Category Archives: Weekend Returns

Weekend Returns: The Kings will heed a new Call of Duty with new coach

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

Hockeywood Weekend Returns
The winner at the box office was New Year’s Eve, a movie that has about fifty actors of various degrees of fame. My wife went to go see it without me (thankfully) and she said she enjoyed it. I’m sorry, but I don’t get having 37 different storylines all converging in one place at the end of the movie. It’s been done before.

The depressing news is that it won the week with a debut of a paltry $13 million. It’s the lowest opening since the Nic Cage debacle Bangkok Dangerous made $7.8 million back in 2008.

So rather than talk about how sucky the movies are in American theaters right now, I’d rather discuss how impressive the video game industry has become. News broke late Monday that the Michael Bay-esque first-person shooter Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 made $1 billion… in 16 days. It broke the previous record held by Avatar, which made $1 billion in 17 days. That’s some serious cheddar.

Put it to you this way: it took Netflix a full year to make $1,000,000,000. The gaming community is no joke, and many are finding their entertainment dollars are spent buying games and time on dedicated servers to play other gamers than to head to the local multiplex and plop down $50 for a movie and popcorn for two.

So people are showing their displeasure with crappy movies by not going. And the box office is suffering. This can mean two things: Hollywood will start to put out more quality films to draw more people to theaters to justify the exorbitant cost (unlikely) or look for more ways to bring their crappy product to the masses (which looks like their course of action, with VOD and streaming video).

Thing is, people want a change and they’ve made it known. Much like Kings fans wanting a change. Well, they got it. On Monday, coach Terry Murray was canned and interim coach John Stevens took over behind the bench. Will the team respond? Will this sate Kings’ fans lust for blood and the call for someone else’s head if the team fails to make the playoffs? Only time will tell. All we can do is wait while the team rolls out on a four-game road trip.

So, how has the NHL’s worst offense fared in the eyes of the media?

• The Hockey News’ Adam Proteau’s Week 10 rating: 14. Last week: 9.


Terry Murray coaching watch on high alert. (Obviously posted before MurrayWatch came to an end.)

• TSN’s Scott Cullen’s Week 10 rating: 20. Last week: 19.


Riding a four-game losing streak, the Kings canned head coach Terry
Murray. Now, new coach John Stevens can tell Justin Williams, Simon
Gagne, Dustin Brown, Dustin Penner and Drew Doughty that they are
allowed to score.

• ESPN.com’s Scott Burnside’s Week 10 rating: 22. Last week: 13.

The Kings are in free fall, having lost four straight, and are 2-5-1 in their past eight, scoring just 13 times in that span. They also rank dead last in goals per game. Is the clock ticking on head coach Terry Murray? (Umm, yeah, that clock has run out…)

• CBSSportsline’s Adam Gretz’s Week 10 rating: 22. Last week: 17.


Already rumors that head coach Terry Murray could take the fall for what has been a poor start in Los Angeles. A four-game losing streak this week which saw the team score just six goals probably didn’t help things. (Good god, does anyone update stories anymore?!?)

• Fox Sports’ Jim Rosen’s Week 10 rating: 22. Last week: 15.


Terry Murray’s time in Los Angeles may be running out. The Kings have scored two goals or less in eight straight games and are on pace for only 184 for the season. (For the love of Pete Demers… UPDATE YOUR WEBSITE JOURNOS!)

• Sports Illustrated’s Adrian Dater’s Week 10 rating: x. Last week: x.

Take the average you you have the Kings Hockeywood Power Ranking of:

20.0.

So, what is Call of Duty and why are people going nuts for the latest version, Modern Warfare 3? Watch this preview featuring Adam Sessler from G4’s X-Play. (Sorry, couldn’t find anything with Morgan Webb.)


And since modern warfare is the theme for this week’s Weekend Returns, check out the new trailer for G.I. Joe” Retaliation, starring The Rock and Bruce Willis. Yes, that Bruce Willis.

Weekend Returns: Can the Kings avenge a lackluster season?

The Avengers

Hockeywood Weekend ReturnsTwilight: Breaking Dawn was number one at the box office. Nope, still not talking about it.

The story I thought was interesting was how Paramount Pictures has positioned itself to unseat Warner Bros. for the top spot among movie studios. And it was able to do this with only 12 movies that released wide.

Paramount is the studio that released the last Transformers flick to the tune of $352.4 million. They also distributed the Marvel movies Thor and Captain America, as well as animated features Kung Fu Panda 2 and Puss In Boots.

But Warner Bros. isn’t going down without a fight. The holiday season brings with it the last slobber-knocker between these two movie studios. Warner Bros. has New Years Eve and the second Sherlock Holmes movie (They made a second one? Hmmm. Didn’t see the first one…)

Paramount counters with Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and The Adventures of Tintin. Gee, which two movies are you gonna go see?

