Business Coach Training from Coach Institute Of Ireland

Business Coaching can be used by any type of organisation, public or private. It can be usefully applied to both individuals and teams at any level within the organisation to help both employees and the organisation grow and become more effective. While most business coaching applications until recently were in larger firms and organisations, there is increasingly a trend for smaller companies, the self-employed, and professionals to use business coaching in order to attain greater business and personal effectiveness.

Most business people who use a Business Coach do so for a mixture of some of the following reasons:

Improving Communication Skills

Understanding how the person communicates, and what skills deficiencies they may have in this area. Developing greater skillfulness in communication and increasing awareness of its impact on others in the organisation, and in one’s personal life.

Role Clarification

Getting greater clarity about one’s role. Becoming better at firming up the boundaries between what one is responsible for and awareness of the limits of one’s responsibility.

Delegating More Effectively

Learning how to delegate. Dealing with the internal blocks that cause a business person to assume over-responsibility. Learning how to help others take more responsibility for their roles.

Political Skills

Developing more awareness of self-management within the organisation's political culture.

Work/Life Balance

Achieving adequate balance between the role and one’s personal life. Having more fun and recreation.

Leadership Skills

Developing leadership abilities. Understanding the dimensions of leadership. Redressing areas of deficit.

Goal Setting

Learning how to set realistic business, career and personal goals.

Values Clarification

Getting greater awareness of what one truly values. Linking one’s goals to the values.

Confidential Support

Being able to tease out business issues with someone outside the organisation or milieu.

Career Path Development

Planning a career in keeping with one’s values and goals.

Career Dissatisfaction

Understanding the causes of this and working out an alternative future.

Newly Promoted

Help in setting goals and grounding oneself in the new role.

Improving Relationships

Having more productive relationships with colleagues. Understanding conflict and dealing more effectively with it.

Emotional Intelligence/Awareness

Becoming more self-aware. Knowing one’s feelings and reactions more deeply. Understanding the effect you have on others.

Intuition

Learning to use your gut as well as your brain in making business, personal and people decisions.

Beliefs

Learning how to let go of self-limiting beliefs and substitute ones which free you up and increase your range of choices.

Want to lead your team toward high performance? Visit Schaller International LLC for more details.






The Benefits of Positive Thinking

First of all let's understand what positive thinking is. Positive thinking only means approaching life with a positive outlook. That being said, it does not mean you have to ignore potentially harmful situations that can negatively impact your life adversely. The individuals with positive thinking do not allow negative events in their life to hold them back or prevent them from enjoying life. They take life as it comes. They don’t grumble or resort to saying poor me, poor me. They deal with life challenges with courage and maturity. They understand the futility in being negative or pessimistic. They focus on the positive aspect of life and train themselves to ignore the negativity around them. They entertain positive thoughts to help themselves experience peace of mind. They consciously replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts and refrain themselves from constantly complaining about others’ attitude or behaviors. They aren’t naïve. They do possess the courage to tell people the truth but at the same time they stay away from controversies and negative influences of others. They know that if they stand in the rain they will get soaked.

The benefits of positive thinking:

There are several other benefits of positive thinking. Positive thinking leads to positive actions. Positive thinkers are well prepared for adversities. They are fully aware of the fact that good and bad things are part and parcel of life. To them, what matters is how you look at adversities. How you tackle ups and downs in life and what you learn from your experiences. They are always open to learning and experiencing life with a positive attitude. Remember, if you practice negativity you become a negative person, and when you practice positivity you become the positive person. You have a choice whether to become a negative person or a positive person.

I know a gentleman, Mike, who stands out for his positive thinking. He has inspired many people in his life. Almost everyone seeks his company. You will never hear him talk ill of others. He never holds grudges even against those who have harmed him in one-way or the other. He is vibrant and demonstrates lots of positive energy. It seems he gets up on the right side of his bed every morning. He never allows circumstances to dictate his behavior or his moods. He is always at peace. When asked about the benefits of positive thinking, he said that it has a strong positive impact on his physical and mental health. His positive thinking helps him feel good about himself, and it boosts his self-esteem. He does not feel stressed, anxious or depressed and has no worries. It encourages him to take care of his health including exercising and eating nutritious food. His positive thinking forces him to stay away from negative people. Also, it helps him build a long lasting relationship with others and create a positive atmosphere around him.

