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Showing posts from August, 2012

Lawless

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Lawless follows the three Bondurant brothers, who make moonshine in 1920s Virginia. It's based on the novel The Wettest County in the World, by Matt Bondurant, which in turn is based on the author's real-life grandfather. The movie combines a great soundtrack, exceptional acting performances, and an interesting story, and it ended up far exceeding my expectations.

Forrest Bondurant (Tom Hardy) is the oldest Bondurant brother, and he takes care of his brothers Jack (Shia LaBeouf) and Howard (Jason Clarke) by including them in the moonshine business. Jack figures out a way to produce even more moonshine per day, and business is good for the brothers. When a new man, Mason Wardell (Tim Tolin) comes to town, however, he brings with him a man from Chicago, Charlie Rakes (Guy Pearce), and they want the Bondurant brothers to pay them a "toll" of sorts for still being allowed to transport moonshine across the county; the brothers have always had an "arrangement" w…

Premium Rush

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Premium Rush knows its audience includes those looking for a fast summer "popcorn flick," and it definitely panders to them. That being said, it lives up to its poster slogan ("Ride Like Hell") and Joseph Gordon-Levitt delivers a strong performance throughout, even though most of the time he's weaving in and out of traffic in downtown Manhattan.

Wilee (Gordon-Levitt, 50/50) can't stand the idea of wearing a suit and working at a desk, and he loves to ride, so his job - bike messenger in New York City - is ideal for him. He's perfected dodging in and out of traffic and getting packages and envelopes where they need to be on time. When he receives an envelope at Columbia University, where he used to attend law school, he is told that it's important that it gets to Chinatown by 7pm; when a dirty cop (Michael Shannon, TV's Boardwalk Empire) starts stalking him in order to get the envelope, intercept the envelope, Wilee realizes that the envelope'…

Hit & Run

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The regular trailer for Hit & Run and the redband (rated "R") trailer almost play like two different movies. The red-band trailer focuses on something unpleasant that happened when Bradley Cooper's character was sent to jail. The trailer repeats this unfunny joke several times, and its crudeness almost deterred me from seeing the movie. The regular trailer tells the actual story, or at least a two minutes and thirty seconds synopsis of it, and previewed a decent movie. I'm glad I ended up seeing the film because it was one of the better ones I've seen this summer. I also enjoyed the Q&A session with Dax Shepard after the screening - he is as zany and pleasant in person as he was in the movie.

Charlie Bronson (Dax Shepard, TV's Parenthood) is in the Witness Protection Program, and has been living in a tiny rural town in California for the past four years. His program agent (Tom Arnold, Madea's Witness Protection) is one of his only friends there…

Bring It On: Movie vs. Musical

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Guest post by: Adam Riemer

Much like many other movies, Bring It On has become a musical and probably the dumbest thing you’ll ever love. Just like in the movie, you get to see amazing stunts and choreography, but in the musical version of Bring It On changes the story almost 100%.

Campbell, the main character, becomes the Cheer Captain of the Truman Squad. Unfortunately, she also gets redistricted and looses her title to someone else. In the movie version she stays at her school and discovers that her school has been stealing routines from an inner city school. In the musical she ends up being sent to that school and that school has no actual cheer squad. Instead they have a hip hop dance crew.

The next major difference between the movie and show is that the movie is learning about what is right and that you shouldn’t cheat. The musical is all about politics and current issues. They bring up politics, self esteem and weight issues, make jokes that will be outdated within …

ParaNorman

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In one of the opening scenes of ParaNorman, we see Norman hanging out with his grandma in his family's living room. They're having a conversation: he talks to her and she responds. Pretty normal, right? When Norman goes into the kitchen, however, his parents scold him for talking to his grandma, and say that he needs to get over her death - which means, if you didn't know already from the trailers, that Norman can talk to dead people.

Norman (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee, Let Me In) has an unusual gift. When he walks to school in the morning, he says hello to many people, but a "normal" person would just see him talking to himself, because Norman can see things that others can't: specifically, the "auras" of the deceased. When his crazy uncle, Mr. Prenderghast (voiced by John Goodman, TV's Community), suddenly passes away, his ghost tells Norman to go find a book that his corpse has and make sure that the infamous town witch doesn't come ba…

Sparkle (2012)

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Sparkle is a remake of the 1976 film of the same name, and this Detroit-filmed version is especially notable for its cast. Sparkle is the last film starring Whitney Houston, as the singer passed away after in February 2012. It's also the first film starring American Idol winner Jordin Sparks, so there's a lot of pressure for this film to succeed at the box office. Luckily, the singing in it is fantastic, and although the film is a little lengthy (about 2 hours long), it tells an interesting story.

