatrically in the US in 2014.
@SnapMovie on Twitter | SNAP on Facebook

 

DO YOU DREAM IN COLOR? (Fundraising promo)
Directed by Sarah Ivy Dickerson & Abigail Fuller
Produced by Ryland Aldrich, Sarah Ivy Dickerson, Abigail Fuller, and Regina Saldivar

Do You Dream in Color? is a feature documentary that follows four blind high school students as they pursue
their unique dreams over the course of a year. Although separated geographically, the teens are connected by
their shared experiences and determination. The film brings the audience inside the lives of the teens and gives
us a deeper understanding of how the blind perceive the world via animated interpretations of sleeping dreams
and the subjects’ life experiences.

DO YOU DREAM IN COLOR? is currently in the final stages of post production and looking towards a 2014 festival debut.
DoYouDreamInColor.org

Posted by enderzero at 2:03pm on Jul. 5, 2013    
Apr 22, 2013

Found Media

foundmedia4

While doing some cleaning up of old boxes of media, I found a few piles of disks and discs worth documenting here for posterity’s sake before sending them to the city media recycler.

Check out the full images after the break (click for larger). If you can see the product ids, you can have em.

Check out the shareware disc Absolute Mahem with such awesome DOS titles as:

Doom- Knee Deep In The Dead
Corridor 7- Special Edition
Depth Dwellers- The Quest
Terminator Rampage- Special Edition
Shadowcaster- Special Edition
Megatron
Catacomb Abyss
Nightmare 3-D
Raptor- Call Of The Shadows
Blake Stone- Aliens Of Gold
Wolfenstein 3-D
Spear Of Destiny.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by enderzero at 7:29pm on Apr. 22, 2013    
Apr 5, 2013

Nutrition Tips with a Fuckin Atitiude

thugkitchen_avocado_600

I’m cracking up over the site ThugKitchen.

Here are a couple more:

thugkitchen_dickcancer_600

thugkitchen_fujamba_jamba

Plenty more at ThugKitchen.com.

Thanks Dan!

Posted by enderzero at 1:52pm on Apr. 5, 2013    
Feb 18, 2013

First Korean Pull Quote for Stoker

stokerkoreanquote_sm

There’s a first time for everything, I suppose the saying goes. This clipping was just sent to me from Twitch South Korean correspondent Pierce Conran who spotted the advertisement for Park Chan-wook’s Stoker. The translation is something along the lines of “Director Park Chan-wook shows his best direction,” which was taken as a translation of sorts from the sentiment in my Sundance First Impression piece STOKER Delivers on Director Park’s Brand. As is often the case, the quote is attributed to the site only. Too bad, as it would have been fun to see my name translated phonetically into Korean.

Posted by enderzero at 1:10pm on Feb. 18, 2013    
Feb 3, 2013

Manchester City v. Liverpool (2/3/2012) – 3 Quick Thoughts

city-v-liverpool

Billed by Fox as the GB4G (Game Before the Game), it’s going to be hard for this afternoon’s big handegg competition to match the athleticism on display in this morning’s Manchester City versus Liverpool Premier League match. Here are my three quick thoughts from the match:

Let them play – Referee Anthony Taylor issued six yellow cards in the match. Fouls by Henderson and Carragher, in particular, were in the run of a fast paced game that were arguable fouls and definitely not dangerous enough to see yellow cards. It’s the pace of the English game that makes it so enjoyable and breaking it up with questionable stoppages is a frustrating exercise.

Steven Gerrard’s goal was brilliant, but he’s looking old – Yes, Stevie G’s strike from 30 yards out was a beaut, but it was his only impressive moment of the match. Questionable passes and a lack of pace make Gerrard look like he’s playing in a different era. With the form of Jordan Henderson and Joe Allen waiting in the wings, might we soon see Gerrard starting more matches from the bench?