Mike had a troubled childhood. His parents separated when he was barely 9 years old. His dad was an alcoholic. His parents fought day in and day out. Mike was scared of his dad’s temper. He became subdued and wasn’t able to make friends. He was always worried and had difficulty trusting people. Even in normal situations he would become defensive and demonstrate a negative attitude. He always imagined the worst. So how did he transform? One time, his dad brought a self-help book with him when he came home from inpatient rehab and surprisingly asked Mike to read it. Interestingly, Mike liked the book. He realized that the key to living a good life was learning to think positively. Thereafter, he worked hard to transform his outlook toward life. Mike’s transformation inspired me to encourage my patients to work on changing their negative attitude and developing a positive outlook toward life. So far the results are amazingly encouraging and fruitful.

Check Schaller International LLC for more information.






Fame Audit: Kevin Bacon

NAME” Kevin Bacon
AUDIT DATE: September 27, 2002
AGE: 44
OCCUPATION: Actor, dilettante rock star
EXPERIENCE: 6 movies and 2 soap operas since 1978

Assessment

Five or six years ago, the "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" game started to get reported as a quirky, silly story in magazines like Movieline, Time, and EW. Heck, you can still use it today to guage the actor’s links to even the newest stars like Halsey or Adam Driver. Looking back on it now, it is the kind of phenomenon that defined the early days of the internet as it became a resource in use by regular people, as opposed to scientists and engineers and such; the Kevin Bacon game was the sort of frivolous trifle people used to email to their friends in that halcyon, long-ago time before their friends' in-boxes were overrun with spam touting herbal Viagra and unsecured credit cards. The conceit of the game -- in case you were born yesterday -- is that any celebrity can be connected, in six steps or fewer, to Kevin Bacon, through his many film roles. (Though -- psst! It also works with just about anyone who was in JFK. Because everyone was in JFK. If you think back to what you were doing in the spring of 1990, I think you'll find that you were, in fact, in Dallas filming JFK. But I digress.) The Six Degrees game turned into a medium-sized blip on the pop-cultural radar, with the game's creators coming out with a book and board game based on the Bacon-centric pastime. An entire episode of the middle-of-the-road sitcom Mad About You was built around the game, ending with an appearance by Bacon, playing himself. And then, earlier this year, Visa made a TV spot to promote its check card, in which Kevin Bacon -- asked to produce ID when writing a cheque in a bookstore -- instead produces several civilians who represent the six degrees of separation between himself and the cashier.

The question is: how did Kevin Bacon get here? What is he, Wayne Newton, all riffing on himself in a damn Visa ad? I mean, it's all well and good for a celebrity to have a sense of humour about himself, but there is a time and place to display it. Go on Conan and do a "Bacon Secrets" segment; don't give even MORE attention to the dipshits who made up this stupid game about you by referencing it in a credit-card ad. IN WHICH YOU PLAY YOURSELF. That's for Donald Trump and Mr. T., not ostensibly respectable actors.

But on the other hand, by the time the Visa spots started running, Bacon hadn't starred in a movie in nearly two years -- nothing since Hollow Man (which this commentator judged the worst movie of 2000, by the way). And yeah, there was the uncredited cameo in Novocaine, and sure, he could tell anyone who'd listen that he'd spent the long hiatus making more Bacon Brothers albums or playing with his kids -- and that's all well and good, but the hard fact is that his fame field has been lying fallow. Maybe Bacon needed to do the Visa ad to remind the public that he was still alive.

Kevin Bacon's career started circling the drain quite some time ago. Other than Footloose and Diner and Apollo 13 and maybe The River Wild, it's been a while since he had anything to do with a hit movie, much less headlined one (and I would argue that, given that Tom Hanks's giant head obliterated the view of everyone else in it, Apollo 13 doesn't count). Think about it. Wild Things? Picture Perfect? Telling Lies in America?

Some of Bacon's recent film choices probably looked good on paper. Sleepers, for instance. Based on a hugely successful true-crime (or was it?) book, starring megastars like Brad Pitt and Robert De Niro, and stars of tomorrow like Billy Crudup and Ron Eldard. And yet, its box-office performance and impact on society would best be described as "blah." The Air Up There? How were we to know that audiences only like to watch benevolent white people teaching black people from backwards countries how to bobsled (as in Cool Runnings), not play basketball. Maybe audiences would have found Stir of Echoes more compelling had it not come just a few weeks after -- and shared similar subject matter with -- The Sixth Sense. Bad timing seems to have doomed his current film, Trapped, as well; because the movie's kidnapping plot line mirrors that of several real-life abductions over the past few months, Columbia cancelled the movie's ad campaign and declined to arrange publicity for any of its stars. The result: the movie landed in tenth place, with a gross of $3.2 million.

Why can't Bacon get it together? It doesn't seem to be for lack of trying. The long post-Hollow Man break notwithstanding, he's worked pretty steadily since his film début in Animal House, starring in 46 movies since then. But he just can't catch a break. And from what we can surmise about him personally -- which isn't much; his middling career success has meant that he is not, like so many other stars, oppressively overexposed -- the cause of his career flatline doesn't seem to be that he's a giant asshole. (The same could not be said, we hear, of, oh, say, I don't know, Val Kilmer.) Bacon's just amassed a list of credits that are almost good -- sufficient to get him later jobs (so he's not box-office poison; more like box-office ipecac), but not so good that he can claim a permanent place on the A-list.

Why, then, is Kevin Bacon still among us? Residual fondness for Diner? Because he and wife Kyra Sedgwick are the cutest Hollywood lookalike couple since Eric Stoltz and Bridget Fonda broke up? So that hack profile writers have an excuse to use the headline "Bacon Sizzles!"?

Whatever the reason, we've coddled Kevin Bacon long enough. It's time for him either to make a hit movie or step aside and make room for James Spader's comeback.

Assets

Liabilities

Fame Barometer

Current approximate level of fame: Alec Baldwin

Deserved approximate level of fame: Tim Daly






Cheating Partners – Why Do They Do It?

One of them cheated

Have you noticed that everyone is talking about cheating partners these days as if it was the most natural thing to cheat in relationships. The media is always awash with stories of cheating women, some husband caught cheating or some other cheating stories. It is like a daily menu without which we may all starve to death. So I ask:

"What's going on"?

Without mincing words, cheating sucks and is never worth it. I am not a moralist ( or am I?) or any such thing, but can’t anyone see that cheating partners are doing nobody any good including themselves?

Cheating girlfriends get themselves mixed up in a catalogue of lies while cheating boyfriends just look plain stupid trying to lie themselves out of a sticky situation. Meanwhile on the other side of the equation, someone is hurting inside. Badly.

It just points to the fact that Cheating partners are not very bright. Their actions are always defined by a hunger for something they already have, which is safe, stable and enduring. But somewhere in the pits of their stomachs, these cheats keep hankering for that which is meant to excite, when actually it could only destroy.

Cheats believe they are seeking excitement when actually they are courting danger.

They want something different but they actually get the same thing, only that this one ultimately leaves a bitter taste in the mouth

And so the question is, why do partners cheat?do they ever think of the consequences?

Need I go on?

Do they ever think of what they are causing their partners? Whom they probably still tell “I love you”?!! What impudence!. Do they ever think of the psychological destruction their actions could inflict on their partners

It makes me laugh when some cheating partners come and start asking for forgiveness. You know why?

THEY ARE ASKING FOR FORGIVENESS BECAUSE THEY GOT CAUGHT!

What if they weren’t caught? I bet they would have continued cheating their partners, while lying through their teeth.

But the question is, what are you gonna do when you start suspecting that something is not right? Are you one of those people who will continue playing the loyal lover, who does not want to bring down the house?

In my humble opinion, it is more painful sitting and wondering if it is “happening”, than to seek than the result of seeking clarity. I will seek clarity.

The good news is that in these days of technology, you don’t have to worry any more as you, the poor cheated soul, have the upper hand. You can discretely find out whether your partner is really cheating on you or not.

In all honesty, even though we may be suspecting our partners of cheating, nothing is more satisfying and calming that catching them at it. This will turn the cards in your favour if you get righteously angry.

If you suspect your partner of cheating on you, or if you know for certain that you are being cheated but have no proof, contact Are You Cheating and get all the proof you will ever need. This will stop the deceits in its tracks once and for all.






Ways to Succeed with Internet Dating

Want to find the love of your life with Internet dating? It's easy if you have the right photos, the best profile, and the smartest approach.

If you've become frustrated with Internet dating, take heart. Online dating sites are a great way to meet the love of your life, but you have to be smart about your approach. Here are a few tips to make your online dating experience shine.

Put Up Three to Five Awesome Photos

This is a visual society. So it should be no surprise that the first thing someone is going to notice about you is your photo. Make sure you have one really great head shot that shows your face clearly. If you don't have a recent photo, grab a friend with a digital camera and have him or her take several different photos that focus mainly on your face.

Add three or four more pictures that show you doing things you enjoy. For example, if you talked about going on vacation, post a picture from your most recent trip. If you like to bike, choose a photo with you just about to go out for a ride. Let photos help tell the story of your personality.

Change Your Perception of Internet Dating

Internet dating is a great way to meet someone special, but if you go in it with the notion that it's for losers, or people are only on it to have sex, or you won't find anyone, then you will not be successful. Internet dating gets a bad rap from people who try it and fail, but that doesn't mean you have to follow in their footsteps.

Commit to at Least Six Months on the System

If you dabble with Internet dating (joining here and there and then giving up after only a few weeks), chances are you'll be missing out on meeting some wonderfully interesting people. Daters come and go on any online dating system, so if you keep your profile up for at least six months, you have an excellent change of meeting someone special that you would not have met on your own.

Free Yourself Mentally

Dump all that old baggage that you carry around from one relationship to another. Remember that everyone you meet probably has experienced disappointment and sadness over failed relationships in the past. It doesn't mean you can't be happy with someone new. Learn the lessons from your past loves, and use them to make you stronger. Move on emotionally from the past so you can meet new people with an open heart.

Internet dating is a great way to get introduced to your ideal match. But you've got to approach it in the right way, and present the best possible image of yourself. When you put your best self out there, you will reap the rewards of a special match. Have faith in yourself and know that you deserve to find love. Then proceed with the knowledge that you will meet someone perfect for you.

Have you already found your online hubby but feel like there’s trouble in paradise? If you’re suspicious of the true intentions of your internet sweetheart, visit Are You Cheating.






What is bipolar (manic-depressive) disorder?

What is manic-depressive or bipolar disorder and what are its symptoms?

Every individual experience a change in feelings and state of mind. Sometimes we are in a very good and positive mood, staying energetic throughout the day while sometimes we feel dull, depressed, and in a very bad mood. The variations in mood are reactions to relevant situations in a life that a person encounters every day and is part of human behavior. On contrary, people who have bipolar disorder which is also manic-depressive disorder have extreme and abnormal variations in mood and do not have the ability to control it. They have depression and mania combined together which makes it difficult for them to lead a normal life.

They usually remain either without a matching rise and endure for a particular circumstance, like loss of dear one and pursue to remain even while causing factor is actually not burden anymore. The mood swings get increased in momentum which cannot be related further by external situations. Patients with bipolar disorders, experience a range of morbid mood swings which vary from manic episodes that indicate extreme joy to loss of dear ones. The mood swings vary among patients and each has individual histories and significant characteristics.

You can clearly define the symptoms or characteristics of this disorder like other diseases such as diabetes mellitus or high blood pressure, and during the course of the disorder patients run into phases or episodes of mental illness, that could reflect the complete spectrum of the human state of mind and various moods. Depression and mania indicate the tendency of mood changes, they are both related and symptoms of depression and mania are present simultaneously in patients suffering from bipolar disorder. It is referred to as mixed states, for instance, a patient under a depressed mood will also experience severe anxiety.

Bipolar disorders are actual diseases that impact not just the mood of the patient, but also their feelings and thought patterns, physical health, and their potential to cope with life. Patients who suffer from bipolar disorder are similar to people who suffer from heart disease. It is not because of their fault and also they do not have a weak personality. It is possible to treat such a disorder and it can affect anyone.

The recurring problems are variations of emotions with mood fluctuations. The disorder can also influence patients to commit suicide and it has been stated that there is a 20 times greater probability for such patients to commit suicide than the normal population. Though the appearance of bipolar disorder has been discovered by physicians more than 2000 years ago, public education is still in the initial stages.

Many patients are not aware of the disorder and do not seek the help of a psychologist or trained doctor. If you are seeking help for yourself or a loved one with bipolar disorder, visit Estadt Psychological Services to learn more about treatment options. There can be a significant improvement in the patient’s condition if they are diagnosed at right time and given proper treatment.

The common facts about Bipolar disorder (manic – depressive illness) are,

1. Bipolar disorders have an impact on society and the economy of the world.

As per a report from the World Health Organization, it is one of ten diseases that leads to the world’s most persistent disability.

2. Bipolar disorders have a great impact on life

At least twenty percent of affected people attempt suicide and 15 percent suffer death because of suicide. The mortality rate of such patients overall is two to three times higher when compared to the normal population.

3. Usually the bipolar disorders are diagnosed very late

It takes usually ten years between 1st episode of the disease and proper diagnosis after which appropriate therapy treatment is given.

The public awareness about bipolar disorder should be increased in order to minimize information gaps and to give proper treatment. The patients having bipolar disorder will have extreme mood swings; at one point they will be extremely happy and suddenly they will start feeling the emotions of complete grief and despair. Large fluctuations between gloom and euphoria, thirty times greater risk of suicide when compared to the general population – these are the conditions of patients suffering from bipolar disorder.

The connection between melancholic depression and mania was explained 2000 years ago. At present, such types of manic-depressive mood swings are generally termed as bipolar disorders where the patients feel denounced often. Patients are often overwhelmed with negative thoughts, lack self-esteem and confidence, and experience false shame and pity. Only thirty percent of patients suffering from this order seek the help of a doctor and ten percent approach a psychiatrist.






Envy

It’s really hard to fathom the thought that an exceptional filmmaker such as Barry Levinson could muster up such a drab and dunderhead comedy. In the woefully sparse and utterly generic formula-driven laugher Envy, Levinson puts a different and dour spin on shamelessly concocting what amounts to be an overlong and tedious dog poop-related joke. What’s amazing is that Levinson can convince funny farm hands Ben Stiller and Jack Black to partake in a disposable and witless romp that’s about as humorous as an inoperable bathroom at a baked beans eating contest.

Word has it that Envy was shelved for most of the year before the studio decided to release this stinker onto the big screen. Well, its cheap insistence on trying to provide bona fide Farrelly Brothers toilet humor falls by the waste side mighty quick. Despite the presence of an Oscar-winning director as skillful as Levinson (Rain Man) and former Farrelly leading men Stiller (There’s Something About Mary) and Black (Shallow Hal), Envy certainly won’t go down in film history as one of the premiere farces to wax poetics about dog excrement and fragile friendships. Hence, this nutty narrative and its pseudo-irreverent posturing is undoubtedly too simplistic and flimsy to be considered as nonsensical, naughty fun.

Welcome to the chaotic suburbanite world of Tim Dingman (Stiller) and Nick Vanderpark (Black), two best friends sharing the same street as they do their white-collar factory jobs. The buddies are pretty much defined as day and night. Tim is the sensible and realistic one of the duo. Nick, on the other hand, is a dedicated dreamer that loves swimming around in his wild and cockeyed notions. Soon, the impish Nick will realize his kooky dreams when he becomes lucky concerning one of his so-called farfetched schemes that comes into fruition.

Nick’s hatched ideas are inspired when he happens to witness a dog relieving himself. Sensing that a spray might solve the everlasting problem of lingering dog dung, Nick conjures up an invention where this particular spray can wipe away a dog’s waste into the disappearing thin air. When he asks Tim to invest some good cash into this outrageous endeavor, Tim’s skepticism understandably kicks in and wants no part of Nick’s foolishness whatsoever. However, Nick somehow pulls off the impossible and ends up getting the last laugh—his “canine crap” removal invention works and is a solid sell around the world. Soon, Nick is anointed as a celebrated billionaire courtesy of the doggie-doo doo disappearing spray product that launched him into sudden wealth and worthiness. Unfortunately for Tim, he realizes his misfortune of not jumping on his pal’s bandwagon when he had the chance. As a result, Tim’s heated jealousy for Nick’s inexplicable success is quite apparent as the contempt for his goofy friend’s flood of fortune is overflowing with inner rage and regret.

Envy certainly had the making for a resourceful off-kilter comedy that could have effectively capitalized on the brand of off-color crudeness pertaining to its taboo subject matter. However, Levinson’s stillborn direction doesn’t seem quite equipped or capable to handle such an offbeat premise that misses the mark of providing subversive and calculating chuckles. Instead, the movie hangs its clueless head on the gimmicky aspects of the animal bowel movement angle without cleverly concentrating on the dissention between torn pals drifting in different directions. Just because your film facetiously centers around dog mess doesn’t mean that the story can’t be smart or insightful in its execution. Basically, Levinson lazily supplies an endless barrage of poo-related puns and references that seemingly are shoved down the audience’s throat without any sign of letting them breathe enough to appreciate the callousness of the comedy.

Given the credible sources that are the driving force behind the staid Envy, it’s inexcusable that this vastly uneven dud is as extraneously misguided as it is due in part to the relentlessly scattershot script. Surprisingly, the energy is pared-down despite the usually potent presence of Stiller and Black being added in the mediocre mix. As the featured best buddies-turned-rivals, these talented comic actors are stuck in lackluster material that diminishes the comedic timing and credibility of their zany input. Both Stiller and Black are misplaced in a corroded comedy of errors that lives for its ode to dysfunctional doggie poop and the sidebar silliness that comes with the territory.

In a key supporting role Christopher Walken plays J-Man, a seedy barfly whose influence over Stiller’s Tim Dingman would ignite a revengeful twitch that would fuel the imagined envy toward Black’s Nick Vanderpark. Although Walken continues to be one of contemporary cinema’s favorable cynical and cunning character actors to ever grace the big screen, the ubiquitous Oscar-winning veteran is monotonously familiar as yet another kooky cad channeling the same bizarre and boisterous persona. As the highlighted spouses in the film, Debbie Dingman (Rachel Weisz) and Natalie Vanderpark (Amy Poehler) fail to register as interesting extensions of their husband’s mounting anxieties and wacky ambitious goals. Their transparent contributions are more of a vanishing act than the puff of smoke dog poop stuff that was created by Black’s on-screen alter ego.

Vanderpark (Amy Poehler) fail to register as interesting extensions of their husband’s mounting anxieties and wacky ambitious goals. Their transparent contributions are more of a vanishing act than the puff of smoke dog poop stuff that was created by Black’s on-screen alter ego.

With half-hearted dreck like this, it’s the moviegoers that will be envious about how anyone involved with this smelly manufactured production could pick up a hearty paycheck in the name of a gravely inert piece of entertainment.

Visit Hollywood Insider for more in-depth reviews on the best and worst of Hollywood cinema.






2 Fast 2 Furious

Are your engines revved up for some brainless action-packed excitement where shapely studs and curvy babes play daring racing games with the stick shift? Well, for those of you who got a charge out of 2001’s extremely popular velocity vehicle The Fast and the Furious starring the muscle-toned tandem of Vin Diesel and Paul Walker most likely will be receptive to this speedy and flashy sequel. In the hyped follow-up 2 Fast 2 Furious, the rubber senselessly burns once again. The dynamics are quite different in that high-priced monosyllabic action superstar Vin Diesel is no longer around for the jumpy joyride nor is director Rob Cohen present to helm the frenzied proceedings. Yet, the premise is pretty much in tact as it features flamboyant street outlaws and their gas-guzzling toys at naughty play. Sure, 2F2F will probably provide the surge and swagger that will generate the turbo-charged interests of the MTV crowd. And the movie’s energetic pounding soundtrack that accompanies the mayhem will indeed stimulate the urban youth sensibilities and add some roguish punch to the raucous story. Still, 2F2F ‘s rambunctious road rage schtick is one hot-rod high-wire act that is in need of some serious dramatic alignment. This is one plucky yet pointless speed demon dud that’s definitely 2 B 4-gotten.

Filmmaker John Singleton takes over the reigns this time around as he oversees the hot-wheeling happenings. Singleton, no stranger to gritty B-grade inner city fare, lets the chips fall where they may by serving up a landscape of ribaldry more palatable than the original film’s first helping. The setting is quite different in that the recklessness previously took place in the mean streets of deteriorating Los Angeles. Now, the gears are switched to the jumpy pastel-colored roadways of South Miami. Plus, instead of Cohen’s usage of the verbally-challenged Diesel to drag things down a notch, Singleton was at least savvy enough to tap the services of his Baby Boy leading man in the form of chiseled and charismatic former veejay/model/hip-hop artist Tyrese.

The one main aspect that certainly links the predecessor and this current rapid fire installment together is the continued presence of pretty boy Walker who reprises his role as disgraced LA cop Brian “Bullitt” O’Connor. True, Walker may be polished based on his physical appearance but it doesn’t take away from the fact that the bleach blonde-haired actor, despite appearing in a jolting popcorn flick drenched with bling-bling, has all the wooden qualities of a local park bench. Anyway, after Walker’s anti-hero O’Connor is sent packing from the LA-based police force thanks to his ill-advised allegiance with former racing cohort Diesel in the first film, he heads to the Southeast part of the country where the Floridian weather and women are carefree, cozy and convenient. Who knows…maybe the change of scenery will be a new start for the live action Speed Racer wannabe?

