Monthly Archives: December 2016

Batman: The Telltale Series Episode 2: Children of Arkham

Batman_20161209041649Yeah, I know I reviewed Batman: The Telltale Series before, but it’s a cheap game that lets you choose whether you want to continue the story by buying the later episodes. Fortunately, I have the Season Pass Disc, which includes free access to all the episodes. I now review the second.

The first part had Bruce Wayne realizing that there was corruption in his family for which he was under investigation. On top of that, Batman’s questioning of mob boss Carmine Falcone prompted Falcone to claim that the Waynes are “the biggest gangsters in Gotham.” The second episode, Children of Gotham, has Bruce finally getting Alfred to admit that Bruce’s father,Thomas, did in fact have dealings with the mafia.

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What’s wrong, Bruce? Can’t take a little loss of innocence?

Bruce (not Batman) confronts Falcone in his hospital bed to learn the total truth. Before he gets it, a police officer named Renee Montoya shoots Falcone dead. Batman’s research reveals that Montoya only did it because of a mind-control device. And as it happens, it seems that Gotham has a new, more violent kind of crime-fighting vigilante.

These episodes are interactive movies so you make character choices and in push buttons corresponding to the signal that appears on the screen in action scenes. You do both as you go through.

No what's "messy" is the blue goop.

No what’s “messy” is the blue goop.

Alas, this is decidedly not as good as the first episode. The reason is that this game uses The Penguin wrong. He’s supposed to be a criminal, but the plot has him as a violent vigilante. Also, he’s tall and skinny. No doubt they did this because of the popular version of the character in the ongoing crime drama Gotham. The difference being that Gotham is set when Bruce is a teenager and Penguin’s deforming condition hasn’t gotten serious yet.

But there are certain redeeming qualities with this game. The mystery involving vigilantes going too far actually is very well-done. Additionally, there are character interactions between Batman and Catwoman (who circumstances force to work together) that work well, as do certain plot twists.

Those eyebrows are how you know he's a bad guy.

Those eyebrows are how you know he’s a bad guy.

While not a great sequel, Children of Gotham is worth the money.

Overall: 7 out of 10

Suddenly very meaningful. Falcons-Saints preview.

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Like last year’s home stand against the New Orleans Saints, this was expected to not count for anything beyond records and the rivalry. That changed last week. Arizona won in Seattle to put the Seahawks a game behind us in the standings. As a result, we can clinch a Wild Card bye by finishing the sweep of New Orleans.

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Damn, looks like the Rams aren’t the only ones with Seattle’s number.

Now, most are treating this as almost a must-win for Atlanta. I respectfully disagree. Remember that we’ve been lights out on the road, going 6-2 away from home. So I’m going to break from popular opinion and say that we don’t need home field. A bye would give us a chance to get a little healthier, but with us already getting people back, even that may be overrated.

One thing that might worry me is that if we lose and the Packers win in Detroit, we might need to win in the freezing cold of wintertime Lambeau. Ooh! I guess it’s no worse than three trips to the West Coast in which we went 2-1, but I’d much rather avoid it.

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If not, here’s hoping the Falcons can become snowy owls.

Despite our poor record against Drew Brees, we’re heavily favored to win over the Saints. Should we be? Yes. One category we’ve dominated in the Matt Ryan era is one-sided games. We’ve won four of the six games in this era that were decided by ten points or more. The reason we’ve been getting dominated in this rivalry is because we’ve been failing to execute on the last drive of the game.

With our elite offense and the defense getting better, I think we can win a close one. But the chances that it comes to that are small. I expect a game similar to what was seen last week in Carolina, but less one sided (35-24). The reason is that unlike the Panthers, the Saints at least have an offense headlined by Drew Brees, Bradon Cooks, and a rock-solid offensive line that can keep them in games. But their defense can’t stop us from scoring a lot of points on them.

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Or going here.

This could even get to be a blowout if our pass rushers really get to Brees, but I doubt it. But a win’s a win, especially for the #2 seed. RISE UP!!!

This could be a rabid pack of huskies. College football playoff preview.

AlabamaVs.washingtonhuskies

The playoffs are here. While other teams are going for Bowls four teams are in the running for the ultimate trophy in college football! My Alabama Crimson Tide is one of them.

Our playoff game is against the Washington Huskies. They have unexpectedly emerged as contenders, having lost just one game and consistently dominated in their other games.

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Fear the finger!

How have they done so well? First of all, their offense has been unnatural. Jake Browning has been a fantastic quarterback! He has thrown for 3280 yards, 42 touchdowns, and just 7 interceptions. Myles Gaskin and Lavon Coleman have been just as lethal on the ground. The result is that they average more than 40 points a game.

Defense is almost as good. Sacks and interceptions every time you turn around!

Despite all this, Vegas still has us as overwhelming favorites. I’m guessing it’s because they’ve been playing in a weak Pac-12. As a result, their schedule has been easy. But they have been destroying teams. It would be one thing if they were letting those guys hang around, but they’re not.

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Instead, they serve as hangmen.

Besides, although you wouldn’t know it from how the Bowl games shook out, it’s not like the SEC was so great this year. The East is a mess in which two of their top three teams lost to Vandy and the other lost the SEC Championship by 38. Similarly, Though nowhere near as disappointing as the East, there’s not one team in the West that never lost at least one game that they shouldn’t have.

The point is, part of the reason we’re undefeated is because although no one wants to admit it, the SEC as a whole isn’t very good right now. Perhaps Florida and Auburn will restore the SEC to prominence next year with an offseason to get healthy. That is presumably the reason that 4-loss Auburn made the Sugar Bowl.

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Myles Gaskin had best be ready for this.

I do think our defense will bring Browning and Gaskin back to Earth. We should win this game, but probably not in a blowout like some seem to think. ROLL TIDE!!!

Coal for the Panthers. Fancons@Panthers recap.

Falcons sweep Panthers!

Falcons sweep Panthers!

Atlanta has all but secured a playoff seed. If the Saints beat the Bucs, it could happen today. Our chances of at least a wildcard are still close to certain as is. Not bad for a team that was expected to be third at best in the NFC South.

Anyway, we finished the sweep of the Panthers on Christmas Eve. Make that 27-17 against the Panthers and 7-5 against their best coach and quarterback ever. It might be rude to say that we own them but… we own them.

Hey, it's no more cliche at this point than the sad Michael Jordan on Cam.

Hey, this picture is no more cliche at this point than the crying Michael Jordans.

And we demonstrated that this year by dominating Carolina in both meetings. The first time was with Julio Jones’ 300 yards receiving. This time we had a more balanced team effort from our players. Matt Ryan threw for 277 yards despite getting sacked four times by throwing to ten other players.

The Rushing attack, which arguably looked like the closest to a weakness that this awesome offense has for some time, continues to get better and better. We got 140 net yards on the ground, most notably a crazy 55-yard touchdown by Tevin Coleman, possibly the most underrated star on this “O.”

Out of the way!

Winning Daytona on foot!

Defensively, we were decidedly a mixed bag. Run defense got gashed by Jonathan Stewart. His total yards were modest, but don’t be fooled. Carolina had to limit the run in the second half because they were way down almost all the way.

Pass defense was another story. Jalen Collins has made the blow of the loss of Desmond Trufant sting much, much, less than I thought it would. He covered well and caught an interception (almost had two). Receivers were locked down and Cam Newton, despite his line playing as well as on Monday, completed less than half his passes.

I will say this, though. I was amazed when the graphic appeared showing that Cam’s had only one since 2015. Is it his race or the NFL voicing disapproval of players who decide to be controversial (the folks who mock Colin Kaepernick’s play while ignoring that the 49ers are all-around horrible, for instance)?

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But we can all agree that these hats are a bit much, right?

A blowout on the road in a big game is never a bad thing. RISE UP AND MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Next week…saints

A Very Murray Christmas

murraychristmastitleBill Murray as himself
Michael Cera as Jackie the Travel Agent
Paul Shaffer as himself
Dimitri Dimitrov as himself
David Johansen as The Bartender
Jenny Lewis as The Waitress
Miley Cyrus as herself

Did the star cast get you going? Don’t get your hopes up.

A Very Murray Christmas is about Bill Murray running a Christmas special. Only problem is that a snowstorm has caused most of the guests to cancel, including Chris Rock in a cameo appearance. So Murray makes do with who he’s got. Hilarity ensues. Well, not really, but let’s just pretend.

A Very Murray Christmas

Paul Shaffer and the Netflix orchestra!

In spite of the star cast, this movie’s performances are lame. These actors are very halfhearted. It’s like they don’t care. So they give us no reason to care either.

The humor sucks as well. The jokes are both unoriginal and uninspired. There wasn’t a split-second of laughter that it got out of me.

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No thanks.

But humor is not all there is to this film. It’s a musical in which members of the cast sing Christmas carols and certain points. Sadly, they’re just as lazy in these musical breaks.

