Showing posts from March, 2014

Movie Review: Bad Words

Bad Words should appeal to those who like raunchy comedies, like The Hangover, although it's much tamer than that franchise overall. I enjoyed it a lot because I'm a spelling/grammar geek, and the story centered around a 40-year-old man (Jason Bateman) who participates in a spelling bee for children, as he finds a loophole that allows him to enter the competition. However, this film is definitely not for those who easily take offense, especially to language. (hence the movie's title)

At the beginning of the film, we meet Guy Trilby (Bateman), entering the first round of a spelling bee competition. He and his sponsor, Jenny (Kathryn Hahn), end up having to run from angry parents at the end of the bee when he takes first price, thus clinching a spot in the national bee (the "Golden Quill") in California. The bee is for children but he's found a loophole that allows him to enter it: you cannot have graduated the 8th grade after February 2011, and he never gradua…

GIVEAWAY: NBC American Dream Builders and $50 Lowes Gift Card, ends 4/2

American Dream Builders, a new show on NBC, is premiering on Sundays on NBC (8/7c) - and I have a $50 Lowe's gift card to give away to celebrate.

The American Dream Home is something everyone fantasizes about. Whether it’s a new closet, a larger family room, or simply a place to put all your stuff, there’s always something we want to change about where we live!

What if you could make your home into your Dream Home?

Blu-ray Review: Out of the Furnace

Disclosure: I am a Fox Home Entertainment Insider and was provided with a review copy of Out of the Furnace in exchange for this post. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

I didn't get to see Out of the Furnace when it was in theaters, because it was not screened for the general public. It's been on my list for a while now, however, because the trailer looked good, and also because of its fantastic cast: Christian Bale, Woody Harrelson, Forrest Whitaker, and Casey Affleck, just to name a few. So I was excited when I received a copy in the mail from FHE to review.

The synopsis of this film from IMDb is: "When Rodney Baze mysteriously disappears and law enforcement doesn't follow through fast enough, his older brother, Russell, takes matters into his own hands to find justice."

Catch It All at Best Buy during the Madness! #CatchItAll

*Disclosure: I have been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

I've been guilty of multitasking more than a few times. When I'm watching a movie at home, you can find me with my smartphone or iPad Mini nearby, ready to look up an interesting actor or actress at a moment's notice. And with March Madness this month, it's important that I am able to look up a score or a team on-the-go as well.

Best Buy can help keep you connected to the Madness with tons of devices, including laptops, cell phones, tablets, and HDTV. I actually received my current TV from there for free when I purchased a bed at the Gardner White in Novi (one store, but two brands) which was an awesome deal. I've also previously shopped there for laptops and my cell phone, at one point.

My mobile preference is my tablet, since it tends to be a little faster than my phone, but sometimes you'll see me on three devices (phone

Movie Review: The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Grand Budapest Hotel is directed by Wes Anderson, which means that it's going to be quirky and unlike any film you've seen before. If you've seen The Darjeeling Limited, Fantastic Mr. Fox, or Moonrise Kingdom, you already have had a taste of his style and preference for being unusual. This movie started off promisingly but was soon slow in parts, and although overall I enjoyed it, I found myself getting restless near the end of it.

Pay attention, because this is a story within a story within a story ... and I may be missing "a story" somewhere there too. At the beginning of the movie, a young girl is walking and reading a book entitled The Grand Budapest Hotel. We then meet our narrator (Jude Law) who is staying at the hotel in the '80s, when it's not even half of the palatial residence it used to be. He meets a Mr. Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham), who is the owner of the hotel, but the circumstances upon which he came into possession of the hotel is a v…

Event Review: Disney On Ice at the Palace of Auburn Hills (Detroit area)

*Disclosure: I am a Feld Family Ambassador and was provided with free Disney On Ice tickets in exchange for promoting the show. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

Last night I attended Disney On Ice presents "Let's Celebrate!" at the Palace of Auburn Hills. I am no stranger to Disney On Ice - the previous time I went was last March, but I have been in previous years as well.

This year's theme was interesting because it wasn't really a theme. It focused on a few of the individual Disney characters/shows at first, and then it moved on to holidays.

I was surprised but happy to see the Toy Story crew in this show, since technically they are Disney/Pixar, and I also I had no idea that The Nightmare Before Christmas was a Disney movie! That movie has some great songs in it, a few of which were sang in this show.