All I know is this may be the last year either movie studio sniffs the top spot. Disney bought the rights of all the Marvel flicks, and will be making The Avengers for a 2012 release as well as Thor 2 and Iron Man 3 in 2013.

Don’t forget, Disney also has Pixar, and they have two movies slated for next year: Brave and Monsters Inc. 2. (Which my son will go bananas for.) Yeah, Disney has the inside track for the foreseeable future.

But that’s next year. 2011 is almost over and there’s still plenty of fireworks left. Can Paramount regain the top spot in the yearly box office race? Last time they did it was 2007, when the twin towers of the first Transformers movie and Shrek 3 made over a half billion dollars.

Man, I’m hoping some movie knocks that stupid vampire movie from the top spot. I’m running out of things to write about. On to hockey. Last season, the Kings were ranked 13th in the Hockeywood Power Rankings. Have they improved on that? Well…

• The Hockey News’ Adam Proteau’s Week 9 rating: 9. Last week: 9.


Hard to believe given their talent, but Kings tied with Ducks for league’s second-worst goals-for average (2.27).

• ESPN.com’s Scott Burnside’s Week 9 rating: 13. Last week: 18.


The goal-starved Kings are 6-3-1 in their past 10 games despite scoring three or more goals in only three of those.

• Fox Sports’ Jim Rosen’s Week 9 rating: 15. Last week: 18.


Justin Williams and Simon Gagne are going to have to get going if the
goal-starved Kings are to stay afloat out west without Mike Richards,
who was placed on IR with a concussion.

• Sports Illustrated’s Adrian Dater’s Week 16 rating: 16. Last week: 15.


Netminder Jonathan Quick continues to have an excellent season, but when
are these guys going to start giving him some offensive support? Their
60 goals are tied for fewest in the West. At least Dustin Penner finally
got one, in a 2-1 loss to Montreal on Saturday. In 34 games as King, he
has three. Not bad for $4.25 million a year. Scoring won’t get any
easier with Mike Richards now on injured reserve (concussion).

• CBSSportsline’s Adam Gretz’s Week 9 rating: 17. Last week: 21.


They’re still not scoring all that much, but Jonathan Quick has been great all season and they’ve managed to win six of their past 10 games.

• TSN’s Scott Cullen’s Week 9 rating: 19. Last week: 17.


Losing leading goal-scorer Mike Richards, after a hit by Panthers LW Sean Bergheim, could pose a significant problem that doesn’t have a lot of scoring otherwise. Without Richards, C Anze Kopitar and LW Simon Gagne are the only Kings with more than five goals.

Take the average and you get the Kings’ official Hockeywood Power Ranking of

14.8.

So, the Kings are off the pace this season. Disappointing. But rather than leave this on a dour note: here’s an interesting looking movie starring Woody Harrelson, called Rampart. Pretty violent, intense stuff here…

Weekend Returns: Kings proving they are more man than Muppet

The Muppets

Weekend returnsTwilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1 was able to draw more brain-dead zombies, er, Hot Topic vampires to the movie theaters over the Thanksgiving holiday. But I’m not wasting any more time with sparkling blood-suckers. This week, it’s all about The Muppets.

That’s right, I went to go see The Muppets. With my kids. On Thanksgiving. What else was I going to do? This is the definition of family film, and there was no way I was going to miss this opportunity to see this flick with my family.

Waldorf and Stadler
I have to say, I haven’t read any bad reviews about this flick, because you’s going to talk crap about The Muppets?!? You’d have to be a heartless troll with no joy in your heart to take pot shots at a fun movie about getting the old band back together.

That said, I have some issues. First: (Spoilers alert!) No Big Bird. In the first Muppet Movie, it was kind of cool to see a cameo from Sesame Street. But it seems since he left New York City, Kermit has completely forgotten where he came from. Way to keep it real, frog. At least he didn’t drive a Fiat through Brooklyn like J-Lo did.

Second: Jack Black. I’m over him. Seeing him as the “very special guest star” was kind of reaching. After all, look at the list of “very special guest stars” from the original show: Bob Hope, Elton John, Carol Burnett, Johnny Cash, Sylvester Stallone, heck even several cast members from Star Wars made an appearance. Hey look, kids! It’s the voice of Kung-Fu Panda. Seriously, Black is the Shields and Yarnell of The Muppets cameos. (Well, maybe not those two, maybe Don Knotts.)

It was cool to see Alan Arkin make an appearance, as the tour guide through Muppet Studios. Arkin was also in the original Muppet Show, back in 1980 AND was featured on Sesame Street back in 1971. THAT’S keeping it real, kids.

