Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Birthday Girl: Martina Hingis

Today is a big day for 5-time Grand Slam champion Martina Hingis. Not only is she celebrating her 29th birthday, but today is also her last day of her unfairly doled out two-year drug suspension.

Funny thing actually since it was Martina Hingis who actually got me interested in tennis. No joke. I fell in love with her uncanny court sense and penchant for thinking about every shot rather than power the ball down the line. It's fitting that when she left the game in 2003, a new Swiss tennis player took over the tennis landscape and my tennis obsessed heart.

Hingis came back to the game briefly for about a year and a half reaching all the way to #7 in the rankings. Her comeback ended early when she was beset with injuries in the end of the 2007 and her confession that she tested positive for cocaine at Wimbledon. Instead of finding the ruling, she left the game.

CLICK HERE to read Sport Illustrated's tennis editor Jon Wertheim interview Martina Hingis talking about her retirement, her feelings about the suspension, and what she thinks about the future.

So while she doesn't see another competitive comeback in her future, I do hope she keeps connected to the tennis world. Lord knows the uninspired women's game would only benefit from her presence.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Sunday Night TV

The official "premiere week" ended yesterday with the premieres of Amazing Race on CBS, the animated shows on FOX, and ABC's Sunday lineup. I saw most of them.

Now lots of people bemoan the fact that Amazing Race has won the Emmy in its category for seven years straight. I am not one of those people. It's consistently great with entertaining contestants going through fun challenges amidst gorgeous exotic places around the world. And the season premiere had all of that in spades. In fact it was probably one of my favorite episodes of Amazing Race ever. It had everything from the first team eliminated before the starting line to a sushi/wasabi eating contest at a Japanese game show to herding 100+ ducks to getting muddy. Click here for my more detaield thoughts on the contestants themselves, but it's looking right another amazing season for this show.

Another highlight from last night was Family Guy's homage to the multiverse theory in which Brian and Stewie travel from one alternate universe to another. The best part had to be when they ended up in a Disney-drawn universe with singing and beating up the Jews. So inappropriately hilarious which is pretty much Family Guy's MO. Not so fantastic was Family Guy's spin-off The Cleveland Show which still needs time to get its groove. Brad Trechak at TV Squad said it best in his review:

Based on the pilot episode, the analogy that can be made is this: Family Guy is to All In The Family what The Cleveland Show is to The Jeffersons (with a little What's Happening and Good Times thrown in).

In Desperate Housewives and Brothers & Sisters, it was more of the same from the seasons before. In the first show, Susan is still acting like a petulant child, Lynette is one more child away from committing homicide, Bree is having troubles with her husband, and oh yeah a new family has moved in with a mysterious past. More of the same. Brother & Sisters is a bit better since I actually like the characters, but how many Walker clan flights will they be until you get really really tired of it all? The episodes I like best is when I feel all warm and fuzzy and this wasn't a warm and fizzy episode at all.

Amazing Race: The Contestants

After only two legs, two teams have been eliminated and the rest of the teams are already in the other side of the world. Here are my initial thoughts on all of the teams in the order they came in during the most recent leg.

Gary & Matt (Father/Son) - They are running the race to spend more time together which is nice. And for now they seem to get along quite well and they seem really down-to-earth.

Sam & Dan
(Brothers) - Their hook is that they are both gay. Both of them seem to work quite well and if the other teams aren't carefuly, they can take over. Their friendship with the Poker Girls will be something to look at. I love that Dan gets giddy about everything. He practically flailed when he reached the mat.

Flight Time & Big Easy (Harlem Globetrotters) - With their height and affable personalities, they stand out. They seem to be in good spirits which make me a fan. BTW their real names are Herbert and Nathaniel.

Lance & Keri
(Engaged) - This is really the only team out of the whole lot that I do not like. She's okay for now, but he is an obnoxious jerk. The sad thing is I called him that after two seconds on screen. Oh please be eliminated next round.

Zev & Keri (Friends) - Zev has Asperger's which says a lot about how Justin seems to be really good friends with him. Not sure how Zev's disability will play into the competitions, but so far so good. In fact Zev (and Keri) are very likable.

Meghan & Cheyne
(Dating) - I don't have much to say about this couple except to say that they seem nice. They're athletic, but they don't have an air of entitlement about having to win. In fact they're the one team that seems to be in awe of their surroundings and being in Amazing Race.