Movie Review: Divergent

I was very excited for this movie before seeing it because I've read the novel of the same name, albeit a while ago, and it did not disappoint. The film takes place in a futuristic Chicago, but instead of flying cars, it has ruins, due to "the war" that is briefly mentioned, and if you're observant you'll be able to pick out some landmarks like the Willis Tower (formerly known as Sears) and a charred Navy Pier.

Beatrice (Shailene Woodley, who later goes by simply "Tris") lives with her parents and brother in the Abnegation faction, where they are selfless and have no vanity. She and her brother are now of age where they have to take "the test" that tells them what faction they really belong in, and then choose a faction for themselves on their choosing day. After her test, Tori (Maggie Q), the test administrator, hurries Tris out a back door, and says she has marked her as Abnegation - because the test was inconclusive, which is dangerous in …

Movie Review: Muppets Most Wanted

After my review of the 2011 Muppets movie, I was accused of being a Muppets hater. It wasn't true; I just thought the movie was only so-so and could have been better. And now, about two and a half years later, I get to prove that I was right, because this newest installment of the Muppets is complete and utter fun - and what I would have liked 2011's to be.

The film starts at the end of the last movie, when the Muppets have wrapped up filming. The gang wonders what they should do now, and finally decide on doing a world tour. Producer Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais) - pronounced "Bad-gee," he says, because it's French - signs up to help produce their tour, and everyone seems to like him except for Kermit (voiced by Steve Whitmire). Kermit's intuition soon proves to be correct, as he's mistaken for the infamous Constantine (voiced by Matt Vogel) in an evil plot hatched by Constantine and Dominic, and is thrown in a Russian gulag (jail). Constantine, who is…

TICKET GIVEAWAY: Hide Your Smiling Faces, 3/25 at the Maple Theater (Detroit area), ends 3/23

The Gathr film series giveaways continue this week with Hide Your Smiling Faces, playing Tuesday, March 25th, at 7:30pm at the Maple Theater (Bloomfield Hills, MI).

The best way to experience the Gathr film series (and also the most cost-effective) is to buy a one-month subscription - it's $14.99 for 4 films a month, which works out to a little less than $3 a movie. That's much less than you'd pay regularly, and for a first-run movie, too.

Film synopsis:
Hide Your Smiling Faces vividly depicts the young lives of two brothers as they abruptly come of age through the experience of a friend's mysterious death. The event ripples under the surface of their town, unsettling the brothers and their friends in a way that they can't fully understand. Once familiar interactions begin to take on a macabre tone in light of the tragic accident, leading Eric and Tommy to retreat into their wild surroundings. As the two brothers vocally face the questions they have about mortality,…

GIVEAWAY: 4-pack of tickets for Harlem Globetrotters at the Palace of Auburn Hills (Detroit area), ends 3/26

The Harlem Globetrotters are bringing their brand of fun to the Palace on Saturday, April 19th at 7pm, and you can win a family four-pack of tickets here, as well as take part in some great Globetrotters and also Pistons basketball discounts.

Here are some great discounts to be aware of:
For Globetrotters discounts: click here. $21 reserved lower-level seats (normally $27.50), $13.50 general admission upper-level seats (normally $18), or $10 for a Magic Pass ($24 normally), which is a pre-show event from 5-6:30pm where you can spend time on the court with the Globetrotters; all customers must have a regular ticket plus a Magic Pass for entry.

GIVEAWAY: Faith-based, animated IESODO on DVD, ends 3/25 - 2 winners

Iesodo, pronounced "YAY-sa-doe," has been called "The Lion King of Christian toons" and "A DVD that parents will love," and I have a copy of its newest installment for two of my readers to win.

A bit about the series:
Iesodo (YAY-sa-doe) is a highly acclaimed Telly and Accolade Award winning series featuring a cast of animated birds who live in a Cypress Tree on the shores of Galilee. Presented with cutting edge imagery, Iesodo, which means “The way of Jesus”, is a wise and gentle dove that gives an allegory to the stories and messages of Jesus with “solid biblical teaching.” (American Family Journal). With each and every story, he and his lovable feathered friends “present the essence of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a winsome, compelling way” through music and adventure (

Directors for the series include Brian E. Ray whose credits consist of Muppet Babies, My Little Pony Tales and Ed, Ed, and Eddy, as well as Colin Brady, whose credits inc…

Event Review: Supercross at Ford Field, Detroit

*Disclosure: I received free tickets to facilitate this post. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

This past Saturday, March 15th, I attended the Monster Energy AMA Supercross event held at Ford Field. It was my first time at the venue (I've never seen a Lions game - shocking but true) and I was looking forward to the event.