Lastly: there’s… nothing. Seriously. It’s a Muppet movie. If you are looking for an original plot or tremendous acting, then you are too serious to appreciate this movie. hats off to Jason Segal, whose love of the characters and the canon of all things Muppets is apparent and really made this movie feel like a love letter to the franchise.

You know what isn’t feeling very lovely right now? Yup, the Kings. See where they rank in this week’s Power Rankings:

• The Hockey News’ Adam Proteau’s Week 8 rating: 9. Last week: 9.


Drew Doughty pointless in past seven games.

• Hockey Night in Canada’s Nabil Karim’s Week 8 rating: 15. Last week: 17.


Jonathan Quick continues to give the Kings the luxury of solid
goaltending, picking up his league leading fourth shutout of the season
and number 18 of his career. His play has been a pleasant surprise.
What’s been shocking is the Kings’ lack of scoring. The team is 26th in
league scoring, averaging a paltry 2.33 goals per game. After goals from
Anze Kopitar (10), Mike Richards (11) and Simone Gagne (7), no one on
the Kings has more than four goals. Justin Williams, Dustin Brown and
Jarret Stoll have combined for just nine goals.

• Sports Illustrated’s Adrian Dater’s Week 16 rating: 15. Last week: 16.


They have yet to play their best hockey, so their record is a testament
to how much talent is here. If coach Terry Murray can just find a way to
get his two top lines going on a more consistent level, things should
be real good for the second half. Then again, too many more little
slip-ups and just making the playoffs could be a worry. Yes, the
playoffs are still WAY too far off to start talking about the Western
horse race, but you really can’t afford a four- or five-game losing
streak in that conference. You go from “in” to “out” of the postseason
picture in a hurry.

• TSN’s Scott Cullen’s Week 8 rating: 17. Last week: 16.


RW Justin Williams stayed (relatively) healthy last year for the first time since 2006-2007 and landed a nice contract extension in the offseason. He’s healthy this year, but also mired in a 14-game goal drought and has been demoted to the third line.

• ESPN.com’s Scott Burnside’s Week 8 rating: 18. Last week: 17.


Another of those little stutter-step sequences for the Kings, who have
one win in their past four and are scratching for goals. As of Monday,
the Kings reside outside the playoff bubble.

• Fox Sports’ Jim Rosen’s Week 8 rating: 18. Last week: 16.


The Kings are having major issues burying the puck and are 0-4 against traditional Western powers San Jose, Chicago, Detroit and Vancouver.

• CBSSportsline’s Adam Gretz’s Week 8 rating: 21. Last week: 20.


Somebody still needs to help Anze Kopitar and Mike Richards, when it comes to generating offense.

Take the average and you get the Kings’ Hockeywood Power Ranking of:

14.0.

A hockey movie is around the corner, and it looks AWESOME! It’s called Goon and it stars Seann William Scott. Be aware, the language is NSFW.

Weekend Returns: A new day has Dawned in L.A.

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Hockeywood Weekend ReturnsOf course, the number one movie at the box office was the latest Twilight movie, Breaking Dawn. And while I’m obligated to mention it to adhere to the Weekend Returns theme, I don’t have to talk about it. Instead, I wanted to bring up something that’s been bugging me, and it’s not only related to the Twi-Hards, but to those nuts who I saw were lined up in front of Best Buy last night.

At what point in our society did it become acceptable to camp out days before something big? Do people really have that much free time to burn to sit in front of multiplexes for a week, just so they could be the first ones to see a movie?

I get why some do it for Black Friday, because of the commercialization of the holidays. Stores give away stuff to early bird shoppers to build buzz and boost sales, it’s another example of Capitalism at work. It’s on such a large scale, it’s now counted on by retailers every year as part of their bottom line.

But what’s the deal with the Twi-Tards? Were they afraid they weren’t going to find a theater to see what is widely considered the worst of the Twilight books? It was on 4,000+ screens. I’m pretty sure there was plenty of places to catch Bella and Edward knock boots in Cinemax style (all close ups and quick edits).

While I dig the shared experience of seeing a movie in the theater, is it better to share the experience with complete strangers in the parking lot 72 hours before the curtain is drawn? Really? Maybe I’m getting older, but I’m just not getting it.

Speaking of other things I don’t get, why the media apparently wasn’t impressed by the Kings going 2-1 last week. Check out where they rank the club this week’s Weekend Returns:

• The Hockey News’ Adam Proteau’s Week 7 rating: 9. Last week: 9.


Three-game win streak snapped with loss to Wings; Anze Kopitar is ascending to new heights.

• TSN’s Scott Cullen’s Week 7 rating: 16. Last week: 16.


D Slava Voynov added a couple points against Anaheim Thursday, and now has three goals and five points in eight games this season. Any chance it’s enough to keep him in the league?

• Fox Sports’ Jim Rosen’s Week 7 rating: 16. Last week: 17.