Maria & Tiffany (Pro Poker Players) - They had a rocky start first by lying about their livelihood and then getting lost in Tokyo, but they used their focus to survive into the next round. They're a bit sketchy, but I still like them.

Mika & Canaan (Newly Dating) - They're Christian and "sexually pure" for one another. Do I have to say anything else, really?

Marcy & Ron (Dating) - How cute are they? They're the "Elderly Couple" but they have energy and life to rival some of the other teams. I love that they're both navigating the dating world at their age.

Brian & Ericka (Married) - He's white. She's black. Hilarity ensues. But yeah, that's their hook. I can see them getting annoying, but for now they're okay with me.

Garrett & Jessica (Dating On/Off) - They got eliminated so it doesn't matter what I thought of them except he really really wanted to win and she was Colombian.

Eric & Lisa (Married Yoga Teachers) - They were the first team to get eliminated and the first team in the show's history to get eliminated BEFORE the starting line. I was sort of glad they got booted, because their zen-ness would've probably driven me insane.

Shaping up to be another great season of Amazing Race!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Friday Night TV

The Dollhouse premiere was chock full of goodies, I don't even know where to begin. Actually I just wanted to briefly comment on the unaired episode "Epitaph One" from last season which I only saw an hour before the new season started. Wow. It was pretty much a game changer sort of episode and it'll be interesting to see how the second season is affected by it.

While I loved seeing Echo, Paul, Topher, Adelle, etc., it was all about the guest stars for me this week. It was fantastic seeing Jamie Bamber (Battlestar Galactica) playing a smarmy arms dealer and his scenes with Eliza Dushku were hot hot hot. I expected nothing less. Then there was our first glimpse of Alexis Denisof (Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) playing a senator out to get Rossum Corportation, the Dollhouse's parent company.

But the true star of the episode for me was Amy Acker (Angel) who played Dr. Saunders with an edge that wasn't there for the first season. Her inability to handle finding out that she's a doll really created some inspired bits of acting especially with the character of Topher. It's sad to see the actress go, but there's no doubt she'll be back.

Other than Dollhouse, the only other TV show I saw last night was Fringe which I recorded from the night before. The second episode was more "monster of the week" type of an episode with bits and pieces of the Big Mystery of the Alternate Universe popping up like Olivia's superhuman hearing and not!Charlie's stalkery ways. The monster of the week though was truly horrifying, a mutant child living underground? Yikes!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Thursday Night TV

Thursday was such a loaded night. In fact I have yet to watch Fringe and the season premiere of The Mentalist because I had to go to sleep! What I did get to see was the series premiere of FlashForward, the two-hour season premiere of Grey's Anatomy, Community, and Project Runway. Whew!

The big question of the night though is whether or not FlashForward is the new Lost or is it yet another high concept show that start out big only to fizzle out? After seeing the spectacular pilot I'm hoping it's not the latter, but I'm still worried. Matt Roush at TV Guide Magazine probably said it best in his review:

"It’s all very compelling, but obviously, embracing FlashForward will require quite a leap of faith. And therein lies another problem. Even critics and fans who are intrigued (as I am) by the often riveting pilot—which ends on a whopper of a cliffhanger twist—can’t help projecting a bit into our own future, one that’s informed by a past that’s littered with ambitious pilot episodes that ultimately didn’t measure up."

Then there's Grey's Anatomy. I have not been a fan of the show for awhile due to crummy plots and unlikable characters, but somehow I keep coming back. Having said that, I very much enjoyed the premiere. The death of George, especially the way it was eloquently handled by the writers, really grounded the episode and the usually manic characters within the hospital. I mean I was crying in the first five minutes already. The challenge is to keep it going though. I still remember earlier this year when Heroes delivered a very good spring premiere only for it to fall to its usual tangled mess of storylines. But I'm keeping an optimistic attitude for Seattle Grace and its doctors especially since it seems there is more dark times ahead.

Now can we talk about what happened on Project Runway last night? The talented Ra'mon bit off more than he could chew delivering a terrifying lizard/alien dress and was booted while "I'm all that and a bag of chips" Nicholas actually won a challenge. I'm not too pissed about Ra'mon leaving because his dress was THAT heinous, but I thought Epperson (or even Christopher) should've won over Nicholas. So lame.