Glen Johnson is phenomenal – While he has long been a great example of the modern attacking defender, Glen Johnson has developed into one of the most formidable defenders, period. His sense of right-place, right-time was the very best on the pitch whether in an offensive or defensive capacity. With his incredible skills in the air and on the ground on their best display, I’m considering Johnson my man of the match.

Posted by enderzero at 12:02pm on Feb. 3, 2013    
Jan 13, 2013

Ryland’s Top 50 Films of 2012 (+ 5 Most Overrated)

top10of12

Oh boy! It’s end of the year reflection time once again. 2012 was another great year on the festival beat with trips to Sundance, SXSW, Cannes, LA Film Fest, Toronto International Film Fest, Fantastic Fest, AFI Fest, and the Amazonas Film Fest making for plenty of hot butt-on-theater-seat action. When it was all said and done (and assuming I kept my records straight), 178 movies qualified for my 2012 list. Each of these films either played at a festival or in theatrical release in 2012, but did not qualify for last year’s list. That’s why some movies that showed up on many critics’ 2012 list, such as Joachim Trier’s Oslo August, 31st, won’t be found here. That film was on my 2011 list (at #3, no less).

Still, there were plenty of potential chart middlers that I was unable to get to. Some popular titles that have made their way to other lists include Amour, Life of Pi, Wreck-it-Ralph, Tabu, Polisse,This is Not a Film, and Total Recall. Sorry — can’t see em all.

As like past lists, I’ve included my original tweet (sometimes a couple) that usually serves as my initial reaction to the film. I’ve also included a link if I reviewed the film on Twitch. This year I’ve also endeavored to include the distribution status for each film so you can know where to find it. Please take the time to drop me a note and let me know your thoughts.

On to the list!

Posted by enderzero at 9:26am on Jan. 13, 2013    
Jan 3, 2013

Unapologetic Top 10 Albums of 2012

top10albumsof2012

Let me start things off with an apology.

I have done a pretty awful job of staying up to date on new music throughout 2012. I believe I gave a somewhat similar disclaimer in 2011, but this year I’ve been even less diligent. So here are the albums that found their way to me throughout the year (or that I scrambled to listen to and love in the last few weeks of 2012).

10. Beach House – Bloom
This is actually the fourth album from the Baltimore-based “dream pop” (according to Wikipedia) duo who pretty much burst onto my radar with 2010′s Sub Pop debut Teen Dream. Their latest brings more, umm, dreamy vocals and synthesizer to the otherwise indie-sounding riffs. It may be more of the same, but if you liked Teen Dream, you’ll like this one too.

9. Japandroids – Celebration Rock
Though this Vancouver rock-duo’s 2009 debut Post-Nothing didn’t quite make my list that year, I have enjoyed it quite a bit since and the band’s follow-up is more of the same fun-loving, energetic, indie-thrash. These guys may not be the kind of band you yearn to listen to on repeat, but they’ve got a cool sound and should continue to put out solid albums.

8. Sigur Ros – Valtari
Winning the award for 2012′s best album to go to sleep to (a coveted award in my book), the latest aural sensory experience from the prolific Icelandic band is another journey over craggy glaciers and volcanoes in a high speed helicopter. I want to drift off to dreamland just thinking about it.

7. Passion Pit – Gossamer
While I recognize their stuff isn’t for everyone (I like dudes with high voices, okay?), anyone who was into their first album (#6 on my 2009 Top 10) will have to admit they’ve produced a pretty decent sophomore follow-up. Oddly, their single “Take A Walk” is the least like the first album, but the rest of the album delivers the same dancey-indie rock found on Manner.

6. Soundgarden – King Animal
Soundgarden releasing a new studio album this year is a pretty big fucking deal! So why isn’t it higher on my list? Frankly it just came out too late. I haven’t got to spend enough time with it yet to really determine where it ranks in the discography of my all-time favorite band. I can say it sure doesn’t sound like the Seattle rockers took over 15 years between Down on the Upside and King Animal with songs like “A Thousand Days Before” sounding straight out of the 90s. They haven’t missed a step on stage either (as I was lucky enough to learn twice in 2011). Next up for me is King Animal Tour at the Wiltern in February. I better get to listenin’ before then.