The Kings would be wise to play to their strongest assets: a herd
of mobile, active defensemen. Slava Voynov has earned a regular spot
with three goals and five points in eight games.

• Sports Illustrated’s Adrian Dater’s Week 7 rating: 16. Last week: 19.


The numbers have been too average so far for this much talent. They’re 4-5-1 in their last 10, and they’ve scored only one more goal than they’ve allowed (49-48). A team with Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty, Jonathan Quick and Mike Richards should be better. But they’re in the playoff mix at least, and for a brief time last week even led the Pacific Division.

• ESPN.com’s Scott Burnside’s Week 7 rating: 17. Last week: 22.


That home-and-home sweep over the rival Ducks felt oh so good for the Kings.

• Hockey Night in Canada’s Nabil Karim’s Week 7 rating: 18. Last week: 16.

Solid week for the Kings, beating Anaheim twice, but falling to
Detroit. Mike Richards has scored shorthanded in back-to-back games. He
became the first King to score a short-handed goal in two straight games
since Ziggy Palffy managed that feat on March 2001.

• CBSSportsline’s Adam Gretz’s Week 7 rating: 20. Last week: 20.


Still my preseason pick to represent the West in the Stanley Cup Final. They haven’t quite played like it. Yet.

Take the average and you get the Kings’ offical Hockeywood Power Ranking of:

14.6.

I’m a sucker for spy movies, and the newest Mission Impossible looks pretty sweet.

Hockeywood Dailies: Kings draw first blood in a West Coast shootout

Here’s the shootout in its’ entirety.

And here’s the postgame celebration in the Kings locker room.

My favorite part of the broadcast? The X-MO highlights.

<a href='http://www.foxsportswest.com/pages/video?UUID=183a4457-29a2-45b3-9749-9c9cc30a49e3&#038;src=SLPl:embed::uuids' target='_new' title='X-MO Highlights: Kings vs. Ducks'>Video: X-MO Highlights: Kings vs. Ducks</a>

Here’s Jimmy Fox and Patrick O’Neal, talking after the game.

<a href='http://www.foxsportswest.com/pages/video?UUID=68acd7d9-0ffb-4d34-a14a-40fb340d2abe&#038;src=SLPl:embed::uuids' target='_new' title='Recap: Kings win in shootout'>Video: Recap: Kings win in shootout</a>

Here’s the first star of the game, Mike Richards, as well as Kyle Clifford and Terry Murray talking after the game.

<a href='http://www.foxsportswest.com/pages/video?UUID=0762e5ba-435c-4595-a018-13b945492e9d&#038;src=SLPl:embed::uuids' target='_new' title='Kings react to win'>Video: Kings react to win</a>

Here’s Justin Williams, talking after the game.

Here’s coach Terry Murray’s postgame presser

Here’s the Ducks Bobby Ryan, talking after the game.

And here’s Ducks coach Randy Carlyle’s postgame presser.

Every so often, KingsVision does some pregame interviews. Here’s Dustin Brown before the game, talking with friend of the podcast, Daryl Evans.

Weekend Returns: Kings proving they are less than Immortal

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Power RankingsThis weekend the top movie at the box office was Immortals, a flick that combines several Greek myths. Basically, the movie is sort of a prequel to the Clash of the Titans. It revolves around the story of Theseus, and how he helped start the war between the Gods and the Titans.

The movie is filled with the same type of visual action that the 2006 movie 300 had: lots of digital manipulation, slow motion effects and violent action.

The main antagonist is played by Mickey Rourke, who can now add Titan King Hyperion to his growing list of recent movie roles (which have  included his Academy Award-nominated turn as Randy “The Ram” Robinson from The Wrestler, Whiplash from Iron Man 2 and Tool in The Expendables.)

I’m continually amazed how many roles Rourke has been able to get recently. After all, his career was put on hold when he melted down and burned a bunch of bridges. That’s when he decided to become a boxer in 1991. He actually amassed a 6-0-2 record with two knockouts. Thanks to the beating he took in the ring, Rourke had some jacked-up surgery on his face, causing him to lose his famous good looks. Now he looks like a real former wrestler, with his busted nose and swollen face.

A movie about Greek mythology wouldn’t be the same without some stunning actresses, and Immortals has two of them: Australian actress Isabel Lucas and the stunning Academy Award-winning Indian actress Freida Pinto. Mmmmm, Freida.

Immortals will not repeat as box office champion next week, thanks to that ridiculous vampire soap opera where a werewolf falls in love with a baby. (Hmmmmm, can I get Chris Hanson on Line Two?) But you will be doing the right thing if you head to your local multiplex after the game Saturday to go check out this amazing flick.

Speaking of the Kings, they actually did well last week (going 2-1), but the media has no idea where to put them. Check out the wide range of rankings the team got this week from the experts:

• The Hockey News’ Adam Proteau’s Week 6 rating: 9. Last week: 7.