Finally, I don't have much to say about Community except to say that I think this show can get better. With two episodes in, some of the characters are still not as fleshed out as I want them to be, and I'm especially talking about the main character played by Soup host Joel McHale.

Don't forget that the premiere of DOLLHOUSE is TONIGHT on FOX at 9PM. Watch it!!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wednesday Night TV

Let's just get straight to talking about Glee, because I thought they delivered their best episode yet. Most of it was focused on Kurt and him trying to come out to his father. Beyonce helped him out.

How fierce is THAT picture? To the tune of Beyonce's "Single Ladies" Kurt struts his stuff and in the end even the entire football team was dancing along. It was as surreal as it was ludicrous, but this show was never meant for subtlety. There are a few pregnant storylines happening as well, but I'm conveniently ignoring those.

Another highlight last night was the premiere of ABC's Modern Family. It's smart AND it's funny so while it did debut big, I wouldn't be shocked if it goes the way of 30 Rock in the ratings. Hey, if it matches that show award success, then gravy. Also I will forever laugh whenever I hear "Circle of Life" from the Lion King. This one is a definite keeper.

I also ended up checking out Cougar Town and Eastwick. They aren't totally bad, but right now they are pretty disposable. Eastwick is a sort of wacky blend of Charmed, Lipstick Jungle, and Gilmore Girls. Make from that what you will. As for Cougar Town, it's just a little disheartening to see Courtney Cox looking a little less Monica Gellar and a little more Janice Dickinson. Yikes.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Looking Forward To...

...Fall TV Edition

Dollhouse (FOX)
Premieres: Friday, Sept. 25 @ 9PM
Starring: Dichen Lachman, Enver Gjokaj, Fran Kranz, Eliza Dushku, Olivia Williams, Tahmoh Penikett, & Harry Lenix

Tuesday Night TV

The glut of Monday night gave way to having nothing to watch on Tuesday night. Usually I would be watching So You Think You Can Dance, but inexplicably it wasn't on last night and even if it was they are still in the audition rounds which I tend not to watch.

I also initially didn't have any interest in seeing any of the new shows that were premiering last night. Some good word-of-mouth from critics and friends, however led me to watch NCIS: Los Angeles with Chris O'Donnell and LL Cool J and The Good Wife with Julianna Margulies.

In an earlier post, I mentioned that I would not watch any new shows that took place in "a hospital, a court room, or a police station." So, my bad.

Having said that, I DID enjoy the pilots for both. The chemistry of the NCIS team especially the two leads was really great and Julianna Margulies just delivered a knock out performance. Oh and did I mention Christine Baranski is in The Good Wife? That's enough reason to check it out, right? Time will tell though if I continue to watch both shows.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Monday Night TV

Welcome to the Fall TV Season! So Monday night was a night of TV premieres. In total I saw the premieres of four shows: How I Met Your Mother, Castle, Heroes, & Big Bang Theory. All of my friends are big House fans, but imagine my schedule if I was as well! Yikes!

In general, it was a good night. The only show that didn't meet my expectations was Heroes, but I fear it's less what happened on screen and more me just becoming tired of the show. The other shows, however, were just delightful. From Laurie Metcalf's hilarious return as Sheldon's mother in Big Bang Theory to Detective Beckett showing off her sexy Russian side in Castle.

But it was the exploration of Barney and Robin's relationship on HIMYM that gets my Must Watch award for the night. At the end of the episode, both of them decide to "lie" to their friends telling them what they thought they wanted to hear: that both of them are now boyfriend and girlfriend.

Robin: Really. We sat down. We had the talk. Barney's my boyfriend now.
Barney: And Robin's my girlfriend. I know it sounds nuts, but it feels good to say.
Robin: We're both afraid of commitment, but the fact is, we also can't live without each other.
Barney: And if the alternative is not being together then it's worth taking this risk, 'cause...

And at this point both of them seem to be laying it on thick. But then the tone in their voice changes and well...

Barney: She's awesome.
Robin: And he's awesome... He looks nice in a suit
Barney: She can handle her Scotch.
Robin: He's my boyfriend.
Barney: And she's my girlfriend.

