Showing posts from September, 2014

Blu-ray review: Neighbors (2014)

I first reviewed Neighbors back in May 2014 after seeing it at a screening - I gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars, which is a VERY high rating for me for a "frat party"-type movie. Because of that, I was curious to watch it again on Blu-ray and see if my rating held up or not.

(Dirty little secret: occasionally - only OCCASIONALLY, mind you - the second time I watch a movie, I don't like it as much as the first, and wonder if I should have rated it lower the first time around.)

I'm pleased to say I liked Neighbors just as much this time, most likely because it's SO crazy and
over-the-top that it just works. The performances are hilarious as well, ranging from a cameo by Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe!) as the college's dean, who may or may not have a thing for Zac Efron's character, and the other leads (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne) as the "adults" who really aren't that adult after all, even though they're also parents.

In case you missed Neighbors, here'…

Movie Review: Hector and the Search for Happiness

Hector and the Search for Happiness ended up being a combination of Eat, Pray, Love and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, in that Hector (Simon Pegg) takes a trip around the world to find out what others consider happiness to be, and also what makes them happy. He realizes he has a routine that he does every day - meals, work, sleep, and then repeat - and he wants to get out and see the world. His girlfriend, Clara (Rosamund Pike, soon to be starring in Gone Girl), is a bit skeptical of this, since she knows how much he likes his routine, and isn't entirely happy when he says he doesn't know when he will be back from his trip, either.

Hector first travels to China, and he makes a businessman friend on the flight over who shows him the finer things in life - first class on an airplane, dining out, and going clubbing with beautiful women. After China, he heads to Africa, where one of his friends works in a clinic; Hector will help out at the clinic for a week. His final destinati…

Upcoming Movie: The Song, to be released nationwide in theaters this weekend {9/26/14}

*Disclosure: I am a Family Christian blogger and have been compensated for this post. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

The Song will be in theaters this weekend (9/26/14), and it looks like it could be interesting. I love movies that focus on music, and the film was shot on location in Nashville and Kentucky - I visited Nashville this year for my first trip there, and it definitely earns its nickname as Music City. The trailer also has a lot of violin in it, and I am a violin player (and love when I hear violin music in movies).

Official synopsis:
THE SONG is a music-driven romantic drama about things we all pursue—love and meaning.

Aspiring singer—‐songwriter Jed King is struggling to catch a break and escape the long shadow of his famous father when he reluctantly agrees to a gig at a local vineyard harvest festival. Jed meets the vineyard owner’s daughter, Rose, and a romance quickly blooms. Soon after their wedding, Jed writes Rose “The Song,” which becomes a breakou…

Movie Review: A Walk Among the Tombstones

I didn't know before seeing this movie that A Walk Among the Tombstones is actually a book - #10 in the Matt Scudder series, by Lawrence Block. Interestingly enough, the film works fine as a standalone movie, with Liam Neeson (a go-to action hero, if ever there was one) in the part of Matt Scudder.

Matt Scudder (Neeson) is a retired NYC cop who goes to Alcoholics Anonymous. He was asked to leave the force eight years ago, when he gunned down two criminals as they fled the scene; one of the bullets took a "bad turn" and killed a little girl. Drug trafficker Kenny Kristo (Dan Stevens, also starring inThe Guest this weekend) asks him to find the murderers who killed his wife - he paid them $400,000 to get her back, and instead they left her body parts for him to find. Matt is able to track down one of the perpetrators, but he was only the driver, and that lead soon runs out; when the murderers abduct another girl, however, he intervenes to try and get her back safely to her…

GIVEAWAY: Gone Girl at the Maple Theater (Detroit area) on 10/2 - 5 winners, ends 9/29

One of the movies coming out next month (October 2014) that I'm very excited about is Gone Girl - not only does it have a great cast (Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike), but I have read the book and it's one that still sticks in my mind, two years later.

The Maple Theater will be screening the film on October 2nd at 8:00pm, before it premieres in theaters, as part of its New York Film Critics Series (NYFCS), and five of my lucky readers can win a pair of tickets to see it for free.

{to purchase tickets ahead of time for Gone Girl at the Maple, click here}


Official synopsis:
Directed by David Fincher and based upon the global bestseller by Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl unearths the secrets at the heart of a modern marriage. On the occasion of his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) reports that his beautiful wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike), has gone missing. Under pressure from the police…

Movie Review: The Maze Runner

Before seeing The Maze Runner, I knew that the movie was based on the best-selling dystopian novel, but I had not read the novel; I actually never got the chance to watch the trailer, too. The plot of the film is quickly understood, though, and it ended up being a very good, Hunger Games-esque movie.

Thomas (Dylan O'Brien) wakes up in a box in the middle of a field, with no memory of how he got there, or even his name. A group of boys in the field pulls him out of the box, and promptly give him the nickname of "Greenie." The boys, and now Thomas, live in this field, and only a few of them, called "runners," dare to enter the stone walls of the giant maze, which surrounds the field. Some of the boys, like Gally (Will Poulter), have been living in the field for almost three years now; once a month, like clockwork, the box appears from the ground with supplies and a new person. Thomas is frustrated that the boys have been there for so long and no one has found a…

Movie Review: This is Where I Leave You

Continuing our string of books-to-movies this week is This is Where I Leave You, based on the novel by Jonathan Tropper, who also wrote the movie's screenplay. I have not read the book, but I was hoping that, based on its cast alone, the movie would be a mix of funny and serious elements - a dramedy, perhaps. Unfortunately, the film could have been funnier, and I wasn't that impressed with it overall. 

Judd Altman (Jason Bateman) is having a rough year. He discovered his wife, Quinn (Abigail Spencer), cheating on him with his boss, radio personality Wade Beaufort (Dax Shepard), and he moves out of their beautiful loft into a small bachelor-esque apartment. His sister, Wendy (Tina Fey), then calls him to say that his father has passed away, so he leaves NYC to head back home to sit shiva with his mom (Jane Fonda) and his other two brothers, Phillip (Adam Driver) and Paul (Corey Stoll). While back home, he reconnects with an old crush, Penny (Rose Byrne), which throws a wrench …

Movie Review: The Guest

The first five minutes of The Guest almost feel like a horror movie, with suspenseful music and abrupt scene changes, which made me a little nervous since I don't generally enjoy horror films. It ended up being a crazy, albeit sometimes cheesy, ride, and it's a film that is sure to entertain.

David (Dan Stevens) shows up at the Peterson's house one day, and introduces himself to Mrs. Peterson (Sheila Kelley), saying he served with her (now deceased) son in the war, and actually was with him when he died. He's welcomed into the house, and when it's revealed to Mr. Peterson (Leland Orser) that David doesn't know where he is headed next, he's invited to stay with them for a few days. He's a handsome guy and makes friends easily, but something seems a bit off to him to Anna Peterson (Maika Monroe), the daughter, and she calls the army to verify he is who he says he is. That spurs into motion a series of events which doesn't sit well with David, and in…

Yes/No Films on the Road: HalloWeekends at Cedar Point {Sandusky, OH}, now through Nov. 2nd

*Disclosure: I received media passes to visit Cedar Point. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

I am no stranger to Cedar Point - I went for the first time in 1999 or 2000, I believe, with my middle school orchestra, and I've continued to visit every year since. From the first visit until 2005, I went with my school orchestra - we had competitions in Ohio and the award ceremony would be that same day at the park - and after 2005, I didn't think I'd be back soon.

However, I've actually gone back every year since, usually with friends, and there's a reason for that: Cedar Point is known for having some of the best roller coasters in the country, as is a short two-hour drive from the metro Detroit area.

In 2006, my UM dorm hallmates and I carpooled together to attend HalloWeekends at the park - the first and only time I had been to HalloWeekends, until this year. I was excited to visit the park when it was a little cooler out, and this past weekend was the…

Movie Review: The Drop

Much like Tom Hardy's character in this movie, The Drop will end up surprising you. I would maybe even give it a higher star rating than I am going to give it, except the film moves at a slow pace. It's a classic story of mobsters, hired guns, and killers, and it's also the last movie ever to star James Gandolfini.

Bob (Tom Hardy) works at a bar that his cousin, Marv (Gandolfini), used to own; Marv's name is outside on the door, but mobsters took over the bar from him about ten years ago. Bob is walking home from work one day when he hears some sounds coming from a trash can - when he opens it, there is badly beaten pitbull puppy inside. The woman who lives at that house, Nadia (Noomi Rapace), lets him into her home and they help clean up and heal the puppy; later, she decides that he should be its owner, and he names it Rocco. Soon, though, Eric Deeds (Matthias Schoenaerts), a killer who's well-known around the neighbor, shows up at Bob's front door, claiming…

Movie Review: Dolphin Tale 2

I reviewed the first Dolphin Tale back in 2011, and was a little surprised to find out that a sequel was being made, since the first movie wrapped things up nicely. In this installment, Winter needs a new dolphin companion, since her previous companion passes away (at age 40, which is old for dolphins!). Most of the cast from the first movie is back, too, and I actually enjoyed it more than the previous film.

Dr. Clay Haskett (Harry Connick Jr.) is still running the CMA (Clearwater Marina Aquarium) and things are going well, until Panama, their eldest dolphin, passes away. This puts Winter into a depression, and she even goes as far to accidentally attack Sawyer (Nathan Gamble), another CMA employee and a friend of Winter's. The CMA must find a new companion for Winter and they think they've found it in Mandy, a dolphin that they rescue from the ocean, but Mandy is soon well enough to be released. At the same time, Sawyer has been accepted to a "Sea Semester," which …

Review + GIVEAWAY: LACTAID® Brand milk {ends 9/17} #BeyondLI

*Disclosure: I received product coupons from the LACTAID® Brand to facilitate my review and giveaway. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

A few years ago, I used to love drinking skim milk. I drank it with every meal, and sometimes even drank it as a snack; I would drink 3+ glasses a day.

Then, my senior year of college, I started having stomach issues. I was no longer able to drink dairy, or even eat pizza, one of my favorite meals. I lost about 50 pounds in 2-3 months; it wasn't healthy, and in fact was kind of scary, although we now know what was causing the issues.

I started trying out different soy and almond milks, which I do enjoy in smoothies and mixed into teas and other drinks, but I never really liked drinking them on their own.

At the BlogHer conference this past July, I was able to attend a breakfast sponsored by the LACTAID® Brand, and I was surprised as to what I found. Usually when I consume things like quiche, muffins, and other breakfast sweets like…

GIVEAWAY: Neighbors (2014) Blu-ray, ends 9/19 {and leading men we'd like to be our neighbors!}

Neighbors is out on Blu-ray and DVD on September 23rd, and I have a chance for one of my lucky readers to win a Blu-ray copy!

First, check out the featurette below on some other shirtless hunks we'd all love to live next to, provided by Fox:

Zac Efron and Other Shirtless Hunks We'd Love to be our Neighbors

We get it, Zac Efron. You have perfectly chiseled pecs and broad shoulders and every single ab possible for a man to possess. But you’re not the only guy out there with a hot body!

On September 23rd, you can finally take Zac Efron home with you in all his shirtless glory when NEIGHBORS comes out on Blu-ray and DVD. In the mean time, here are a few other film hunks we wouldn’t mind being neighbors with.

To read my Neighbors review, click here.


In all fairness, we pretty much could have included any of Hemsworth’s roles here, but who can resist a bad boy who drives fast AND has arms that would make most tree trunks jealous!?

To read my Rush review, click her…

GIVEAWAY: Moms' Night Out on Blu-ray and DVD, 2 winners! Ends 9/15

I first got to see Moms' Night Out back in February 2014, when I attended the inaugural ENMN conference, in Anaheim. We were fortunate in that we had Sean Astin and Sarah Drew in attendance, the day after, for a Q&A, as well.

I reviewed the movie back in May 2014, as well, and it has one hilarious scene in it that I still think about to this day.

I now have the opportunity for two of my lucky readers to win the movie! I have one Blu-ray/DVD combo pack and one DVD to give away.

In case you aren't familiar with the movie, here's the synopsis from my review:

Allyson (Drew) is a good mom, but is having a mini-meltdown. Her two kids are driving her nuts and she hasn't had a night out in forever. Her husband (Astin) is supportive, but is often traveling for work and isn't home. She decides to round up her friends (Patricia Heaton and Logan White) for a night out on the town. It doesn't start off too well, though, as the restaurant has lost their reservation, so t…