Showing posts from September, 2013

GIVEAWAY: 2 Family 4-packs for Disney on Ice (Detroit area), ends 10/7

It's that time of year again, and Disney on Ice is returning to the Palace of Auburn Hills! I was able to attend the show this past March and it was a fun time. This October, Disney on Ice will present 100 Years of Magic, and I have both a giveaway and also discount codes to share with you.

First, a bit about the show:
Join the celebration as more than 60 of Disney’s unforgettable characters from 18 beloved stories come to life in Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic! You’ll be captivated by the one and only Mickey Mouse, the irresistible Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck, Jiminy Cricket, Pinocchio and many Disney Princesses. Be thrilled by exciting moments from The Lion King; Mulan; and Disney/Pixar’s Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, and Toy Story films; in a skating spectacular filled with magical Disney moments you’ll remember forever as Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic!

You can purchase tickets for a GREAT price of $20 each by using the code MOM80 on Ticketmast…

Movie Review: Enough Said

The plot of Enough Said immediately reminded me of the 2005 movie Prime, where Uma Thurman, a therapist, is dating a younger man, and soon learns that he's the son of one of her patients - yet she doesn't tell the patient this right away. In this film, Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays a masseuse who later finds out that the ex-husband of one of her clients is the man she's currently dating (James Gandolfini), but she's so curious for gossip and information about him that she doesn't tell her client this at first either. Enough Said has a lot of heart, however, and it's also a bittersweet movie, since I believe this was James Gandolfini's last performance before he passed away this year.

Eva (Louis-Dreyfus) is divorced and has a daughter who is leaving for college in the fall. She goes to a party with her friends Sarah and Will (Toni Collette and Ben Falcone) and she meets two interesting people there, at separate times: Marianne (Catherine Keener), who is interes…

Movie Review: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

The first Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs came to theaters in 2009, and was based on the children's book of the same name. I did see it in the theater and I remember liking it a lot - it was a kids movie yet geared towards adults as well, and highly humorous. The second CWACOMB, however, is unfortunately not quite as funny, and although there's definitely cuteness and some humor sprinkled throughout, it garnered chuckles rather than all-out laughs.

The second movie starts off eight minutes after the first leaves off (so we're told). Flint Lockwood (voiced by Bill Hader), his dad (James Caan), and his girlfriend Sam Sparks (Anna Faris) leave Swallow Falls once the mutated food started to take over the island, and they relocate to San Franjose, California, where Flint has been invited to work for Live Corp., a company run by his idol Chester V (Will Forte). Flint is very excited about this opportunity, but when he doesn't get picked to be one of Chester V's top sc…

Movie Review: Don Jon

I had heard both scathing and positive reviews about Don Jon from my fellow moviegoers before seeing it. I will say that because of these, though, I was prepared for all of the (short) porn clips that were showed, and I was able to look past these and enjoy the story - and if you can do that, you too will enjoy Don Jon, as it showcases Joseph Gordon-Levitt as his finest.

Jon (Gordon-Levitt) is called Don Jon by his friends, because every weekend he goes home from the club with a different lady. His real passion, however, is porn, because, as he explains, you can "lose yourself" in it. When Jon meets Barbara (Scarlett Johansson) one night at the club, and she rejects him, he finds her on Facebook, and invites her out to lunch; soon, they're a couple, but when Barbara catches Jon in the midst of his porn addiction one night, she's disgusted. He lies and says he rarely looks at porn, and she believes him; from then on, he he has to keep his late-night adventures a sec…

Movie Review: Rush

Ron Howard's newest, Rush, is aptly named - it goes from 0 to 100 and the pace doesn't let up until the end of the film. If you've never heard of Daniel Brühl, too, you're going to be familiar with him soon, as he's in this and The Fifth Estate, coming to theaters in October, and he did a fantastic job in this movie.