Kings haven’t won two in a row since Oct. 20/22


• TSN’s Scott Cullen’s Week 6 rating: 16. Last week: 16.


Addition by subtraction? The injury to LW Dustin Penner, who is still looking for his first goal, will give Andrei Loktionov a chance to play in a top-six role with the Kings.


• Fox Sports’ Jim Rosen’s Week 6 rating: 17. Last week: 14.


Saturday’s 5-2 win over Minnesota marked just the fourth time this season Los Angeles has scored more than two goals in regulation. With two goals last week, Drew Doughty has started to get going.


• Sports Illustrated’s Adrian Dater’s Week 6 rating: 19. Last week: 15.


We can officially call them our most disappointing team so far. However,
they did spank the Wild pretty good over the weekend, which saved us
from labeling them “biggest bust so far.” Third-line center Jarret Stoll
has one, count ’em, one goal through his first 17 games after scoring
20 last season. And let’s not even go there with Dustin Penner, who
remained scoreless after his first 14 contests. Brad Richardson, with
one point in 16 games, can’t brag, either.

• CBSSportsline’s Adam Gretz’s Week 6 rating: 20. Last week: 18.


Well,
Anze Kopitar is having a great season, but the rest of the Kings
offense continues to slump and it has resulted in losses in seven of
their past 10 games following a 5-1-1 start.


• ESPN.com’s Scott Burnside’s Week 6 rating: 22. Last week: 18.


A big win over Minnesota on Saturday, but the still-slumbering Kings have just two wins in their past eight outings.


• Hockey Night in Canada’s Nabil Karim’s Week 6 rating: 23. Last week: 10.


Five losses in a row. So who’s to blame? It’s not Jonathan Quick (1.87 GAA, .936 save percentage). And it’s not the Kings’ penalty kill, which has been stingy killing 34 of their last 38 penalties. Point your finger at the offence. Just eight goals in five losses and averaging 2.14 goals per game. Dustin Penner (one assist in 12 games) is taking plenty of heat and rightly so.


Take the average, and you get the Kings’ official Hockeywood Power Ranking number of:

18.0.


Speaking of Twilight: Bite Harder, the fetching Kristen Stewart will star in an unusual remake next summer that has some of the elements of Immortals. The slow motion, the digital animation, the over-the-top violence. She’s starring opposite Charlize Theron (Mmmmmmm, Charlize) in Snow White and the Huntsman.

But wait! The director of Immortals has his own Snow White movie coming out. However, this one is decidedly lighter in tone and stars Julia Roberts as the Queen. The name? Mirror, Mirror.

Weekend Returns: Kings find themselves involved in some shenanigans


The Adsventures of Tintin

Puss in Boots led the box office again this past weekend, but I don’t want to rehash what I wrote last week. Instead, I want to talk about a movie that has made double the amount of that dumb Shrek spinoff in the same amount of time, The Adventures of Tintin. Thing is, none of that money came from America.

As we all know, American movies are released worldwide. But usually they are released in the States first, then rolled out gradually across this big blue marble of ours.  Not so in the case of Tintin, which was directed by Steven Speilberg.

Tintin, in case you didn’t know, is based on a Belgian comic that first appeared in 1929. Basically, he was a reporter who was sent off to the ends of the earth to do some investigating, only to get wrapped up in some sort of shenanigans. Which is exactly why I got into journalism, shenanigans.

The decision to open this animated feature abroad has netted the 107-minute flick $125 million in two weeks, which is impressive. Considering it won’t open in the States until Dec. 20, one wonders if it will get lost in the holiday shuffle. After all, it opens on the same weekend as the latest Mission Impossible sequel and David Fincher’s Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

All I know is I’ll be sure to go see it, even if I go alone. After all, I dug the character as a kid and it’s got both Spielberg and Peter Jackson attached to it, so it’s sure to maintain some of its charm.

Speaking of charm, nothing is charming about the Kings’ current losing steak. How did they fare in the media? Let’s peep it out…

• The Hockey News’ Adam Proteau’s Week 5 rating: 7. Last week: 4.


No gimme games this week for Kings, who face Sharks, Preds, Canucks, Wild over next six days.

• Fox Sports’ Jim Rosen’s Week 5 rating: 14. Last week: 9.

Los Angeles ended a home scoreless streak of more than 158 minutes
with an entertaining 3-2 shootout loss to Pittsburgh on Saturday. The
Kings are winless since Oct. 27.

• Sports Illustrated’s Adrian Dater’s Week 5 rating: 15. Last week: 6.