The one thing that O’Connor can claim with proud affirmation is his prowess for being the Prince of Pavement—that is, his skillful ability to handle the tricky subculture of illegal street-racing. O’Connor has an indescribable relationship with his true “object of affection” in the form of his trusty Nissan Skyline. One hasn’t seen this much attachment regarding the treatment of transportation since The Lone Ranger’s affinity for his beloved horse Silver (at least Silver can snack on some of the same foods with his human companion once in a while). It goes to show that O’Connor’s resourcefulness in the way he manipulates a high-performance vehicle will come in handy once again. Could this spell redemption for the racing rascal? Of course…what else would one expect, right?

Strapped for cash and suffering an urgent need to put the pedal to the medal, O’Connor gets busted by the Miami cops during one of his drag-racing sessions. The law enforcers have O’Connor right where they need him and proceed to set the tone for some conditions that work in their favor. The authorities will “forget” the speedmeister’s streetwise indiscretion if he promises to go undercover for them and nab the area’s menacing punk Carter Verone (Cole Hauser), the resident crime lord with a flair for kinky-style destruction. Joining O’Connor on this forced mission is former Californian friend-turned-foe Roman Pearce (Tyrese), a strapping and balding ebony hunk that reluctantly accepts the challenge from old sidekick O’Connor in agreeing to join him and become an unwilling operative. In fact, Pearce is involved in his own unlawful quandary (courtesy of his pal and current recruiter Brian O’Connor).

Together, Miami’s new crimestoppers Crockett and Tubbs, er…I mean O’Connor and Pearce (sorry, momentary Miami Vice flashback) are coerced into becoming talented drivers within the drug money trade overseen by the vicious eccentric Verone. The deputized duo must work with vivacious customs officer Monica Fuentes (Eve Mendes, Training Day) and keep in contact with her as to what’s going down in this deadly operation. Also worth mentioning is that the undercover diva Fuentes is posing as Verone’s devoted girlfriend. As if this is not enough to worry about in terms of having her cover blown should a slip up occur, the charming O’Connor decides to take a fancy liking to the sexy insider therefore complicating an already fragile working situation. And then there’s the initial question pending about Fuentes and her vague flirtation between promoting the good and being seduced by the bad. Go figure.

Singleton does supply a lyrical ludicrousness that resonates intermittingly during the action scenes, particularly when the mating of bikini-clad beauties and bombastic motor vehicles make for a provocative concoction of eye candy that works diligently on the senses. But when the “need for speed” vignettes aren’t bluntly hitting the moviegoers over the head in overwrought fashion, the dumbfounding dialogue is stunningly juvenile and atrocious. It’s too bad that screenwriters Michael Brandt and Derek Haas can only manage to haphazardly conjure up a Miami Vice-style big screen clone to go along with the other clichéd workings of a typical buddy-buddy spectacle. The prototypical clashing of the salt-pepper leads and their off-kilter personalities, numerous larger-than-life predicaments, suggestive verbal barbs being flung around like tossed salad, exaggerated action-oriented sequences that are ambitious in nature yet recycled, an overactive soundtrack trying to match the hackneyed and hysterical material being put forth—it’s all basically a super-charged stew with the familiar ingredients mixed in for a rambling sampling of taste. The problem, however, is that we’ve chewed this mindless cinematic snack countless times before.

As with the original flick the reservations that I had pertaining to Cohen’s excitable narrative definitely applies here in this aimless and stylish frenetic fable. Just why doesn’t Singleton take the time to feed into the psyche as to why these determined daredevils are drawn into this adrenalin rush of taking their four-wheeled machines to the limit? Why are they compelled to break the rules in a mainstream society that frowns upon such an ominous activity? What is the rebellious reasoning behind why these indifferent roadrunners are destined to engage in a death-defying stunt that may ultimately claim the lives of other innocent bystanders (and themselves) in the process? One wouldn’t mind the visual vitality and guilty pleasure gumption of an over-edited and stagy showcase much like the banal 2 Fast 2 Furious. But is asking for some semblance of pop psychology behind the madness of this motor oil drama too much to handle? Sure, throwaway summertime entertainment doesn’t have to be something you digest as a moral message per se and there’s nothing wrong with letting the brain cells rest when watching something so ridiculously loud and listless. When you have a capable moviemaker such as Singleton calling the shots, you’d at least expect this vacuous experiment to have some consistent marginal traces of cleverness.