Rush is based on the true rivalry of James Hunt and Niki Lauda, Formula One race car drivers that started out in Formula Three (a lower class) together and eventually moved up. They meet at a race where James beats Niki, and Niki instantly dislikes him: he's too pretty, too cocky, and also - maybe - too good. Years later, they meet again in Formula One racing, and the rivalry continues, with Niki beating James and then James beating Niki. After a severe accident lands Niki in the hospital, James continues to win races, but about forty days later, Niki is back on the track, with the intent of beating James to reclaim his title of World Champion.

Movie Review: Baggage Claim

Baggage Claim started out way too "cutesy" and cliched for my taste, but by the end of the film, it had redeemed itself somewhat with a few funny lines here and there. I will say that the concept of finding exes that were flying and then making sure you are on that flight, to run into them, was rather interesting, but it's a good thing that the main character was a flight attendant (hence the film name), or else those costs would have added up quickly.

Flight attendant Montana Moore (Paula Patton) is bummed: her sister just announced that she's engaged, at the ripe age of 20 or so, and Montana is almost 30 and currently has no prospects for marriage. Her mother (Jenifer Lewis) has frequently told her that if you're not married by 30, you're practically an old maid, and Montana needs to find a date for her sister's wedding. Her friends Gail (Jill Scott) and Sam (Adam Brody), both flight attendants too, come up with an idea: they'll let her know if any …

Interview: Kat Coiro, director of And While We Were Here

Kat Coiro is the director of And While We Were Here, which I recently reviewed, and her films have played at festivals worldwide, including Tribeca, the Los Angeles Film Festival, and Cannes. She attended Carnegie Mellon University and the Moscow Art Theater for history and directing. Coiro was also accepted as a fellow at the American Film Institute Conservatory before she left to pursue a professional career in film and television.
Her most recent feature, A Case of You, starring Justin Long, Evan Rachel Wood, Vince Vaughn, Sam Rockwell, Peter Dinklage is being distributed by IFC.

Q: How did you get into making movies? Was it something you wanted to do from an early age? 

A: I always wanted to be a director. I started studying very early, at the high school level by attending Interlochen Arts Academy in Northern Michigan. From there I went on to the conservatory at Carnegie Mellon University and to The Moscow Art Theater. I moved to New York and got a job doing commercial casting, …

GIVEAWAY: Growing Up Online Free eBook & The Lorax on Blu-ray, ends 10/1

Check out the information below about The More You Know series, and see how you can win The Lorax on Blu-ray!

Many of us have heard about or experienced “cyber-bullying.” We know the pain it can create. Far too often have we heard the stories of children being cyber-bullied who don’t know what to do or where to turn.

The More You Know Learning Series, in collaboration with NBC News, addresses this new and dangerous trend, in addition to other online issues, with the launch of Growing Up Online, the FREE eBook for parents to keep their kids safe on the Internet! You and your family can now be prepared, clued-up and openly communicative about online issues big or small!

Our kids have never known a world without the Internet. They’re spending more and more time on the web, so teaching them about using technology responsibly and safely is critical. Use the #GrowingUpOnline Blog App and download the free eBook for a chance to win a copy of THE LORAX on DVD & Blu-ray!

This free eBook pr…

TICKET GIVEAWAY: The Broken Circle Breakdown, 10/1, Maple Theater (Detroit area) - 5 pairs

The Gathr film series giveaways continue this week, with The Broken Circle Breakdown. The film will be playing on Tuesday, October 1st, at 7:30pm at the Maple Theater (Bloomfield Hills, MI).

Film synopsis:
THE BROKEN CIRCLE BREAKDOWN is Dutch director Felix Van Groeningen’s cinematic ‘Blue Grass’ ballad of love, loss and life. An intense melodrama filled with music and passion, THE BROKEN CIRCLE BREAKDOWN tells the love story between Elise and Didier. She has her own tattoo shop, he plays the banjo in a band. It is love at first sight, in spite of major differences. He talks, she listens. He is a dedicated atheist, although at the same time a naïve romantic. She has a cross tattooed in her neck, even though she has both feet firmly on the ground. Their happiness is complete after their little girl Maybelle is born. Unfortunately, Maybelle, at six years old, becomes seriously ill. Didier and Elise respond in very different ways. But Maybelle does not leave them any choice. Didier and El…

Review and Giveaway: Nature's Sleep memory foam slippers, ends 10/6

*Disclosure: I received a pair of Nature's Sleep slippers to facilitate this review. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own. 