For those of you who haven't heard of Supercross, the event has been described as the following:
Monster Energy Supercross is the world’s premier indoor motocross series, comprised of seventeen rounds of heart-stopping action in some of the largest venues in North America. Every week, the best riders from across the globe, like two-time champion James Stewart, three-time champion Chad Reed, and defending champion Ryan Dungey, seek to outrace each other on motocross’ most challenging courses. Featuring tight corners, fast straightaways, challenging rhythm sections, and vertigo-inducing jumps, these tracks pack excitement into every inch of dir…

Movie Review: Need for Speed

I thought that Need for Speed was going to a poor man's Fast and the Furious, but it actually ended up surpassing that franchise in terms of enjoyment level, which really surprised me. The story is a bit cheesy/heavy-handed at times, but if you're in the theater for the story itself, you're at the wrong movie. There were also a few Detroit-filmed scenes which I didn't know about beforehand, and it was fun to see a city I live near on the big screen.

Tobey Marshall (Aaron Paul) and his friend Pete (Harrison Gilbertson) love illegal racing, but when they decide to race an enemy of theirs, Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper), one day, and only one of them gets out alive; Tobey is framed for manslaughter and is sent to prison for two years. When he gets out, Tobey needs to get to California within 48 hours in order to enter the De Leon (an exclusive race), and he also needs to get an invite from the Monarch (Michael Keaton), the man who puts together the race; to do this, he s…

TICKET GIVEAWAY: The Raid 2, 3/18 at the Maple Theater (Detroit area) - 2 winners

The Gathr film series giveaways continue this week with The Raid 2, playing Tuesday, March 18th, at 7:30pm at the Maple Theater (Bloomfield Hills, MI).

The best way to experience the Gathr film series (and also the most cost-effective) is to buy a one-month subscription - it's $14.99 for 4 films a month, which works out to a little less than $3 a movie. That's much less than you'd pay regularly, and for a first-run movie, too.

Film synopsis:
He thought it was over. After fighting his way out of a building filled with gangsters and madmen - a fight that left the bodies of police and gangsters alike piled in the halls - rookie Jakarta cop Rama thought it was done and he could resume a normal life. He couldn't have been more wrong. Formidable though they may have been, Rama's opponents in that fateful building were nothing more than small fish swimming in a pond much larger than he ever dreamed possible. And his triumph over the small fry has attracted the attention o…

GIVEAWAY: Veronica Mars movie DVD + Neptune, CA trucker hat, ends 3/19

Where are my Veronica Mars fans at?

The Veronica Mars movie hits theaters on March 14th, and I have a way for you win the DVD once it's released this May.

Official movie synopsis:
On the eve of graduating law school, Veronica Mars has put Neptune and her amateur sleuthing days behind her. While interviewing at high-end New York law firms, Veronica Mars gets a call from her ex-boyfriend Logan who has been accused of murder. Veronica heads back to Neptune just to help Logan find an attorney, but when things don't seem right with how Logan's case is perceived and handled, Veronica finds herself being pulled back into a life she thought she had left behind.

See it In Theaters MARCH 14
Pre-order on DIGITAL HD
Twitter: @veronicamars

And the way the film got made is rather neat:

Following a record-breaking Kickstarter campaign that ended on April 12, 2013, Veronica Mars was shot over 23 days during June-July 2013.

Enter to win via the Raffl…

TV Review: Private Lives of Nashville Wives + Interview with Jenny Terrell

At the ENMN conference in Anaheim last month, we were treated to the first two episodes of a new reality show on TNT, Private Lives of Nashville Wives. I ended up liking the show a lot more than I thought I would, and it's especially interesting to me because the ENMN conference is going to be held in Nashville next year; I also might be going in May for the Yelp Elite spring break event.