Let’s be honest: Drew Doughty has been a bust after holding out for big
bucks. Through the first nine games, he didn’t have a goal and was a
minus player. And this team just can’t find any consistency. It’s great
one night, terrible the next. Dustin Penner (one point in his first 12
games) at $4.25 million is quite possibly the most overpaid forward in
the NHL. If these guys slip under .500, coach Terry Murray could be in
some trouble. Expectations are very high in L.A. this season and
ownership won’t tolerate mediocrity without a change.

• TSN’s Scott Cullen’s Week 5 rating: 16. Last week: 8.


Losers of four straight, the Kings don’t have an easy go as they try to
shake out of the slump, travelling to San Jose before hosting Vancouver,
Nashville and Minnesota.


• ESPN.com’s Scott Burnside’s Week 5 rating: 18. Last week: 9.


And just like that, the Kings are struggling, winning only once in their past six games (1-3-2).


• CBSSportsline’s Adam Gretz’s Week 5 rating: 18. Last week: 8.

A slumping offense has resulted in losses in five of their past six
games. Since his shutout streak ended, goaltender Jonathan Quick has
allowed three goals in four of his past five starts.


• Hockey Night in Canada’s Nabil Karim’s Week 5 rating: 23. Last week: 10.


Five losses in a row. So who’s to blame? It’s not Jonathan Quick (1.87 GAA, .936 save percentage). And it’s not the Kings’ penalty kill, which has been stingy killing 34 of their last 38 penalties. Point your finger at the offence. Just eight goals in five losses and averaging 2.14 goals per game. Dustin Penner (one assist in 12 games) is taking plenty of heat and rightly so.

Taking the average of all the media rankings, and you get the Kings’ Power Ranking of:


15.8.



Disappointing, sure. So what’s the big deal about Tintin? Check out the trailer…

Weekend Returns: Kings still putting Boots to butts in rankings

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Sorry for the delay in the Power Rankings. Halloween has me all screwed up time-wise.

This weekend, I was sure a horror movie was going to take the top spot. After all, Paranormal Activity 3 was running unopposed in theaters at the right time, just before Halloween. Turns out I was dead wrong.

The Shrek spin-off Puss In Boots took the top spot for the weekend, a family movie that beat out other premiering flicks, Justin Timberlake’s In Time and Johnny Depp’s second stab at Hunter S. Thompson in The Rum Diary.

Salma HayekHaving a kid’s movie being the top spot isn’t uncommon, but I hate it. Because it usually means I have to use some cutesy frame grab from the flick, like I did above. But when I found out Salma Hayek was in it, I figured I could add some sizzle and double dip.

Mmmmm, Salma.

Puss In Boots reunites Hayek with Antonio Banderas, both of whom first starred together in 1998’s Desperado. Now 13 years later, who has aged better? Duh.

Turns out that I’ll probably be dragged off to see Puss In Boots this weekend by the demon spawn. After all, it’s been about a month since I’ve endured a kids movie. So, while I cannot give a real opinion on this flick, I can only say that the only thing I can look forward to is hearing Salma purr through her lines.

Mmmmmm, Salma.

At any rate, how did the Kings fare in the eyes of the media? Let’s take a look:


• The Hockey News’ Adam Proteau‘s Week 4 rating: 4. Last week: 4.

Six of next seven games are at home for Kings.

• Sports Illustrated’s Adrian Dater’s Week 4 rating: 6. Last week: 4.

These
guys are darn good, but there always seems to be one head-scratching
loss every few games, like getting blanked at home by New Jersey. That
just shouldn’t happen, not in 2011. The Kings had lost three of their
last four entering Tuesday (one was in overtime, at Phoenix), but goalie
Jonathan Quick still has fans buzzing over his recent three straight
shutouts. The reason lots of hockey people like the Kings over the long
haul is the team’s size and skill at the top three center spots, with
Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards and Jarrett Stoll. Richards might not
literally be a big man, but he certainly plays that way on skates.

• USA Today’s Week 4 ranking: 7. Last week: 11.

• CBSSportsline’s Adam Gretz’s Week 4 rating: 8. Last week: 7.

Anze Kopitar always gets off to a fast start and this season has been no different. Having another center like Mike Richards on the team to anchor another line and draw some attention away from him certainly doesn’t hurt things, either.

• TSN’s Scott Cullen Week 4 rating: 8. Last week: 8.

Getting
Drew Doughty back in the lineup ought to help matters, even if the
Kings dropped the first two games of his return. With six of their next
seven games at home, this is an opportunity for the Kings to get back on
the winning track.

• Fox Sports’ Jim Rosen’s Week 4 rating: 9. Last week: 6.

Drew Doughty returned over the weekend, but we’re still waiting for him to do anything of note. The Kings won once in four games last week.

• ESPN.com’s Scott Burnside’s Week 4 rating: 9. Last week: 3.