I'll be honest with you: movies don't relate to slippers at all. However, when I get home each day - whether it be from work, hanging out with friends, or seeing a movie screening - one of the first things I like to do is to slip on a pair of PJs and a comfy pair of slippers in which to pad around my apartment. Michigan's not exactly toasty in the winter, either, and a nice pair of slippers can make all the difference as to whether your feet are freezing or warm for the rest of the night.

Nature's Sleep makes a variety of products, from mattresses, to pillows, to slippers, and I was selected to try out their slippers. I'm very particular when it comes to slippers, actually - I hate ones that are "open" near the top, and I also dislike ones that are more flip flop-style rather than ones in which you can just stick your …

Movie Review: Prisoners

I think I had seen more trailers for Prisoners than any other movie about to be released in theaters, so I was pretty sure I knew what the movie was about. However, the film will surprise you by the lengths that parents will go to save their children - including torturing a suspected abductor - and the scenarios presented in the movie were interesting to think about.

Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) and Franklin Birch (Terrence Howard) have families that live down the street from each other, and on Thanksgiving, the Dover family goes over to the Birch family house for dinner. The two children of the families, Joy and Anna, ask if they can go back to the Dover house to try and find Anna's whistle, and Keller says yes, as long as they take Anna's older brother with them. The children never do, and go outside on their own; it's later that the tow families realize that they're missing. The brother, Ralph (Dylan Minnette), remembers that there was an old RV parked in front of a …

DVD Review and Giveaway: Camp

As you've probably discerned from some of my other DVD reviews here (and book reviews, on my book blog, too) I'm not an avid watcher of Christian cinema - that is, films that have a blatant Christian message. I'm fine with movies having morals or even mentioning God, but I don't like films that constantly push their message over and over.

I actually didn't know Camp was a Christian-oriented film before I watched it, but in my opinion, it's an example of the genre done right: there are religious themes but not "in your face," and they actually fit in the context of the movie, as well.

The film is about Eli, whose mother is a drug addict and whose father is rarely at home, but he always makes his presence known when he is. When we first meet Eli, his father has just physically abused him, and he's on his way to the hospital. Soon after that, it's inferred that he was placed in a youth home, and the director of a summer camp, Tammie (Grace Johns…

TICKET GIVEAWAY: Operation E, 9/24, Maple Theater (Detroit area) - 5 pairs

*PLEASE NOTE: Due to international delivery issues, Gathr has switched the film from Operation E to José and Pilar. See below for new film synopsis.

The Gathr film series giveaways continue this week, with José and Pilar. The film will be playing on Tuesday, September 24th, at 7:30pm at the Maple Theater (Bloomfield Hills, MI).

Film synopsis:
José and Pilar, a documentary by Miguel Gonçalves Mendes, is a deeply moving story about love, loss and literature. It follows the days of José Saramago, the Nobel-laureate Portuguese novelist, and his wife, Pilar del Rio. The film shows their whirlwind life of international travel, his passion for completing his masterpiece, "The Elephant's Journey" and how their love quietly sustains them throughout. "Jose and Pilar" reveals the hidden Saramago, unravels any preconceived notions about him, and proves that genius and simplicity are indeed compatible. It is a funny and touching portrait on the endurance of the artistic spir…

Review and Calendar GIVEAWAY: Austenland

The novel Austenland came out in 2007, and I didn't initially recognize the connection to the new movie coming to theaters with the same title. I had the privilege of being able to go to a very early screening of the film when I was at the BlogHer conference in Chicago in July, and although we viewed the movie on a tiny screen in a room at the Sheraton (the host hotel), it didn't matter, because the movie was so funny that it had us all cracking up throughout its entire runtime.

Jane Hayes (Keri Russell) is obsessed with Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. More than obsessed, really - she has Darcy trinkets and knickknacks all throughout her house, and even a life-size cardboard cutout of him in her bedroom, which one of her boyfriends angrily punches as he leaves her house after she ignores him one night. Jane decides to pool her life savings and reserve a spot for herself at Austenland, a Jane Austen camp of sorts where the participants immerse themselves in the Regency era…

The Family

Robert De Niro is great in almost every movie he's in, so I was looking forward to seeing The Family. I also like Michelle Pfeiffer, and wanted to see how the two of them got along chemistry-wise. Although The Family had its moments, overall it's more suited to a matinee, and it ran a lot slower than I thought it would as well.

Gio Manzoni (De Niro) and his family are in the Witness Protection Program and have been relocated all over France, due to their big mouths and inability to stay out of trouble. Their newest location is Normandy, where they try to fit in ... but as usual, they have some issues. Gio stays at home and tries to write his memoirs, although the FBI agent on his case (Tommy Lee Jones) highly discourages him from doing so in case the book falls into the wrong hands. His wife, Maggie (Pfeiffer), gets laughed at in a store, so she burns it down. His daughter, Belle (Dianna Agron), may look sweet, but will not hesitate to bash your face in if you steal her pink …

And While We Were Here

The film And While We Were Here was released at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival in black and white, but was shot in color, and ultimately will be released in color. The director, Kat Coiro, details her decision to release it in color in this article, and it's a compelling read. The version I saw of it was in color, and I loved the lush colors of Italy shown throughout; however, I think it would have been interesting to see it in black and white.

Jane (Kate Bosworth) and her husband Leonard (Iddo Goldberg) are in Italy for two weeks for his job - he's a violist in an orchestra that's playing concerts there. Jane has a project she's working on, too: she recorded her grandmother talking about WWII, and is eventually going to use the interviews for a book. She then meets Caleb (Jamie Blackley), however, a 19-year-old carefree boy for whom she ends up falling for; it doesn't help that Leonard keeps a distance from her as well. Soon, however, she must choose between Leon…

Approaching Midnight

Approaching Midnight stars Sam Logan Khaleghi, a West Bloomfield High School alum, who also wrote and directed the film. Khaleghi is also a graduate of the University of Michigan, and most of the movie was shot here in Michigan. The movie premiered at the various Emagine theaters last week, and this week, starting Friday, September 1th, it moves to Grand Rapids' Celebration Cinemas and theaters in Jackson, MI; on the 20th, it opens at Cobb Theaters in Clearwater and Tampa, Florida, and on the 27th it opens in Chicago at the Wilmette Theater.

The film follows Staff Sergeant Wesley Kent (Khaleghi) as he returns home from war, and finds that his girlfriend Aspen (Jana Kramer) has died in a car accident. He's also still devastated from the death of his longtime buddy, Corporal AJ Culpepper (Brandon T. Jackson, shown in photos/home videos only), and has to bring his effects to AJ's widow and daughter. Kent starts to think that maybe Aspen's car accident is being covered up …

TICKET GIVEAWAY: Zero Charisma, 9/17, Maple Theater (Detroit area) - 5 pairs

The Gathr film series giveaways continue this week, with Zero Charisma. The film will be playing on Tuesday, September 17th, at 7:30pm at the Maple Theater (Bloomfield Hills, MI).

Film synopsis:
As the strict Game Master of a fantasy role-playing game, Scott (Sam Eidson) leads his friends in a weekly quest through mysterious lands from the safety of his grandmother’s kitchen. But his mastery of his own domain starts to slip — along with everything else in his life — when neo-nerd hipster Miles (Garrett Graham) joins the game, winning over the group with his confident charm and dethroning Scott with an unexpected coup. Caught in delusions of grandeur, Scott must roll the dice and risk everything to expose Miles as the fraud he believes him to be. A darkly comedic fable of epic proportions, Zero Charisma is an ode to nerds from every realm.

Enter via the Rafflecopter form below. The ticket giveaway will end this Sunday, September 15th at 11:59pm EST, and winners will be notified …

A Single Shot

I was able to see A Single Shot at a Gathr preview, at the Maple Theater, and I was excited to see it because Sam Rockwell was fantastic earlier this year in The Way, Way Back. However, this film was slow-moving and noir-ish - actually almost Hitchcock-esque - and it proved to be a little too slow for my taste.

John Moon (Rockwell) lives by himself in a trailer in a wooded area of town. He likes to hunt, and one day he realizes, to his horror, that he has shot a human instead of the deer at which he was aiming. He hides the woman's body under a tarp, but realizes there was is a large sum of money in a paper bag next to the woman. John decides to give some of the money to his estranged wife, for her and her son, but he doesn't realize other people know he has the money, including town lawyer Pitt (William H. Macy), who is helping with John's possible divorce. His friend Simon (Jeffrey Wright), too, is hiding a secret from John, and soon enough everyone's secrets will b…

CONTEST: win three boxes of Yasso frozen Greek yogurt bars, ends 9/14

Back in early August, I did a review of Yasso's frozen Greek yogurt bars - a yummy little treat that's totally worth the 80 calories per bar. Now I have a treat for you, my readers: a giveaway to win three boxes (product coupons) of Yasso frozen Greek yogurt bars.

Yasso bars can be found in Raspberry, Coconut, Mango, Strawberry, Blueberry, and Vanilla Bean flavors, so if you win, you'll have the opportunity to try out some of these!

Enter via the Rafflecopter form below. One winner will be chosen, and the contest ends Saturday, September 14th at 11:59pm - winner will be notified on September 15th and have 24 hours to respond or an alternate winner will be chosen. U.S./Canada only, please.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

After the Movie: Denny's

*Disclosure: I received a gift card to facilitate this post. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.
When I attended BlogHer this summer, I stayed at the Sheraton, which was the host hotel, and we received "room drops," little gifts that were sitting on our beds when we returned "home" after a busy day. In one of the room drops, I received a Denny's gift card, and when Denny's contacted me to see if I wanted an additional gift card to try out their restaurant, I said yes.
Before this time, the last time I went to a Denny's was about four years ago, in Ann Arbor. I think I got a breakfast meal and it didn't really agree with me; it was too greasy and buttery. 
Denny's has changed a lot since then, however, and its menu has a ton of choices, including "Fit Fare" - meals that are both healthy for you and low in calories - and even a reduced-price 55+ menu for seniors. 
I ordered the make-your-own Grand Slam with turkey bacon (my…

TICKET GIVEAWAY: And While We Were Here, 9/10, Maple Theater (Detroit area) - 5 pairs

The Gathr film series giveaways continue this week, with And While We Were Here. The film will be playing on Tuesday, September 10th, at 7:30pm at the Maple Theater (Bloomfield Hills, MI).

Film synopsis:
Set against the picturesque backdrop of the Island of Ischia, off the Amalfi Coast, AND WHILE WE WERE HERE follows a young American writer named Jane (Kate Bosworth) who finds herself at a personal and professional crossroads when she accompanies her husband Leonard (Iddo Goldberg) on a business trip. While escaping the mundanity of her comfortable marriage by delving deeper into adapting her grandmother's WWII stories (narrated by Claire Bloom) into a memoir she stumbles into a romantic affair with a younger man (Jamie Blackley) who complicates her life even further.

Enter via the Rafflecopter form below. The ticket giveaway will end this Sunday, September 8th at 11:59pm EST, and winners will be notified the morning of September 9th. Winners must respond within 24 hours or…