5. Bloc Party – Four
It has been a steep downward slide for these Brit rockers since their 2005 Silent Alarm topped many best-of lists (it’s still in my regular rotation). Their next couple albums were disappointments which lead to a four-year hiatus. But 2012 has found a rejuvenated Bloc Party and a much improved (albeit unimaginatively named) fourth album on a new label and produced by Alex Newport who made his name producing At The Drive-In and The Mars Volta. What resulted might not have quite the raw energy of Silent Alarm, but it’s certainly got the mature licks of a band that’s telling the world they aren’t about to just fade away forever.

4. Metric – Synthetica
It’s been a good year for Toronto-rockers Metric with the release of their fifth album and a partnership with David Cronenberg and Howard Shore that saw the band record a number of songs for the film Cosmopolis. Synthetica picks up where Fantasies (#7 on my 2009 Top 10) left off, with the same single-style driving electro-rock hits. The A-side is a bit stronger than the B with tracks “Speed The Collapse” and “Breathing Underwater” showcasing the band at their best.

3. Tame Impala – Lonerism
It was only last year (well, 2011) at Coachella that I discovered this Perth band and I’ve listened to the shit out of their 2010 psychedelic-rock release Innerspeaker since. So it’s no surprise that their much praised follow-up makes it to a prime spot on my list. I’m happy to say they’ve only improved live since 2011 with their November Fonda Theater show at the very top of the best shows I saw in 2012. Don’t miss them if you get the chance.

2. John Mayer – Born and Raised
Okay, now you see why I said unapologetic up top. Fuck it. I like John Mayer. And frankly his albums have pretty much always been great examples of contemporary guitar-based rock and roll (okay, I didn’t love 2009′s Battle Studies, but Continuum was a masterpiece). Yes, his celebrity will probably always overshadow his musical notoriety, but that aside, the man is a brilliant song writer and Born and Raised barely puts a note down wrong.

1. Hot Chip – In Our Heads
I don’t know if you could have two albums more different than my number one and two picks, but in the end I had to go with Brit-electro-rockers Hot Chip’s latest because of how excellently it represents music in 2012. These guys have picked up LCD Soundsystem‘s flag and are running with it full speed (oh and Cut Copy didn’t put out an album this year). Hot Chip’s music is just so much fun — and that’s what gets me to keeping going back and playing the album over and over. It is frankly impossible to listen to the retro-inspired dance/electro/pop/rock anthem “Motion Sickness” and not dance along. Don’t believe me? Go try it right now. I’ll see you next year.

Honorable mentions go to Frank Ocean‘s channel ORANGE (well “Pyramids” at least), Grizzly Bear‘s Shields, and Keane‘s Strangeland, which, like their last album, had two amazingly good songs (“You Are Young” and “Sovereign Light Cafe”) and a whole bunch of mediocre ones.

Aight folks. Your turn. What’d I miss?

Posted by enderzero at 6:39pm on Jan. 3, 2013    
Sep 28, 2012

Twitch Quote on Awesome SHUT UP AND PLAY THE HITS DVD

A little horn tootin here, but the DVD for Will Lovelace and Dylan Southern kickass LCD Soundsystem documentary SHUT UP AND PLAY THE HITS has finally hit and Oscilloscope has included my quote on the box! Click the image for a slightly larger version.

The DVD box set itself is super impressive and includes the entire three-and-a-half hour concert. The movie is truly a masterpiece and one of the best concert docs in years.

Buy the DVD or Blu-ray at Amazon (affiliate link).

Read my full review from Sundance at Twitch

Posted by enderzero at 10:14pm on Sep. 28, 2012    
Sep 16, 2012

Fantastic Fest 2012 Printable Schedule

Fantastic Fest 2012 is kicking off this week and the Twitch Team will be covering the fest with all the gusto you’ve come to expect. The site has a brand new scheduling system that is great for selecting your films, but not so hot for printing a full schedule. So I went ahead and created a easily printable schedule PDF from screenshots and want to share it with you here. Click the image above or browse to the file at: http://enderzero.net/postfiles/FantasticFest2012PrintableSchedule_RA.pdf.

Enjoy!

Posted by enderzero at 5:08pm on Sep. 16, 2012    
Jul 27, 2012

XXX Olympics Men’s Soccer Tournament Power Rankings

With one round of games in the book before the Opening Ceremonies even air (tape delayed in the USA, of course), the XXX Olympic Games have officially begun. We all know who the favorites are in the Women’s Tournament (USA have never missed a final and won 3 of 4), but I’m going to spend a bit of time talking about what to look forward to in the Men’s Tournament.

The Beijing Olympics four years ago were, along with that summer’s Euro Cup Tournament, a big part of the soccer bug that bit me (we’ll call them the thorax) and turned me into the raving soccer maniac I am today. Having watched all 16 teams play their first games, one thing is plainly evident: these 23 years and younger (plus 3 exceptions) teams are definitely not the senior teams that I’ve become accustomed to watching duke it out on the world stage. That isn’t to say there aren’t plenty of familiar names and faces, but the quality (mostly) on display yesterday was much closer to MLS than EPL. I’ve broken the 16 teams into an unscientific and quite biased ranking with a few words about the performance and chances of each squad.

1. Brazil – There is really no doubt that a Brazil team that contains Neymar, Marcelo, Pato, Thiago Silva, Rafael, Sandro, Hulk, and Oscar are the runaway favorites to go all the way. Add to that a hunger based on the fact and they’ve never won an Olympic Gold and it seems a done deal. And that’s exactly how Brazil looked in the first half of their match versus Egypt going up 3-0 in the first 30 minutes. However, that wasn’t the story in the second half when a resurgent Egypt buried two past shaky looking 19 year-old goalkeeper Neto who was supposed to be their backup. A frustrated looking Brazil was able to regroup and maintain enough possession for the win, but it shows this dream team may have some vulnerabilities.

2. Uruguay – They’ve been the sweethearts of South America since their semifinal run in South Africa and haven’t shown a lot to give fans doubt until UAE slotted a goal against them in the 23rd minute of their first Olympic match since 1928. But the uber-talented team was able to regroup behind their no less histrionical captain Luis Suarez and come back to win 2-1. They certainly have the skill and if they keep showing this kind of fortitude, La Celeste should top a very tough Group A.

3. Japan – Looking to put the business class controversy behind them (along with the women’s team), a vibrant, talented, and disciplined looking Japanese team came storming out of the gates in their first match and took control of Group D with a victory over group faves Spain. Some may wonder if this upset was more Spain’s poor play but Japan had opportunity after opportunity and the 1-0 score line belies a commanding performance that could have ended 4-0 to the Japanese. Of course, it always helps to be up a man for 49 minutes of play. We’ll see if they are the real deal in Sunday’s match against Morocco that could see the team put a thumping on the speedy North African youngsters.

4. Great Britain – Coming in as such favorites, a sorta-united Great Britain team (Scotland and Northern Ireland banned their players from joining due to FIFA fears of losing their autonomous status) was bound to stumble out of the gates. Playing a stupidly zealous Senegal, the Brits couldn’t find a second goal to seal things up and let the Senegalese draw level with minutes to play. There is a ton of talent on this team, even having left so many big names watching from home, but you can’t help but wonder if the pressure is just too much for this choke-happy home nation.

5. Spain – Yes they lost their first match but let’s all remember the eventual World Cup champions lost their first match in South Africa to Switzerland as well. Still, this obviously-not-senior Spanish squad is really going to have to get organized behind 24 year-old Juan Mata if they are going to fulfill the expectations set forward by their big brothers.