The
Kings stumbled slightly with twin losses, one in overtime to Phoenix
and the other to Colorado on Sunday. Still, the 6-3-2 Kings rank second
in goals allowed per game.

• Hockey Night in Canada’s Nabil Karim’s Week 4 rating: 10. Last week: 3.

surprised
with head coach Terry Murray’s decision to not start Jonathan Quick
versus New Jersey after he had three consecutive shutouts? Besides
beating Dallas, it wasn’t a real impressive week for Los Angeles,
although it’s great to see Drew Doughty back.

Take the average and you get the Kings’ Power Ranking of


7.6.



I am a little disappointed about the lack of horror movies this time of year, and I can already tell I’m going to have to write about the latest Twilight movie in a few weeks. But I found out Kate Beckinsale is donned the fangs once more in a fourth Underworld movie, called Underworld Awakening, bowing in January. Now, instead of vampires and werewolves fighting one another, they must join together to fight humnas. Sigh. Can’t we all just get along? Or at least all turn into zombies?

Weekend Returns: Quick, Kings playing like they are possessed

Paranormal Activity 3

Power RankingsWith Halloween around the corner, it only makes sense that a scary movie would dominate the Weekend Returns. But with the Saw franchise gone, and other assorted reboots (Halloween, Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street) shelved, what’s left?

How about a low budget, high intensity thriller that’s a prequel to a prequel? That’s right, kids. The movie industry has exhausted actual linear story telling, and has decided to tell stories in reverse. Which can never end well. (Right George Lucas?)

The fact is the huddled masses want to have the crap scared out of them, and with no other horror film in theaters this haunting season, Paranormal Activity 3 scared up some awesome numbers. Like enough to grab the top spot for fall openers, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com. However, the guys over at Box Office Mojo also classify this movie in a whole new genre, Found Footage, which finds PA3 at number five… on a list of 10. (Number one is Blair Witch Project, natch.)

I admit, I watched PA2 at home with the lights out, and I was able to get my heart going pretty good. But after I heard a friend complain that the ending of Part 3 sucked, it sort of killed it for me. That and some of the best scenes from the teaser trailers were nowhere to be found in the final cut, including the Bloody Mary bit, where the girls try to summon the urban legend from the mirror, only to find a dark figure standing behind them when they leave.  It gives me chills just thinking about it, but that wasn’t in the final cut.

The reason why the first Paranormal Activity works was the same reason why Blair Witch Project worked. It had a feeling of a real documentary. But as soon as you experience it for the first time, anything else seems weaksauce. And that’s what PA3 felt like to me. Don’t get me wrong, there were some good thrills in it. But overall, Paranormal Activity 3 has many booing at the end of it, which is never good.

Awkward transition: the third installment of the Weekend Returns is actually better than the previous two: mostly because of the stellar play of Jonathan Quick’s three shutouts. Where will they fall this week? Grab some candy corn and find out:

• ESPN.com’s Scott Burnside’s Week 3 rating: 3. Last week: 12.


The Kings are the stingiest team in the NHL. They’re allowing just 1.29 goals per game thanks in large part to red-hot goalie Jonathan Quick, whose ridiculous .972 save percentage leads all NHL goalies.


• Hockey Night in Canada’s Nabil Karim’s Week 3 rating: 3. Last week: 13.


The Kings are starting to roll and it’s largely thanks to goaltender
Jonathan Quick. As our Sr. Hockey Writer Tim Wharnsby mentioned on
Hockey Night Online, many people thought Jonathan Bernier was going to
take the starting gig in Hollywood coming into this season. Well, the
plot hasn’t exactly followed the script. Quick is putting in an award
winning performance with a 5-0-1 record, 0.81 GAA and silly .972 save
percentage. Bravo.

• Sports Illustrated’s Adrian Dater’s Week 3 rating: 4. Last week: 12.


Jonathan Quick for the Vezina. The young netminder entered the week with
three straight shutouts . Two more and he’ll tie Brian Boucher’s record
of five straight in 2003-04. Quick entered Tuesday without having
allowed a goal in 188 minutes 10 seconds, surpassing the franchise mark
set by Rogie Vachon (184:55) in 1975. “I think he’s always been a great
goalie. What he’s done is no surprise to anyone in here,” defenseman Rob
Scuderi told the Los Angeles Times. “I think it’s all just clicking for
him now.”

• The Hockey News’ Adam Proteau’s Week 3 rating: 4. Last week: 8.


Thanks to Quick, Kings haven’t allowed a goal since Oct. 15 and can
continue that streak with two games against teams (Stars, Coyotes) they
shut out last week (plus a meeting with the Devils).

• Fox Sports’ Jim Rosen’s Week 3 rating: 6. Last week: 13.

Jonathan Quick’s shutout streak has reached more than 188 minutes, breaking a club record Rogie Vachon held for 36 years.