There are six main ladies in the show, as well as Nashville socialite Tina Brady, who pops by now and then but isn't a regular cast member. The six ladies are:

Jenny Terrell is vice president at a leading Internet company. She is married to JT Terrell, one of Nashville's top event and party producers. Jenny seems to have it all, including a family and a highly lucrative career. But with her tough-as-nails, straight-shooting, liberal personality and beliefs, this Midwest girl from Pickerington, Ohio, is establishing herself as a force to be reckoned with in Nashville society.Erika Page Whi…

Movie Review: Mr. Peabody & Sherman

Mr. Peabody & Sherman is based on a pair of characters from the 1950s/60s TV shows Rocky and His Friends and The Bullwinkle Show; however, in those shows, they were recurring characters, and now they have their own movie. I was surprised by how many jokes in the film were more for adults, since the movie focuses on historical periods, but kids will like this film as well, especially the 3D, which was fantastic.

Mr. Peabody (voiced by Ty Burrell) is a dog, but has accomplished many academic and important things in his lifetime. When Sherman (Max Charles) was a baby, Mr. Peabody found him in a box in an alley, and petitioned the court to let a dog adopt a boy; since then, Mr. Peabody has been raising Sherman. Mr. Peabody invented a machine called the "WABAC" (pronounced "way back") and they use it to travel across time, although they can only travel to time periods in which they didn't yet exist. When Sherman has trouble with a girl at school, Penny (Ariel Wi…

Movie Review - 300: Rise of an Empire

The original 300 hit theaters in 2006 and featured a starstudded cast, including Gerard Butler as King Leonidas. I don't think I saw it in theaters (I was a college student without a car on campus at the time) but I remember seeing it on DVD. In 300: Rise of an Empire, Greece is at war against Persia, which is led by the fearless Artemisia (Eva Green), an evil, woman who wants nothing more than to crush Greece - ironic, actually, since she was born there.

Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) now leads the Greek forces ever since Leonidas's death. He pleads with Leonidas's widow, Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey), to lend him her Spartan forces, but she refuses, so it's the good men of Athens versus the Persians. Artemisia brings Themistokles over to her boat for a little tete-a-tete, but the two end up hating each other more than ever ... and the war continues on, until a clear winner is established.

The screening I went to of this film was in 3D, and although some parts were ne…

Crosspost: win The Book Thief on Blu-ray/DVD + a copy of the novel, ends 3/14

I reviewed The Book Thief back in November 2013 here on my blog, and now I have a copy for one of my lucky readers to win, as well as a copy of the novel. The Book Thief comes to Blu-ray/DVD on March 11th.

Head on over to my book blog to enter the contest! Contest ends March 14th.

TICKET GIVEAWAY: Le Week-End, 3/11 at the Maple Theater (Detroit area) - 2 winners

The Gathr film series giveaways continue this week with Le Week-End, playing Tuesday, March 11th, at 7:30pm at the Maple Theater (Bloomfield Hills, MI).

The best way to experience the Gathr film series (and also the most cost-effective) is to buy a one-month subscription - it's $14.99 for 4 films a month, which works out to a little less than $3 a movie. That's much less than you'd pay regularly, and for a first-run movie, too.

Film synopsis:
Academy Award winner Jim Broadbent (IRIS, TOPSY-TURVY, ANOTHER YEAR) and Lindsay Duncan (the forthcoming ABOUT TIME, ALICE IN WONDERLAND, MANSFIELD PARK) give exquisite performances as Nick and Meg, a long-married British couple revisiting Paris for the first time since their honeymoon in an attempt to rekindle their relationship. During a two-day escapade, diffident, wistful Nick and demanding, take-charge Meg careen from harmony to disharmony to resignation and back again as they take stock of half a lifetime of deep tenderness -- an…

Denny's introduces Build Your Own Skillet menu, new Fit Fare dishes

*Disclosure: I was provided with a Denny's gift card to facilitate this blog post. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

I've recently become a converted Denny's fan, after I received a gift card in my BlogHer 2013 swag bag. I've been to the Novi, MI location a few times since then, including in September when I did a review, and I was in the Novi area yesterday for a movie screening so it was the perfect time to go back.

My mom had emailed me earlier in the week with a subject line something like "BLUEBERRY PUPPIES!" and I soon saw what she was so enthusiastic about - Denny's has always had pancake (hush) puppies that you can order, but they now have blueberry pancake puppies, so we got a side order of those, and they were delicious.

Before I go more in-depth as to what we ate, though, here's some things you should know:

Denny's is offering more and more "Fit Fare" options, such as the Fit Fare Breakfast Plate: two strips of …