Sparkle (Jordin Sparks) has two sisters, Sister (Carmen Ejogo, Away We Go) and Dolores (Tika Sumpter, Think Like a Man), and they are all great singers. Sister (whose real name is Tammy) is the "showman" of the three, and with the help of Stix (Derek Luke, TV's Hawthorne), their manager, they form a girl band, with Sister as the lead singer and Sparkle and Dolores on back-up. Their mother, Emma (Whitney Houston, The Bodyguard), disapproves of their singing, as she trie…

Home Run Showdown

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Home Run Showdown was filmed in metro Detroit in summer 2010, and it has some decent stars in it so I was excited to review it. They filmed it mostly in Milford, Taylor, and in Toledo, Ohio, and at the beginning of the movie Matthew Lillard's character is wearing a Groves (High School) t-shirt. The film had a red carpet premiere at Star Southfield on July 27, and Lillard was in attendance; both Lillard and Dean Cain, the other main adult star, were born in Michigan as well. Unfortunately, none of the jokes in the film turned out to be funny, and even the baseball storyline was a little convoluted as well.

Synopsis from CoveringMedia.com: Three kids, LORI, FASSI and TANKER, are desperate to get on a little league team so they can field balls for major leaguers at the Home Run Showdown -- the annual big league hitting competition. Tanker wants to get to the showdown and meet his baseball idol; Fassi just wants to play hard; and Lori wants his imprisoned dad to see him on TV. They f…

Ruby Sparks

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The screening for Ruby Sparks occurred when I was on vacation in Rhode Island (pre-BlogHer) and so I unfortunately missed it. I've loved Paul Dano since Little Miss Sunshine, however, and I still really wanted to see the film, so I went to my local movie theater this weekend to catch it while it's still on the big screen. I was not disappointed, and it's one of the better comedies I've seen lately, though it has some dark undercurrents as well.

Calvin Weir-Fields (Paul Dano, Being Flynn) is almost 30, and he's a high school dropout that published his first novel at 19, which became a megahit and made him insanely popular (and rich, too, if his current house is indicative of his success). Since then, he's published a book of short stories, but not much else. His shrink, Dr. Rosenthal (Elliot Gould, Contagion) encourages him to write about a girl he's been dreaming about, even if it's only a page long. Calvin's dreams about this girl become more and…

BlogHer 2012, Part IV: Time to say goodbye

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On Sunday, my roommates and I all had tickets to the Blogalicious brunch. I wasn't sure what to expect but the food was great and the speaker, Demetria Lucas (@abelleinbk), was as well. I was thinking of hitting up a local Crumbs Bake Shop that day too but one of my roommates was still packing up all her swag (we started calling her Swag Mommy - I'm still surprised she was able to fit it all into 3 bags!), so I decided to go to a cupcake meetup at a farther-away Crumbs that Hanan (Lilac City Momma) had put together. Because the event had been moved at the last minute and wasn't within walking distance (and because it was the last day and people tend to forget/be too tired to come to these types of things then), it was a bit of a washout, BUT the nice people at Crumbs gave me some gift bags to take back to the Hilton, not to mention a RIDE back as well! I met a few bloggers in the lobby who were overjoyed to get some free cupcakes, and made some new friends in the process, …

BlogHer 2012, Part III: Worth it to sit on the floor?

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By now you are probably wondering something like, "Okay, so she went to all these parties and saw some celebs and had some drinks - but did she actually attend any sessions?" The answer is yes, but I wish I had attended more. On Saturday after breakfast I was planning to attend Advanced SEO for Bloggers, and then Google Analytics directly afterwards. Unfortunately, I took advantage of the 15-minute break between sessions, and when I got back there were NO seats open for the Analytics session. I sat on the hard floor for a little while and then left, because BlogHer tapes all the sessions; but I was disappointed because Google Analytics is something I really wanted to learn about.

I then headed out to Ruth's Chris restaurant for the Glamorous Luncheon, hosted by Shannon (Glamorous Moms). The venue, the food, and the company were perfect, and I had a great time. I sat at a table with Amy, another Michigander, as well as Vanessa, The Queen of Swag (who was also Hanan's r…

The Campaign

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With two popular comedians headlining The Campaign and a hilarious trailer, it looked like it was going to be a funny movie. Luckily, the film didn't disappoint, even though the final third of the movie wasn't as funny as the beginning.

Cam Brady (Will Ferrell, Everything Must Go) is comfortably running unopposed for his seat as North Carolina congressman, until two prominent businessmen, the Motch brothers (John Lithgow and Dan Aykroyd), decide they want a politican they can easily control. They convince Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis, The Hangover Part II), whose father was a politician, to run against Brady. The Motch brothers have big plans for the district, and they think that Huggins will let them have their way. Cam Brady is not used to having competition, and he decides to give it his all in order to beat Huggins, a strange man with a strange family, so that he can maintain his place in Congress.