I was a puddle on the floor after that moment. I cannot wait to see where the show takes this relationship.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Emmys: The Winners

In my opinion, this was one of the best Emmy ceremonies we've had in years. Some (most?) of it was due to Neil Patrick Harris' brilliant stint as host delivering a kickass opening number and then keeping everyone laughing all the way to the end. But the pacing and the structure of the show, which I criticized last year, were also much better. Love the idea of breaking up the different genres like that. It really grounded the ceremony.

For the most part, I was very happy with the winners. The supporting categories were a complete delight minus Neil Patrick Harris' shock loss to Jon Cryer. The wins for Chenoweth, Emerson, and Jones will do much to help me get over NPH's loss. There were a few repeat winners (30 Rock, Mad Men), but there were still some upsets to be found to keep it all interesting. Overall, a good and entertaining show. So of course watch the ratings fall... ugh.

Congratulations to the winners below!

ACTOR: Bryan Cranston - Breaking Bad (AMC)
ACTRESS: Glenn Close - Damages (FX)
SUPP. ACTOR: Michael Emerson - Lost (ABC)
SUPP. ACTRESS: Cherry Jones - 24 (FOX)
DIRECTING: Rod Holcomb - ER (NBC)
WRITING: Kater Gordon & Matthew Weiner - Mad Men (AMC)
GUEST ACTOR: Michael J. Fox - Rescue Me (FX)
GUEST ACTRESS: Ellen Burstyn - Law & Order: SVU (NBC)

SERIES: 30 Rock (NBC)
ACTOR: Alec Baldwin - 30 Rock (NBC)
ACTRESS: Toni Collette - United Stats of Tara (Showtime)
SUPP. ACTOR: Jon Cryer - Two and a Half Men (CBS)
SUPP. ACTRESS: Kristin Chenoweth - Pushing Daises (ABC)
DIRECTING: Jeffrey Blitz - The Office (NBC)
WRITING: Matt Hubbard - 30 Rock (NBC)
GUEST ACTOR: Justin Timberlake - Saturday Night Live (NBC)
GUEST ACTRESS: Tina Fey - Saturday Night Live (NBC)

MINISERIES: Little Dorrit (PBS)
ACTOR: Brendan Gleeson - Into the Storm (HBO)
ACTRESS: Jessica Lange - Grey Gardens (HBO)
SUPP. ACTOR: Ken Howard - Grey Gardens (HBO)
SUPP. ACTRESS: Shohreh Aghdashloo - House of Saddam (HBO)
DIRECTING: Dearbhla Walsh - Little Dorrit (PBS)
WRITING: Andrew Davies - Little Dorrit (PBS)

SERIES: Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Comedy Central)
DIRECTING: Bruce Gowers - American Idol (FOX)
WRITING: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Comedy Central)

PROGRAM: Intervention (A&E)
HOST: Jeff Probst - Survivor (CBS)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Shiver me timbers

Ahoy matey!

OKay, so today is Talk Like A Pirate Day. But still, couldn't we all use a little more Orlando Bloom in our lives? Aye aye!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Emmy Nominations and Predictions

The Emmy Awards are two days away and oddly enough I'm excited. Last year's debacle should've turned me off of it, but with a certain somebody hosting and a slew of other changes, I am looking forward to seeing the ceremony. Before I get to the main categories and my predictions, just wanted to congratulate Pushing Daisies, Joss Whedon, Tina Fey, and other people who have already won an Emmy this year at the Creative Emmy Awards held last week.

Big Love
Breaking Bad
Mad Men

This overstuffed category is full of good choices, but it will most likely come down to two former winners, Lost and Mad Men. Fans of both as well as critics praise both shows, but it is Mad Men that has had more awards cache. For me, I love both shows, but I'm definitely rooting for Lost's spectacular season.

Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Hugh Laurie, House
Gabriel Byrne, In Treatment
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Simon Baker, The Mentalist

This is the same lineup last year except Simon Baker replaced James Spader. Last year, most thought Jon Hamm would take the win riding the Mad Men love, but Bryan Cranston took it instead. This year, I doub Cranston will repeat and Mad Men is even bigger than ever. But while I see Hamm winning, I wouldn't be at all shocked if Laurie or Hall takes it. I'm rooting for Hamm.

Sally Field, Brothers & Sisters
Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer
Glenn Close, Damages
Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: SVU
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men
Holly Hunter, Saving Grace

Yawn. Like the men, this is pretty much the same lineup as last year except for the addition of newcomer Elisabeth Moss . Oddly enough I see her as the frontrunner to win especially if Mad Men love is there. I would definitely love for her to win, but look for a fight with Glenn Close and maybe Hargitay.

William Shatner, Boston Legal
Christian Clemenson, Boston Legal
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
William Hurt, Damages
Michael Emerson, Lost
John Slattery, Mad Men

Of course my preference would be Michael Emerson to win, but unless Lost hits it big with the voters, he has no chance. I'm thinking this is a race between William Hurt and John Slattery and really I think it's pretty much a toss-up.

Rose Byrne, Damages
Sandra Oh, Grey's Anatomy
Chandra Wilson, Grey's Anatomy
Dianne Wiest, In Treatment
Hope Davis, In Treatment
Cherry Jones, 24

Last year Dianne Wiest won this award and she can very well be a repeat winner. I can see any of these ladies win the award, however, so this will be one of the more interesting awards to watch out for. Personally I'm rooting for Cherry Jones and Sandra Oh.

Family Guy
Flight of the Conchords
How I Met Your Mother
The Office
30 Rock

Even though it's up against six other shows, it's hard to see last year's champion 30 Rock not taking this prize. It's riding the award momentum it has had the past year including Tina Fey's successes. The only other shows I can even see stealing the top prize away would be Family Guy (for novelty/controversy), HIMYM (for traditional comedies/NPH factor), and Weeds (ooh Showtime). I would die happy if HIMYM were to win this one though.

Jim Parsons, Big Bang Theory
Jemaine Clement, Flight of the Conchords
Tony Shalhoud, Monk
Steve Carell, The Office
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Charlie Sheen, Two and a Half Men

It's almost a certainty that Alec Baldwin will win again and why not? His character in 30 Rock is hilarious. Surprisingly his toughest competition is actually newcomer Jim Parsons who has broken out as the exceedingly quirky Sheldon in Big Bang Theory. It would be a great story to see Parsons take this one on Emmy night.

Julia-Louis Dreyfus, New Adventures of Old Christine
Christina Applegate, Samantha Who?
Sarah Silverman, Sarah Silverman Program
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Toni Collette, United States of Tara
Mary-Louise Parker, Weeds

Unless the academy is tired of seeing Sarah Palin-look-alike Tina Fey on stage, she will win this hands down. The only competition I see for her would be Toni Collette or former winner, Mary-Louise Parker. But it's looking like another awesome awards night for Fey.

Kevin Dillon, Entourage
Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother
Rainn Wilson, The Office
Tracy Morgan, 30 Rock
Jack McBrayer, 30 Rock
Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men

I am almost afraid to say anything in fear of jinxing him, but this is Neil Patrick Harris' year. He's been nominated before and always lost out to Jeremy Piven who is not nominated this year. He has been popping up everywhere this year hosting award shows and having cover stories done on him. It seems most everyone is predicting him to win, which scares me. He definitely deserves it, but I would watch out for those 30 Rock actors.

Kristin Chenoweth, Pushing Daisies
Amy Poehler, Saturday Night Live
Kristin Wiig, Saturday Night Live
Jane Krakowsky, 30 Rock
Vanessa Williams, Ugly Betty
Elizabeth Perkins, Weeds

First of all, how awesome is this category? I'm pretty much having a Sophie's choice right now. They all deserve to win and I love them all to pieces. I am rooting for the two Kristins... Wiig and Chenoweth. I have a feeling one of them will win (if not Amy Poehler). Too tough!

Who are you rooting for?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Looking Forward To...

...Fall TV Edition

The fall TV season has already begun, but it's next week when a good chunk of shows premiere. So before that happens, just wanted to present my tentative schedule this year. Tentative because some of the new shows I'm interested in could be crap while some returning shows are already on my short list to cut if they don't impress me or improved from last season. Oh and of course the overlapping times! Damn my TV addiction.