• CBSSportsline’s Adam Gretz’s Week 3 rating: 7. Last week: 17.


Jonathan Quick has started six games this season for the Kings and allowed just five goals. That includes his past three starts where he hasn’t allowed any.

• TSN’s Scott Cullen’s Week 3 rating: 8. Last week: 10.


Jonathan Quick is riding a streak of three straight shutouts and the Kings have done a fine job defensively even without their ace blueliner, Drew Doughty, who remains sidelined.




Take the average and you get the Hockeywood Power Ranking of:


5.0.



My podcast partner Jesse suggested a little known horror movie to me,  but it’s not available for streaming on Netflix (which still has my business, regardless of the scores of people leaving.) Check out the trailer:


Weekend Returns: Some fight left in the Kings after rough roadie

Photobucket

Moviegoers can be surprising to me. There are some movies that I have no desire to see, that wind up doing great at the box office. (The Help, Hop, Hall Pass.)
There are other movies that I think are going to have legs, only to peter out prematurely. (Super 8, X-Men: First Class).

Then a movie like Real Steel comes out and reaffirms my belief in humanity. A movie about boxing robots may sound stupid, but it’s showing that a (semi-) original idea like live action boxing robots is way more interesting than retreads/remakes/prequels like The Thing and Footloose.

How anyone would greenlight a remake of Footloose is beyond me. Not that teens writhing around pawing at one another on the dance floor isn’t interesting. It’s just been done before. And It’s not like I’m holding the original up as that great. It’s  just… dumb. So that’s why I’m not surprised it didn’t usurp the number one spot.

The Thing prequel not performing was a surprise to me. After all, horror remakes seem to fare better on the whole as opposed to other types of remakes. Not so in The Thing’s case. After all, the main antagonist is, well… a thing.

In the new Friday The 13th, you know the bad guy is Jason, in Halloween it’s Mike Myers, Nightmare on Elm Street, it’s Freddy. What is the Thing? It’s an alien that assimilates what it kills, essentially making it a shape-shifting monster. Not something you can slap on a poster and get excited about. Even though The Thing has a cult following, it didn’t translate in the prequel that attempts to explain the 1982 movie. It did worse than the remakes of The Fog and The Stepfather, which is saying something.

But enough movie talk, the Kings split the two games last week. How did they fare in the eyes of the media? Not so well.

• The Hockey News’ Adam Proteau’s Week 2 rating: 8. Last week: 9.


Jack Johnson (24:27) carrying the mail on Kings blueline.

• ESPN.com’s Scott Burnside’s Week 2 rating: 12. Last week: 10.


The Kings lost defenseman Drew Doughty in their OT win against Philly on Saturday, but it doesn’t look that serious. Still, the Kings are trying to get their North American legs under them after starting the season overseas.


• Sports Illustrated’s Brian Cazeneuve’s Week 2 rating: 12. Last week: 11.

Drew Doughty is out the next 7-10 days with the dreaded “upper body” injury (shhh, don’t call it a concussion, the Kings say it’s a shoulder malady), but they will be just fine as long as Anze Kopitar stays healthy. This guy is going to win the Hart Trophy some day, you heard it here first. He’s huge, but he plays with such a silky finesse. He’s the Magic Johnson of hockey in L.A.

• Fox Sports’ Robert Jim Rosen’s Week 2 rating: 13. Last week: 11.


“In America, first you get the sugar, then you get the power, then you get the women.” (Homer) — The Kings added some sugar in Mike Richards and Simon Gagne in the offseason to sweeten their much maligned power play. They’ve enjoyed a 25 percent success rate through the season’s first two weeks.


• Hockey Night in Canada’s Nabil Karim’s Week 3 rating: 13. Last week: 10.


Flyers forward Zac Rinaldo doesn’t have much love for the NHL’s royal family. First he puts Drew Doughty on the injured reserve with his bone-crushing (clean) hit. Dustin Penner responded by getting into it with Rinaldo, which resulted in Penner hurting his knee. Penner asked for his knee to be re-examined, which means it could be more serious than the original diagnosis of just a bruise. Look out for Slava Voynov who may eat up big minutes with Willie Mitchell as a replacement for Doughty.


• CBSSportsline’s Adam Gretz’s Week 2 rating: 17. Last week: 14.


The Los Angeles Kings have two wins and both have come via Jack Johnson
game-winning goals in overtime. Their most recent win was a costly one
as standout defenseman Drew Doughty was lost for at least a week after
he was rocked by Philadelphia’s Zac Rinaldo.

Take the average and you get the Kings’ Hockeywood Power Ranking of:

12.5


Speaking of horror remakes, next weekend has Paranormal Activity 3 bowing in theaters. I anticipate it knocking out Hugh Jackman’s robot Rocky, since now is the haunting season. Check out the trailer: