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Showing posts from July, 2014

Movie Review: Lucy

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Lucy is probably one of the stranger movies I've seen recently. I suppose I would classify it as sci-fi, but it's got some Matrix-y elements thrown in too, including some awesome action scenes. Overall, I enjoyed the film, but it's not one that will appeal to everyone.

Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) lives in Taiwan and just started dating Richard (Pilou Asbæk), who asks her to do a favor for him: deliver a mysterious briefcase to a businessman in a hotel. Lucy is dumb, but not that dumb, and she refuses; Richard handcuffs the briefcase to her so that she has no choice but to do it. What happens from there is a string of unfortunate events, which leads to a drug being leaked inside Lucy's body, and something amazing starts to happen: normal humans can use up to 10% of their brains, but Lucy can now use 20% ... and the percentage is continuing to increase.

Movie Review: And So It Goes

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And So It Goes is the newest film by Rob Reiner, starring Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton, and takes place in beautiful Connecticut. Douglas and Keaton definitely have chemistry together, but I found the story to be a bit slow-moving.

Oren Little (Douglas) is a realtor who is trying to sell a $5.8M mansion for $8M. We later find out that it's his own house, and that he's taking off to Vermont as soon as he sells it. Meanwhile, he lives in "Little" Shangri-la, a small apartment complex, which he also owns, though he's never gotten along with his neighbor, Leah (Keaton), who lives in the apartment next door to him. When his former-junkie son randomly contacts him and says he's going to jail for nine months, he drops off his daughter (Sterling Jerins) with Oren, and Oren must suddenly learn how to be a grandparent, with Leah's help.

GIVEAWAY: 5 pairs of tickets to see CHILD OF GOD at The Maple Theater on 7/29

The new movie Child of God is coming to The Maple Theater's NYFCS (New York Film Critics Series), and I have a chance for five of my lucky readers to win tickets.

First, a bit about the movie:
A dispossessed, violent man's life is a disastrous attempt to exist outside the social order. Successively deprived of parents and homes and with few other ties, Ballard descends to the level of a cave dweller as he falls deeper into crime and degradation.

Child of God stars James Franco, Jim Parrack, and Tim Blake Nelson, and is rated R. Make sure to stay after the movie for the televised (live in NYC) Q&A with James Franco.

If you'd like to purchase tickets ahead of time, click here - tickets are $15, or $20 for club seats.
The Maple Theater hosts the NYFCS at least monthly, and sometimes bi-weekly, so make sure to check out their site to see upcoming NYFCS movies as well.

Movie Review: Sex Tape

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I know Cameron Diaz and Jason Segal have chemistry together - I've seen it before, in Bad Teacher. So where has that chemistry gone, and why does Sex Tape have almost zero laughs?

Annie (Diaz) and Jay (Segal) used to have sex all day, every day, when they were in college. Annie later gets pregnant, they get married, and two kids later, they're having trouble regaining that "spark," as well as even having time to have sex. They decide to make a sex tape by doing all the positions in The Joy of Sex, and they film it with Jay's new iPad. Annie later tells him to delete the film, but Jay does not, and it goes up to "the cloud" - and syncs with other iPads that Jay has given to friends and family members as gifts. Annie and Jay must retrieve and wipe those iPads before her mom, her new boss, or even the mailman sees the video.

Movie Review - Planes: Fire & Rescue

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The first Planescame out last year, and was just "okay"; I gave it a Yes review, but also 3 out of 5 stars, which is generally my lowest "Yes" qualification. I actually prefer this newest installment a lot better: it's more exciting, has more of a plot, and has the same fantastic 3D as the last movie.

Dusty Crophopper (voiced by Dane Cook) is now known around the world as a racing champion. However, there's a problem: one of his parts, long discontinued, has stopped working, and unless he gets it fixed, there's no way he can race again. His town just happens to need another fire department employee, and it's decided that he will go off to train in order to become a crophopper firefighter. He's soon involved with a whole new cast of characters, such as Blade Ranger (Ed Harris), Lil' Dipper (Julie Bowen), Mayday (Hal Holbrook), and more, and he must learn how to put out fires before he's dismissed as just another racer.

Movie Review - The Purge: Anarchy

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The original Purge movie came out last summer, and it was an interesting concept: crime rates have actually gone down in America because of this one annual night, where any and all crime, including murder, is legal for 12 hours. I love dystopian movies and lit, and I liked the film as well, though I wanted more answers about the Purge's backstory. We don't really get any more answers in The Purge: Anarchy, but we do get a deeper look into the Purge and how terrifying it is for those who just want to stay home and stay safe.

On Purge night, we start off with three stories that slowly convene into one. A mysterious man (Frank Grillo) is headed out in an armored car to kill the man that accidentally killed his son. A mother and daughter, Eva (Carmen Ejogo) and Cali (Zoe Soul) are going to stay home with their Papa (John Beasley). And Shane (Zach Gilford) and Liz (Kiele Sanchez) have the misfortune of their car breaking down right in the middle of downtown, a few hours before the…

GIVEAWAY - The Purge: Anarchy prize pack (t-shirt + flashlight), ends 7/21

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The Purge: Anarchy is in theaters this Friday (July 18th) and you can check back then for my review {or catch up on the first one hereand here}. Until then, though, I have a prize pack for one lucky reader to win!

Prepare for Anarchy by checking out the “5 Things To Know Before You Watch The Purge: Anarchy” Interactive GIFs. Move your mouse across the GIFs to control the scene!

The New Founders of America invite you to celebrate your annual right to Purge. The Purge: Anarchy follows an unlikely group of five citizens who, over the course of the night, are hunted across the city in a kill-or-be-killed series of survival scenarios during the annual Purge.

GIVEAWAY: 5 pairs of tickets to The Maple Theater's Secret Cinema [7/17], ends 7/16

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Five of my lucky readers will get to see Secret Cinema at the Maple Theater this Thursday, July 17th - but you have to act fast.
So what's Secret Cinema, you may ask?
Secret Cinema is The Maple's classic film series with a twist - you won't know what you're watching until the lights go down!Join your fellow cinephiles every first and third Thursday of the month for another unnamed classic. We've split the series into two nights: Old Hollywood and New Hollywood, employing the pivotal year of 1967 as a historical and thematic dividing line.If you want to buy tickets ahead of time, they're only $5, and can be bought here.

This Thursday's showing is at 7:30pm and is "New Hollywood," which means that we know it's a film from 1967 or later. Local film teacher/cinephile Julian Boyance will be presenting July's New Hollywood selection. The clue from the Maple is this feature film is appropriate for those ages 16+.

Moviegoers also get free popcorn (y…

Movie Review: Boyhood

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The first thing you will notice about the little boy is his eyes: an interesting shade of blue. As the movie goes on, those eyes stay present on-screen: the reason for this being that Boyhood was filmed from 2002-2013 with the same group of actors - a rare occurrence, indeed. The newest from Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused) is very unique, and took about twelve years to complete; we literally see Ellar Coltrane and the actress playing his sister grow up on screen, and it's quite a sight to behold.

The film starts off when Mason Jr. (Coltrane) is five or six years old. His mom (Patricia Arquette) and dad (Ethan Hawke) are divorced, but his dad comes to pick up he and his sister, Sam (Lorelei Linklater), every other weekend or so. They soon move to Houston, where his mom enrolls in college classes and eventually marries one of her professors, Bill (Marco Perella), and they form a "Brady Bunch"-esque clan with him and his two kids. After the marriage goes sour, they …

Food Review: Michael Angelo's Family-size Meals

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*Disclosure: I received a Walmart gift card to facilitate this review. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

Back in November, I reviewed Michael Angelo's single-serving meals, which are now some of my favorite Italian frozen meals. I was able to review their new family-size portion, and my family and I sat down last weekend to enjoy their Baked Ziti with Meatballs.

Some facts about Michael Angelo's and their new family-size frozen meals:

The new meals come in five sizes, are 100% all natural (no additives or fillers), and can be found at WalmartVarieties include Meat Lasagna (46 + 80 oz.), Baked Ziti with Meatballs (44 oz.), Eggplant Parmesan (44 oz. and 80 oz.)Michael Angelo's uses vine-ripened tomatoes, imported Italian cheeses, and fresh veggies and herbs sourced from the best farms in the world, and each ingredient is selected by Michael and his mom, SaraIt's owned and operated by a third-generation Italian-American family, and its meals are inspired by …

Rio 2 activity sheets and Blu-ray GIVEAWAY (2 winners!), ends 7/18

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Rio 2 arrives on Blu-ray and DVD on July 15th, and has already been released to Digital HD! I gave the film a "Yes" review back in April, and I'm delighted to be able to give away two copies of the Blu-ray to my readers.

A bit about the film's release:
Get ready to shake your tail feathers! Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment takes you deep into the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest for the most fun you’ll have all summer, as RIO 2 debuts on 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray and DVD July 15. Just in time for summer vacation, this “hilarious family adventure” (Jeff Craig, Sixty Second Preview) will samba its way into your home with exciting bonus features and extras everyone will enjoy. Projected to eclipse more than $490 million worldwide at the box office, the animated hit is the must-own family title of the season.