*New Show

How I Met Your Mother (CBS)
Heroes (NBC)
Gossip Girl (CW)
Big Bang Theory (CBS)
Castle (ABC)

So You Think You Can Dance (FOX)
*V (ABC)

So You Think You Can Dance (FOX)
*Modern Family (ABC)
*Glee (FOX)

*FlashForward (ABC)
*Community (NBC)
Grey's Anatomy (ABC)
Fringe (FOX)
30 Rock (NBC)
Private Practice (ABC)
The Mentalist (CBS)

Dollhouse (FOX)
Ugly Betty (ABC)

Amazing Race (CBS)
Desperate Housewives (ABC)
Brothers & Sisters (ABC)

Returning Shows I'm Most Looking Forward To: How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory, Dollhouse, Amazing Race, and Brothers & Sisters.

Returning Shows In Danger of Getting Cut: Heroes, Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, The Mentalist, and to a lesser extent Ugly Betty.

US Open: The Finales and Other Tidbits

I'm back and now just catching up on stuff. First, the US Open.

The crowning of two unlikely (and yet not really unexpected) champions marked the end of the final Grand Slam of the year.

Unranked former US Open champion Kim Clijsters captured the title for only her second Grand Slam win. It had been four years since she last played at the US open and that was the year she won. She had to fight off five Top 18 players including Venus and Serena Williams in a well-earned slam win. She is the first mother since Evonne Goolagong to win a Grand Slam title. She also becomes the first wild card to win the US Open *and* the first unranked player to win a Slam. Very nice. Kudos to her opponent, first time Grand Slam finalist Caroline Wozniacki, to battle through the minefield that was the women's draw to have her breakthrough slam.

The men's champion is Juan Martin Del Potro who defeated five-time champion US Open and world no. 1 Roger Federer by coming back down 2 sets to 1 to win in five sets 3-6 7-6 4-6 7-6 6-2. He becomes only the second guy to beat Federer in a Slam final and the third guy to win a Grand Slam title since 2004 not named Federer or Rafael Nadal. Oh, and he's the first person to defeat both Federer and Nadal in the same Grand Slam tournament. What a tournament for him! Don't cry for Roger Federer though. With his final appearance, he extends his astounding streaks of 22 consecutive Grand Slam semifinals and 7 consecutive Grand Slam finals (second only to his own record of 10 Grand Slam finals). This has to be a disappointing loss nonetheless for him, but with his twin girls and twin Grand Slam wins at the French and Wimbledon this year, I bet he will be just dandy.

Other Tidbits:

- Serena Williams really screwed up didn't she? Serving to stay in the match against Clijster, Serena was called for a foot fault and went down 15-40 giving Clijsters match point. Serena then went on to threaten the line judge and got a code violation losing another point and giving Clijster the match. She was fined $10,500 and has apologized. Are you staring at her titles? Not this time.

- The Andys disappoint. With their great showing at the French and Wimbledon this year, the hype was intense for newly crowned no. 2 Andy Murray and former US Open champion Andy Roddick. Roddick lost in the third round to fellow American John Isner while Murray crashed out in the fourth round to Marin Cilic. Maybe next time boys.

- After defeating Roddick, Isner loses in the next round thereby ensuring that no American man makes it into the US Open quarterfinals for the first time. Ouch. In the meantime Serena Williams and young Melanie Oudin carried the American flag in the woman's side, both losing to the eventual finalist.

- Flushing needs a roof. After ten days of perfect weather, Mother Nature made the US Open its bitch. It wreaked havoc for the quarterfinal and semifinal matches and extended the tournament into Monday. Come on, use the profits you got from the once again record-breaking attendance to use!

- Remember last year when Serbian players were all the rage? Oh how the mighty have fallen. Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic crashed out in the very early rounds and while Novak Djokovic did well to reach the semifinals, his slam results this year leave much to be desired.

- Also, what the heck happened to the Russians? There were no Russians in the quarterfinals in the men's and women's draw! While this result isn't too shocking in the men's side, 4 of the top 7 WTA players in the world are Russians and all of them faltered including world no. 1 Dinara Safina, US Open Series winner Elena Dementieva, and former US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova. Yikes! BTW Maria Sharapova, still suffering yips on her serve, was beaten by Oudin in the third round.

- Rafael Nadal's knees are okay! His abdomen, however, not so much. Still his champion's heart carried him all the way to the semifinals losing to the eventual winner. Reminded me of Federer suffering mono but still reaching the Australian Open semifinals in 2008 losing to eventual champion Djokovic. No doubt there'll be better days ahead of Nadal. Look at Federer.

