Sunday, November 25, 2007

men in black

Tens of thousands of Santa's little helpers woke up at the crack of dawn to get the deals.

It's easy to spot the super shoppers, the deals and the shortest lines, but there are some very important people at the mall who are easily overlooked each black Friday.

You'll find them leaning against walls, sitting on benches and just trying to stay awake.

For about 20 years, Fred Arthur and his son-in-law, Jim Hunt, have used black Friday to catch up. Amid the hustle, the bustle and the sales, these two men use black Friday to bond and, of course, hold shopping bags.

Some men read, others stare and some try not to fall asleep, but this is a tradition tried and true. This year, four generations of Arthurs are shopping. While these two enjoy the others company, because in the end it's not about the deals, it's just about being with each other.

The Arthurs say this is pretty much the only time of the year they are able to get together so they make the most of it.

They do refuel with an afternoon cup
Some startling statistics reveal how Graham Henry's controversial reconditioning and rotation policies left his All Blacks squad severely under-done for the rigours of a World Cup.

The starting XV who lost their quarterfinal to France averaged just over 12 games each for the entire year.

Henry decided to go down a different track to the previous four failed cup campaigns and produced a programme where emphasis was placed on keeping players fit and fresh rather than wearing them out on the playing field.

But a combination of keeping the bulk of his players out of the first half of the Super 14, constantly rotating them through the year's tests by selecting others who had little action through injury (Greg Somerville, Conrad Smith, Mils Muliaina, Ali Williams and Keith Robinson) meant Henry ended up with a squad severely short on match-hardening.

That became apparent as they failed to overcome the physical French side on their first serious examination at the cup and suffered the embarrassment of New Zealand's earliest exit at the tournament.

There were mumblings by several leading players over both the reconditioning and rotation policies but, as the World Cup washup continues, they are policies that Henry has failed to back away from.

His staunch stance on these strategies will have been a contributing factor to his need to reapply for his position, a decision he must make by today's New Zealand Rugby Union deadline.

In contrast to Henry's approach, England's World Cup-winning captain Martin Johnson played a staggering 42 games in the 12 months before he lifted the Webb Ellis Trophy in 2003.

The severity of Henry's radical approach is proven by a comprehensive breakdown of playing time for the 30 world cup players in 2007 - up to and including the tournament - in the latest issue of leading magazine NZ Rugby World.

It's an indictment on the system when game time for a workaholic player like Jerry Collins is 1011 minutes - the equivalent of less than 13 games of rugby.

That placed him as the 18th- busiest All Black in 2007. Now he has been playing for the Barnstaple Second XV in the south of England to help prepare himself for his next international assignment when he dons the famous Barbarians jersey against the Springboks at Twickenham next weekend.

But there are some even more damning figures. First-choice halfback Byron Kelleher played the equivalent of just 8.5 games this year before heading off to his lucrative French club deal.

Senior hooker Anton Oliver played the equivalent of just 10.6 matches.

Injuries and troubled Super 14 selections contributed to seriously restrict Joe Rokocoko, whose time on the paddock panned out to be 10.2 matches while his Blues team-mate Ali Williams was left with 591 minutes of rugby - 7.3 matches.

Naturally the players left out of the reconditioning programme headed the timesheets as they busied themselves with their Super 14 franchises early in the year.

Ironically the busiest player this season was Doug Howlett who packed in 1720 minutes - the equivalent of 21.5 matches.

Yet, despite having the match- play behind him and being the form wing - and that included claiming the All Blacks' test try-scoring record - he was mystifyingly left out of the World Cup quarter-final and watched the horror unfold from the Millennium Stadium grandstands in Cardiff.

Skipper Richie McCaw had a busy season despite being reconditioned. He started in 17 matches, played in 19 and got in 1288 minutes of action.

But clearly there was some easy money earned this year in terms of onfield action.

Based on their total playing times in 2007 here are how many equivalent 80-minute games the 30-man World Cup squad produced individually:

Doug Howlett 21.5, Isaia Toeava 19.2, Neemia Tialata 18.4, Richie McCaw 16.1, Tony Woodcock 14.9, Carl Hayman 14.8, Luke McAlister 14.7, Sitiveni Sivivatu 14.6, Rodney So'oialo 14.5, Andy Ellis 13.9, Dan Carter 13.7, Sione Lauaki 13.7, Chris Masoe 13.6, Nick Evans 13.5, Leon MacDonald 13.4, Brendon Leonard 13, Aaron Mauger 12.7, Jerry Collins 12.6, Reuben Thorne 12, Chris Jack 11.9, Conrad Smith 11.2, Anton Oliver 10.6, Keith Robinson 10.5, Joe Rokocoko 10.2
Men in Black (film)
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Men in Black

Men in Black movie poster
Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld
Produced by Steven Spielberg
Laurie MacDonald
Walter F. Parkes
Written by Comic Book:
Lowell Cunningham
Screenplay & Story:
Ed Solomon
Starring Tommy Lee Jones
Will Smith
Linda Fiorentino
Vincent D'Onofrio
Rip Torn
Music by Danny Elfman
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date(s) July 2, 1997
Running time 98 min.
Language English
Budget $90,000,000 (estimated)
Followed by Men in Black II
IMDb profile
Men in Black is a 1997 science fiction comedy action film directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, starring Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith and Vincent D'Onofrio. The film was based on the comic book series The Men in Black by Lowell Cunningham, originally published by Aircel Comics. The film featured the creature animation of Rick Baker. The movie was a hit, grossing over USD$250 million in the United States and over $589 million worldwide. It was followed by a sequel, Men in Black II, in 2002.