The cast of the animated hit comedy Rio returns — along with a new flock of all-star voice talent, including Bruno Mars, Kristin Chenoweth, Andy Garcia and more — in th…

GIVEAWAY: The Perfect Summer on DVD, ends 7/13

The Perfect Summer is now out on DVD, and I have a copy for one of my lucky readers to win.

About the movie:
In The Perfect Summer, fatherless teenager Jake (Adam Horner) is happy living in Chicago, until his mother (Sydney Penny) decides to uproot them to a small surfing town where her estranged father (Eric Roberts), Jake's grandfather, lives. The transition isn't easy for anyone and it seems everywhere he goes, Jake manages to make enemies, including the town bully, Tyler (JD Banks), who doesn't like the new interloper or his interest in young surfing prodigy, Kayla (Katie Garfield). Stuck in the beach town with no friends and no knowledge of surfing, Jake has nowhere to turn until Cody (Jason Castro), the local surf shop owner, reveals that Jake's grandfather is a surf legend. Tired of feeling like an outcast, Jake asks Lou to teach him about surfing. Jake learns to face his fears, push through inhibitions and realizes that winning the respect of his new peers - and …

Movie Review: Begin Again

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Begin Again is an unexpected gem of a movie; I didn't know much about the film before I saw it, except that it focuses on music and stars Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo. No matter what you know ahead of time, though, it's an interesting ride that is as much an homage to music as to New York City itself, and all of the leads are great in it.

The film opens with Gretta (Knightley) reluctantly taking the stage at a bar to play one of her new songs. Once she starts playing, the bar customers are mostly still talking amongst themselves and ignoring her, except for one man, Dan (Ruffalo), who listens intently. After the song is over, he approaches her about signing her to his record label, not telling her that he recently got fired (that day, in fact) from the label.

The film then becomes non-linear, as it rewinds and shows us the day so far from Dan's perspective, and how events led to him listening to Gretta play her song in the bar. At another point, we rewind to when Gret…

Movie Review: Tammy

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Tammy is the newest vehicle from Melissa McCarthy and her actor/director/husband, Ben Falcone, and its cast list is rather impressive: in addition to McCarthy and Falcone, Susan Sarandon, Kathy Bates, Alison Janney, Mark Duplass, and Dan Aykroyd (cameo role) star. Unfortunately, even though the film is written by McCarthy and Falcone, it isn't as funny as it should be, and it joins the list of other ho-hum summer 2014 movies that have premiered so far.

Tammy (McCarthy) is literally a hot mess. She works at a burger chain, she has recently found out her husband (Nat Faxon) is cheating on her with their neighbor (Toni Collette), and she hit a deer on her way to work, thus rendering her car-less. Things hit the fan when she gets fired from her job by her boss (Falcone), and she and her grandmother (Sarandon) decide to take a road trip. Things only get weirder from there, and the two embark on a buddy adventure, even though they aren't particularly buddies in some scenes.

GIVEAWAY: 5 pairs of tickets to see AND SO IT GOES at The Maple Theater on 7/9, ends 7/7

The new movie And So It Goes is coming to The Maple Theater's NYFCS (New York Film Critics Series), and I have a chance for five of my lucky readers to win tickets.

First, a bit about the movie:
A self-centered realtor enlists the help of his neighbor when he’s suddenly left in charge of the granddaughter he never knew existed until his estranged son drops her off at his home. - Freestyle Releasing

Part of the New York Film Critics Series - a monthly screening that invites you to see everything from indie hopefuls to big awards contenders before wide release. All screenings include preshows and afterwords featuring interviews and discussions with the talent behind the films. Hosted by Peter Travers of Rolling Stone Magazine.


If you'd like to purchase tickets ahead of time, click here - tickets are $15, or $20 for club seats.
The Maple Theater hosts the NYFCS at least monthly, and sometimes bi-weekly; it will also be screening Child of God on July 29th, check back for a ticket give…

GIVEAWAY: $100 Best Buy gift card, ends 7/14

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Hosted by: NYSavingSpecials
Co-hosted by: Barbara's Beat, GiveawayFrenzy.com and Simply Sherryl.
One lucky winner will win a $100 Best Buy E-Gift Card
(2 codes for $50 each, can be used together in store or online)
{that can buy you a lot of DVDs/Blu-rays! Especially if you raid their $5 bin ... }
Giveaway runs June 30 To July 14 11:59pm EST.
Valid only in the Continental United States.