And with that we're slowly en route to the final tournaments of the year climaxing in the end-of-year tournaments. At this point not a lot of people are paying attention to the results except for hardcore tennis fans. But hey it's been a crazy year of tennis so far so what's a couple of weeks more? Looking forward to it!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Blog Hiatus

Going out of town for about a week so no postings until then. Everyone enjoy the holiday weekend, the rest of the US Open, and the beginning of the fall TV season. It's an exciting time, isn't it?

Summer 2009 Movies

Summer ends this weekend, so it's the best time to look back at the summer movies I've seen...

Star Trek (May 8) - Shockingly fun and smart with a charismatic cast. Perfect popcorn summer movie. B+

The Brothers Bloom (May 15) - Quirky storytelling with quirky dialogue said by quirky characters. I'm sort of in love. A-

Terminator Salvation (May 21) - Lacking much needed substance, but not as bad as everyone has been saying. B

Up (May 29) - It's Pixar. It made me cry several times. What else do I need to say? A

Transformers 2 (June 24) - Complete and utter waste of time and this coming from someone who liked the first film. C-

Harry Potter 6 (July 15) - One of the better installment of the series, it contained lots of heart and humor while still being oh so very depressing at times. B

500 Days of Summer (July 17) - All you need to know is it's about this incredible guy falling in love with a pretty girl who doesn't share his feelings. It's perfection. A

Julie & Julia (August 7) - Five words: Meryl Streep as Julia Child. Her performance like the movie as a whole was utterly delicious. B+

Time Traveler's Wife (August 14) - A decent adaptation of the book, but I expected to cry more. B

District 9 (August 14) - Like most I didn't know much at first and like most I was completely obsessed with it after screening. Wow. A

Taking Woodstock (August 26) - Perfect movie to see at the of summer. It was leisurely paced and completely charming. A-

So that was my summer in movies. I know there's still tons of movies I didn't catch like The Hangover and Inglorious Basterds. Anything other summer movies I should catch up on later?

US Open: Storylines So Far

Top Men Hold Form, Women Seeds Fall

With world no. 3 Rafael Nadal finishing off a scrappy Nicolas Kiefer in a tight 4-set match Friday evening, 24 of the top 32 men have made it to the third round with the top 16 still alive, the first time it has happened in a Grand Slam during the Open Era. A strong showing for the men with the top ten losing only two sets so far.

On the other hand, only half of the seeded 32 women players made it through the third round with some stunning upsets of world no. 4 Elena Dementieva and world no. 5 Jelena Jankovic, both did very well in the US Open Series leading up to the US Open.

Americans Come Alive at Home

Seeded Americans are still alive with Andy Roddick, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Sam Querrey, and James Blake headlining a strong showing of Americans at the US Open. 14 unseeded Americans made it to the second round with Taylor Dent and Melanie Oudin giving the best storylines. Dent, coming off injuries, survives a thrilling 5-set match to make it to the third round. Oudin on the other hand knocked off world no. 4 Elena Dementieva and now meets Maria Sharapova in the third round.

Can an American win this year? Serena Williams is the defending champion, but in the men's side it's been six years since an American has won when Roddick won his one and only slam title. Serena is the favorite in the women's side, but Roddick might have to get through Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, and then Andy Murray or Rafa Nadal in the final. That's a tall order even for him.

US Open Champions Playing Hard

Eight former US Open champions are still competing. The eight are Federer, Lleyton Hewitt, Roddick, Sharapova, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Kim Clijsters, and the Williams sisters. Roger Federer is set to meet Lleyton Hewitt in the next round while a blockbuster fourth-round match between Venus Williams and Kim Clijsters is set.

Speaking of Kim Clijsters, it's as if she had never retired from the game. The 2005 champion never had a chance to defend her title before she retired so she is riding a 10-match streak here. She only lost 4 games in her first and third round matches and gutted out a 3-set win against 12th seed Marion Bartoli in the second round winning 1 and 2 in the last two sets. She'll have to dig deep to beat 2-time US Open champion Venus Williams in the next round.

Finally Goodbye

Fabrice Santoro and former US Open champion Marat Safin both lost their respective first round matches signaling an end to their Grand Slam careers as they both planned on retiring at the end of the year. Indicative of their personalities, Santoro did it all with a smile on his face while Safin couldn't be bothered to give a damn in the last few sets.