The Bourne Legacy

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We were previously introduced to Jason Bourne, played by Matt Damon, in 2002's The Bourne Identity, 2004's Bourne Supremacy, and 2007's Bourne Ultimatum. While the third movie closed the trilogy effectively, for some reason the studios have decided to reboot with a new Bourne here. Jeremy Renner plays the new anti-hero, with the idea that Jason Bourne wasn't the only trained "superagent" out there. Unfortunately, not even Jeremy Renner can save this film, as it's confusing, muddled, and drags for the first half-hour.

The movie starts out very slowly and doesn't really explain much. We see Aaron Cross (Renner, The Avengers) trying to survive in the Alaskan wilderness by warding off wolves, and for a second I thought I was watching 2011's The Grey. The stories flip back and forth between this and the CIA trying to institute a major cover-up of some of their old programs, some of which involved Jason Bourne. Cross meets another agent and narrowly e…

Taking a ride on the #payitforwardexpress

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On my second full day in NYC, as I mentioned in BlogHer Part I, I took a boat ride with Hanan (Lilac City Momma). We had both received tickets to the #payitforwardexpress by tweeting good deeds that we had done, and there were about 60 bloggers chosen to participate. The #payitforwardexpress was sponsored by fellow BlogHer attendees Madame Deals Media and Mommy Needs Her Coffee.

We were able to choose from four bus trips on Gray Line New York or a 90-minute boat cruise on CitySightseeing New York Cruise. A few of the bus trips were "hop-on, hop-off," but I LOVE boat rides, and the 90-minute time appealed more to me as well. It was about 90 degrees that day in New York but once the boat pulled away from the harbor we were able to experience some cool breezes, and it was nice to see all of the NYC attractions that I might not have been able to walk/cab/get to otherwise.

The ride was called the Midtown Cruise and we rode by the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, 1 World Trade…

BlogHer 2012, Part II: Bloggers everywhere!

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When we last left off, I was sleeping ... and not wanting to get up at 7am because I hate getting up early. For the first full day of BlogHer, I had the choice of going to the Newbie Breakfast or the general one, but my roommates and I decided to go to the newbie one, though I didn't really learn anything about the conference there that I didn't already know. After that, I wanted to check out the expo - or the three expos, I should say - and make it back in time for the Martha Stewart keynote lunch.

After that, I took part in the StumbleUpon walk, which left from the Hilton and was a walking tour of NYC. It was nice to get out of the hotel for a little bit, and we walked to Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick's Cathedral, and other area landmarks. I'm a big fan of StumbleUpon and it was great to have a chance to connect with fellow bloggers. I ended up meeting Lori from Atlanta (My Life Unexpected) and her roommate Anna, from NYC, and I saw them again at breakfast the next …

BlogHer 2012, Part I: The calm before the storm

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I officially bought my ticket for BlogHer 2012 in June or July, I believe, but I had booked my hotel back in February to get the conference rate, at the Hilton New York. I took a little mini vacation to Rhode Island before the conference to visit family there, and it was very relaxing - which was good because I rarely had time to rest during BlogHer!

On August 1, I took Amtrak from Providence to Penn Station, where I met Suzanne from Bebehblog once she got on the train at the Mystic, CT stop. She and I were both in one of the Facebook groups comprised of people going to the conference, and we had planned to meet up on the train beforehand. I had brought my Kindle Fire and a book to read but I didn't even take them out of my purse, because we talked for the whole 3 hours or so about BlogHer - this was her second or third time going - and about blogging and New York.

We finally arrived to Penn Station, and waited in the cab line - in the drizzling rain, though both of us had the fore…

The Odd Life of Timothy Green

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I was invited to Disney's offsite event for The Odd Life of Timothy Green when I was in New York during BlogHer, and I was excited to attend since I had heard such great things about their events - last year they screened The Help to a packed audience in San Diego. We were treated to complimentary popcorn and soda at the theater, and I also attended the afterparty at Yotel, nearby the theater, where we got bags filled with goodies like green socks, fairy wings (in honor of their new Tinkerbell movie), and a notepad with a cover that contained seeds in it and can be planted.

The movie itself was very "Disney," which usually means that although it has a lot of morals and lessons in it, the story is sound and it's a good movie for families to see. Jim and Cindy Green (Joel Edgerton, Warrior, and Jennifer Garner, Arthur) desperately want to have a child, but are unable to conceive. They finally give up, and they write down all the qualities they would have liked their s…