There’s no doubt that 2 Fast 2 Furious will commence the audience to finger-snapping in reference to the ultra-cool music video vibe that the film sports so comfortably. Walker and Tyrese will probably capture the hormonal hunger of the female segment while the guys will relish their wild riding antics with an appreciation beyond description. While Walker has no real drive (excuse the pun) in his stiff portrayal as the fast-paced rebel Brian O’Connor, Tyrese does have a grand old time as the flippant quick-witted one of the troubled twosome. Clearly, he injects the brashness needed to keep up with the volume of the mischievous automobiles in this clueless car caper. The supporting cast is probably more noteworthy in what they bring to their roles, especially hip-hop artist-turned-support player Ludacris as the master of ceremonies who sets the stage and tone for the illegal races to take place that ends up as a profitable gig for him in the long run. Hauser is over-the-top as the obligatory flavor villain-of-the-month. Suffice to say, his cockeyed turn is passably crafty. Look for teenage knockout Devon Aoki as one of the estrogen-induced street racers. She courageously demonstrates how turning the sharp corners are not necessarily meant for only the brazen boys.

Maybe pandering to an action-starved audience by ushering out this nonsensical box office hit is an automatic plus for Singleton and he certainly couldn’t go wrong by accepting and stamping his name to a sure fire follow-up from an inexplicably successful tire track blockbuster from a couple of summers ago. The departure from thought-provoking urbanized dramas such as Boyz N the Hood and the aforementioned Baby Boy must have been a relief in terms of letting down his artistic guard in the name of instant movie receipt frivolity. Hey, if you’re looking for the gravy train then why not jump on the fashionable trend of silly souped-up gems that are all the rage and willingly mesh risqué rappers, wayward women and carousing cars as a winning formula?

Here’s hoping that a gas shortage occurs in the event that filmmakers want to look under the hood in giving consideration to green-lighting another speed bump that is possibly The Fast and the Furious 3: Where’s the Finish Line?

Can’t get enough of the gang? See what Vin DIesel is up to these days here.











The Brood Movie Review

A man tries to save his daughter as his wife undergoes experimental psychotherapy in which she gives birth to vengeful child-creatures that kill.

David Cronenberg can always be counted on to bring something a little unusual to the mix. Even for an earlier work, 1979's The Brood is not your typical horror film. It may start with a fairly slow pace, but it brings unusual creatures, psychological scars and plenty of twisted gore to make up for it.

Creepy Killers

The story revolves around a married couple, Frank and Nola, and their young daughter Candace. Nola (Samantha Eggar) is currently undergoing experimental psychotherapy, and after their daughter (Cindy Hinds) comes home from a visit with bruises, Frank (Art Hindle) threatens her doctor (Oliver Reed) that he'll revoke visits. The film is a little dated in that his threats of taking her from her mother are largely laughed off, as if a single father and a stable home are so unbelievable--certainly nothing a court would allow.

Before Frank can begin to discover what happens at the clinic, more specifically with his wife or other patients, murders begin within his extended family. What Frank cannot see is that these murders seem to correlate with the "breakthroughs" Nola enacts with her therapist. Instead, small child-like creatures begin to appear and viciously murder those Nola feels have wronged her.

Witnessing the first of these murders is their young, curiously silent daughter Candace. The oddity of her behavior throughout most of the film is one of its more peculiar and subtle charms; right through to the end; her motives (or lack thereof) remain largely unexplained. Not until Frank finally realizes what may be happening does the film reach a climactic showdown involving the bizarre creatures and Nola. Her doctor is torn between his work and the horrible reality, and the end brings some truly gory effects as Nola reveals her true self to Frank.

An Unusual Horror Film

The movie's initial pace and characters may seem standard. It's not until the killers appear that the film begins to hold real promise. The film takes a definite and refreshingly different path, however, when it allows the killer to be caught less than halfway through the film. There will be no red herrings, bad alibis or mistaken identities. It's a bold step for the film to allow these creatures to be seen and studied. It directs the horror away from the unknown 'who' and instead onto the gruesomeness of 'why'.

The Brood maintains credibility as a good horror movie. It has the creatures, stark cinematography, a great score by Howard Shore, bizarre characters and some incredibly memorable and chilling scenes. David Cronenberg films tend to be fairly distinctive; it's curious that anyone should attempt to remake one of his films (The Brood's remake, coming in 2009), but with the clamor for theatrical horror releases, nothing is surprising.

Cronenberg's films always promise to be interesting and full of style if nothing else, and this one is no exception.

More in-depth movie reviews? Go and check out Hollywood Insider.






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