1 Plot
2 Cast
3 Production
4 Soundtrack
4.1 Track listing: Original score
4.2 Track listing: Album
5 Promotion
6 Reception
7 References
8 External links

[edit] Plot
The MIB, a top-secret agency that polices, monitors and directs alien activity on Earth, has established the Earth as an apolitical "neutral zone". MIB agents have no identity or any public record of existence, and the MIB agency answers to no government. The funding for their agency comes from the patents they own on technology confiscated from aliens, such as velcro, microwave ovens, and liposuction. Any memory of MIB activity upon "mustering out" of the MIB is erased and a new identity is created for the departing agent. Into this strange world is ushered the initially skeptical James Edwards (Will Smith), an NYPD officer, as he becomes Agent J, one of the newest MIB personnel. Tommy Lee Jones plays K, a senior MIB agent who recruits and guides J as he learns the ropes.

MIB agents wear sunglasses and dark suits, and appear at UFO landing sites, similar to paranormal reports of real-world Men in Black. Instead of intimidating or threatening witnesses, the MIB use devices known as Neuralizers to wipe their memories and suggest more mundane causes to the encounter (to the amazement of Agent J, such explanations are uniformly and horribly bland). Neuralizers are typically the size and shape of an oversized pen (although a giant version is seen in the second movie, hidden in the Statue of Liberty's torch), and can be set to erase memories as far back as several decades. Neuralizers are also used on agents who leave the organization for any reason. The MIB's sunglasses protect them from the effects of the Neuralizer.

The main conflict of the film is as follows: A Bug (member of an alien species that similar in many ways to a very large cockroach) is trying to steal a tiny galaxy, which is later revealed to be secretly contained in an ornament hanging from the neck of Orion, a cat who belongs to a member of the royal family of another planet. The government of this planet, Arquil, is willing to have the Earth destroyed rather than let this galaxy fall into the hands of the Bugs. During their mission, the agents investigate a morgue where they meet Dr. Laurel Weaver (Linda Fiorentino), a cynical, dryly funny deputy medical examiner. Eventually, the Galaxy is recovered, the Bug is exterminated, and K asks J to erase his memory so that he can retire. Dr. Weaver then becomes J's new partner, L.

In the final scene of the film the camera pulls back into the sky and continues to pull-back through space past our solar system, past millions of stars, ultimately revealing that our galaxy is contained within a circular container resembling a marble. The container is then picked up by an alien hand which throws it, hitting another 'marble' which also contains a galaxy. Both marbles are then picked up by the hand and placed into a bag full of galaxy-containing marbles. This ending suggests that our entire galaxy exists in an alien child's toy - similar to the way the alien galaxy the agents were attempting to recover was contained in the cat's necklace.

[edit] Cast
Tommy Lee Jones as Kevin Brown/Agent K
Will Smith as James Edwards /Agent J
Linda Fiorentino as Dr. Laurel Weaver / Agent L
Vincent D'Onofrio as Edgar / The Bug
Rip Torn as Chief Zed
Tony Shalhoub as Jack Jeebs
Siobhan Fallon as Beatrice
Mike Nussbaum as Gentle Rosenburg, Arquillian Jeweler
Jon Gries as Van driver
Sergio Calderón as Jose
Carel Struycken as Arquillian
Fredric Lehne as INS agent Janus
Richard Hamilton as Agent D
Kent Faulcon as 2nd Lt. Jake Jensen
John Alexander as Mikey
Keith Campbell as Perp
Ken Thorley as Zap-Em Exterminator
Patrick Breen as Reggie Redgick
Becky Ann Baker as Mrs. Redgick
Sean Whalen as Passport Officer
Harsh Nayyar as Manny
Michael Willis as Cop in Morgue
Willie C. Carpenter as Police Inspector
Peter Linari as Tow Truck Driver
David Cross as Newton the Morgue Attendant
Charles C. Stevenson, Jr. as Agent B

[edit] Production
The film is based upon the comic book The Men in Black by Lowell Cunningham. Initially director Les Mayfield was attached, and Chris O'Donnell was cast as J. However, he left as he found the character, a newly inducted member of the Men in Black, too similar to Dick Grayson, who he played in Batman Forever and Batman and Robin.[1]

Rick Baker led the special effects of the film, which was the most complex in his career to date. He had to have approval from both director Barry Sonnenfield and executive producer Steven Spielberg: "It was like, 'Steven likes the head on this one and Barry really likes the body on this one, so why don't you do a mix and match?' And I'd say, because it wouldn't make any sense." Sonnenfield also changed a lot of the film's aesthetic during pre-production: "I started out saying aliens shouldn't be what humans perceive them to be. Why do they need eyes? So Rick did these great designs, and I'd say, 'That's great ― but how do we know where he's looking?' I ended up where everyone else did, only I took three months." During filming, a puppet of the Edgar Bug was rendered useless, when the film's climax was rewritten and required the alien to be computer-generated.[2


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