To be fair, this movie isn’t horrible, just boring. Sorry this was a very short review, but there’s not much to say about a Very Murray Christmas. It lasts less than an hour.  Suffice to say, I cannot recommend it.

Overall: 3 out of 10

Don’t be spoiled. Falcons@Panthers preview.

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Remember last Summer when the experts universally had the Carolina Panthers winning the NFC South and my Atlanta Falcons hoping to squeeze into a Wild Card spot? Actually, few even had us doing that well! The predictions were us doing as badly as 3-13. The Panthers, meanwhile were again Super Bowl contenders. Things have played out a tad differently.

More than just a company line.

More than just a slogan.

After a disappointing home opener, we rebounded in a big way and are now 9-5 while Carolina’s best case scenario is 8-8. They’re basically out of the playoffs but still have to play us again.

It’s tempting to think of this as a mismatch. Our offense is of course elite while our defense, while a work in process, has stepped up over the last six games. Meanwhile Carolina’s secondary is a mess and their offensive line is depleted. In theory, this would be an easy win. But it’s not.

The Panthers are now in spoiler mode. Their playoff chances are dead, but they can theoretically cost us a NFC South title by beating us if the Buccaneers win out. In fact, we could conceivably be out of the playoffs altogether if the Saints also beat us. That’s what Carolina is playing for: to ruin our season. They don’t have much of a season to call their own, so they seek to take us down with them. Not to mention the crazy scenarios they’ve no doubt ran through their heads that give them the last seed in the NFC.

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I-I can’t even touch the improbability of all this happening…

Sound familiar? It should. If you’ll recall, Carolina took their 14-0 undefeated season into the Georgia Dome and left with a loss. Because we were out of it. Our goal was to ensure that they didn’t go undefeated. That is only further motivation for Cam Newton and company.

The key to avoiding this and clinching a playoff spot is to protect Matt Ryan and put pressure on Cam Newton. The former is the more difficult task, for they have been getting a lot of sacks. Still, with Julio Jones back and Taylor Gabriel having risen up since our last meeting with the cats, Ryan shouldn’t need too much time to throw.

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I know it’s kicking the Browns when they’re down to point out that Gabriel is showing great talent that they did nothing with. Doesn’t mean it’s not true, though.

I think we win, but it won’t be the blowout most think. RISE UP!!!

San Francisco gets 86ed. Falcons-49ers recap.

Falcons win!

Falcons win!

That was for the beatings Steve Young and Joe Montana used to give us!

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How times change, huh, Joe?

By a score of 41-13, this was a true ass-kicking. And while it was against a team that has only one win (on Monday Night Football where the 49ers always seem to do well no matter what), there are some schools of thought that if you’re not blowing out numerous opponents, you’re not Super Bowl contenders. I don’t know if I fully agree, but then again, almost every modern Super Bowl team did it. We’ve passed this threshold, at least.

We started out really fast by running the ball and mixing in the occasional deep ball to go up 21-0. But then Colin Kaepernick and Carlos Hyde started getting the San Francisco offense going. Until the halftime, that is. They hardly ever touched our territory again on offense and kept getting burned on the other side of the ball.

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Can you believe that rising Falcon Taylor Gabriel is a former Brown?

Just a couple things, though. Freeman fumbling at their 1-yard line was not acceptable. Neither was allowing Colin Kaepernick to convert on 3rd and 14.

But although there were some bad moments after those mishaps, nothing like that happened again and besides, Deion Jones made Carlos Hyde (their only great player besides maybe Phil Dawsen) cough up the ball.

Deion Jones

Ex-LSU Tiger/Saints fan or not, it’s great that we got DJ.

Fun fact: Atlanta is now 2-0 against Chip Kelly. The first win was a far closer one last year when he was coaching the Eagles. Will there ever be another meeting with him? Because there’s rumors abound about him getting fired after one year or quitting on his own. My guess is that if he quits, he’s going to Jacksonville unless Ole Miss is crazy enough to fire their best coach in forever after one bad year. After all, the Texas and LSU jobs have been filled. But my guess is he’s still a 9er next year.

My obligatory Kaepernick comment: a lot of conservatives and patriots who are offended by his protests of the national anthem will probably pounce on this game, but believe me when I tell you that Tom Brady wouldn’t have saved them. Again, the 9ers are lacking talent in almost every position. They don’t need a new quarterback, they need a hammer and chisel rebuild.

We remain first in our division. We want Tampa Bay to lose so we can have some insurance, but it’s a great time to be a Falcon fan. RISE UP!!!

Next week…

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