6. South Korea – While South Korea failed to find the back of the net, they also kept a clean sheet against a usually rampant scoring Mexico. This might be more Mexico’s fault but South Korea certainly looked fast and very fit. With Group B being weakest group, look for South Korea to definitely advance (but that could be about it).

7. Honduras – Yes I’m sore that the Hondurans are in London and not the Americans but the CONCACAF runners up looked pretty solid in their 2-2 draw with Morocco, which was undoubtedly the most entertaining of the first day of play. They’ve got a very tough game coming up against Spain on Sunday. But if the Spanish can’t get their shit together, look for Honduras to make a knockout stage run.

8. Egypt – It has been a rough going for Egyptian soccer (really Egyptian society) with live sports being banned after recent riots. But the squad played their hearts out versus Brazil and managed to score two goals against the obvious faves. There were only four other teams with at least two goals out of the 16 and none of them didn’t walk away with at least one point. Tough luck for Egypt but it bodes well for them in a Group C in which they have a very good chance of nabbing the runner up spot.

9. Belarus – One of only four teams to manage all three points in their first game, Belarus should be congratulated for their performance but it isn’t worth getting too worked up about. In their first major tournament since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, any run will be good for the nation, but it would be a huge surprise if they managed points off of either Brazil or Egypt in the next two matches.

10. Mexico – It warms my heart to report that this is quite possibly the weakest Mexican team I’ve ever watched compete in a major tournament. They have plenty of talent but looked completely disorganized against South Korea Thursday and were barely able to hold on for the 0-0 draw. Usually an extremely offensive team, Mexico managed only two shots on goal. Things could pick up for El Tri if/when Giovani Dos Santo starts in Sunday’s match versus group minnows Gabon. Plus, let’s not get too excited and forget Mexico has a huge advantage as the most experienced team in a very weak group.

11. Morocco – The Moroccans looked like a young, hungry, and most importantly, energetic team in their 2-2 draw with Honduras. This team is packed with speed and showed they can score goals, but have a tough challenge ahead of them if they are to advance from the very difficult Group D.

12. United Arab Emirates – The UAE squad showed they have a good amount of young talent to jump ahead to a 1-0 lead versus Uruguay. But their lack of experience proved their downfall as they eventually lost their lead and then gave up all three points to the much tougher side. In an easier group, they may have a chance to advance, but things don’t look so rosy with no points and Great Britain still to play.

13. Senegal – A rambunctious team, to say the least, Senegal probably would have finished with only eight or nine men on the field had their match referee not been so ridiculously lenient. Their play versus Great Britain was downright dangerous but they do have plenty of speed and they did find the net to earn the late point. Don’t count them completely out, but do be sure to get out of the way when you see them charging in.

14. Switzerland – The weird thing about power rankings is that while the Switzerland that took the field Thursday would likely lose to my 11th – 13th ranked teams, they have a better chance to advance than any of them due to their fortunate placement in Group B. Though they’ve shown very good results for their youth squads in recent memory, Switzerland looked flat footed against an even less impressive Gabon in their first match. We’ll see if they can turn it on versus a more robust South Korea on Sunday.

15. New Zealand – The All Whites had nothing going for them in their first match versus Belarus managing just four shots on goal. The good news is that goalkeeper Michael O’Keefe had a decent game with seven saves and just the one losing goal allowed.

16. Gabon – In the first 15 minutes of their match against Switzerland, Gabon looked like they had no idea what sport they were playing. It’s rare you see a team so out of sorts but leave it to Switzerland to blow their 1-0 5th minute penalty lead by allowing Gabon back into the game. It wasn’t pretty, but who knows what’s in store for this tiny nation who did make it to the Quarterfinals in the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations last winter.

Posted by enderzero at 6:29pm on Jul. 27, 2012