Showing posts from November, 2014

GIVEAWAY: 5 pairs of tickets to The Maple Theater's Secret Cinema [12/4], ends 12/3

Five of my lucky readers will get to see Secret Cinema at the Maple Theater this Thursday, December 4th - 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 "Old Hollywood," which means that we know it's a film from 1967 or earlier. December's Old Hollywood selection has been chosen by Courtney Brannon Donoghue, professor at Oakland University, and her selection is recommended for ages 10 and up.

Moviegoers also get free popcorn (yes,…

Movie Review: Whiplash

Have you ever wanted to be really, really good at something? Maybe you have a talent for music, or sports. You'll want to practice hard to hone that talent, right? Make yourself the best of the best?

Whiplash is what happens when obsessiveness kicks in, with both student and teacher, and it becomes unhealthy. Dangerous, even.

Miles Teller (Divergent, The Spectacular Now) is the best I've ever seen him here, as Andrew, a first-year music school student in NYC. He's a drummer, but is relegated to pageturner for the "core" drummer in the lower-qualified band - until the legendary Dr. Fletcher (J.K. Simmons) finds him practicing in a university room one day, and invites him to be the pageturner for the upper-level jazz band. Soon enough, Andrew has snatched the "core" chair for himself, and this is the beginning of a toxic student-teacher relationship that will push him to his breaking point - and beyond.

Teller and Simmons are fantastic in this movie. I sa…

Movie Review: Penguins of Madagascar

If you've seen any of the Madagascar movies, you might remember that the penguins were always concocting plans and being crazy. The penguins now have their own spin-off film, Penguins of Madagascar, and the movie was basically like a James Bond movie, but with penguins - and a lot of fun and silliness thrown in.

Skipper (voiced by Tom McGrath), Kowalski (Chris Miller), and Rico (Conrad Vernon) start off as young penguins here, who see a penguin egg roll down the tundra and follow it. Soon, Private (Christopher Knights) is born, and they take him under their wings, so to speak. Years go by, but unfortunately, they're unaware that a villain, Dave (John Malkovich), an octopus, has harbored a plan for revenge against them; the reason for this is that every time the penguins got transferred to a zoo that Dave was living at, Dave was no longer the main attraction, as kids and adults flocked to see the penguins rather than them. Dave's plan is to use his evil potion machine to …

Yes/No Foods: Giulio & Sons (adoba hotel), Dearborn, MI #EcoTravelwithadoba

*Disclosure: I received complimentary meals at Giulio & Sons to facilitate this post. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

Get ready to drool a bit more, my moviegoer friends. I recently talked about my experience at Buddy's Pizza in Dearborn, during the #EcoTravelwithadoba blogger event, and during the event, we dined at Giulio & Sons (in the adoba* hotel) three times - twice for breakfast, and once for dinner.

This post will focus on the dinner, but the breakfasts were delicious as well - the best deal is the breakfast buffet ($15) which has pretty much everything.

The first thing you'll notice when you arrive at Giulio & Sons for dinner is the dessert buffet, because most likely you will walk past it to your table. Definitely save room for dessert, as the buffet is delicious.

(there were almost TOO many to choose from - the restaurant's famous bread pudding, tiramisu, cannolis, cakes, and more)

We were "good" and started with salad, tho…

Yes/No Foods: Buddy's Pizza, Dearborn, MI #EcoTravelwithadoba

*Disclosure: I received a complimentary meal at Buddy's to facilitate this post. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

I had the pleasure of dining at Buddy's Pizza in Dearborn, MI last week during my "staycation" at the adoba hotel (check next week for my hotel review). I had been to Buddy's Farmington Hills location before, and also its Royal Oak take-out location, but never to the Dearborn one.

This location is conveniently located on Michigan Ave., in what could be considered "downtown" Dearborn. We started the meal with a round of Buddy Bread, and then came the pizzas. Ohhhh, the pizzas.

For those who don't know, Buddy's is one of the restaurants in this area famous for its "Detroit-style" pizzas (sauce on the top). It's also famous for its deep-dish pizza, so of course I had to order a 4-piece.

I ordered the Lake Superior pizza, which includes pine nuts, pepperoni, a Motor City cheese blend, fr…

Movie Review - The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1

Mockingjay - Part 1 is very different from the previous two Hunger Games movies, as avid readers will know, in that the Games are now over and revolution has taken its place. Peeta has been taken hostage by the Capitol, in a manner of speaking, and Katniss and her mother, sister, and Gale have taken refuge in district 13, which had once thought to be nonexistent. Because of this, I didn't enjoy Mockingjay as much as the last two films; however, it's definitely still worth seeing.

The President of District 13, President Coin (Julianne Moore) and Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman, in one of his last remaining roles) want Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) to be the face of the revolution. They hope to entice more people to fight, and to rebel against the Capitol. Katniss is unsure if Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) is still alive, until she sees a Capitol interview with him and Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci), in which he appears robotic and changed. This is all due to President Sn…

GIVEAWAY: Cirque Dreams Holidaze, 12/17 at the Fox Theatre {Detroit}, ends 11/28

I'm very excited to attend Cirque Dreams Holidaze next month at the Fox! I've seen Cirque du Soleil in Vegas before, and their shows are always a treat to behold.

Cirque du Soleil sold out their performances in 2009, 2011, and 2013 at the Fox, and it returns this year, from Tuesday, December 16 through Saturday, December 20.

Tickets (starting at $24) are on sale now and can be purchased at, The Fox Theatre and Joe Louis Arena box offices, Hockeytown Authentics in Troy (without service charge) at all Ticketmaster locations and To charge tickets by phone, call (800) 745-3000. Groups of 10 or more receive a discount by calling 313-471-3099. For additional information, call (313) 471-6611.

Official synopsis:
Created by Broadway director Neil Goldberg, Cirque Dreams Holidaze is “so full of energy it could end our dependence on oil” according to the New York Daily News and "a delicious confection of charm, sparkle and talent by the sleig…

Giveaway: UDM Theatre Co.'s "It's a Wonderful Life" {Detroit}, ends 11/23

The Theatre Company at UDM (University of Detroit Mercy) will be doing a special holiday production of "It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play," by Joe Landry, and you can win a pair of tickets here!

The production involves seven actors who will be recreating the characters of this classic story, with sound effects, 1940s glamour, and a few surprises. The show opens on December 5th.

Performances take place on the lower level of the Student Life building on the UDM McNichols Campus (4001 W. McNichols Rd., Detroit) at 8pm on December 5th and 7th, and you can buy tickets hereIndividual tickets are $20 for Adults and $17 for discount admission (Seniors, UDM and Marygrove Faculty and Staff, Alumni, Donors and Detroit residents). Student admission (with ID) is $10, and UDM and Marygrove student admission is $5 (with ID). Group rates are available.

About the show:
“It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” retells the tale of George Bailey, a man on the brink of
desperate deed…

Movie Review: Rosewater

Rosewater focuses on the Iranian government's detainment of Maziar Bahari over allegations that he was a spy. I knew going in that it was based on a true story, but I didn't know anything else about the film, and it ended up being very interesting.

Maziar (Gael Garcia Bernal) lives in London with his wife, who is six months pregnant. He was born in Iran, so it makes sense that Newsweek sends him back to Iran in June 2009 to cover the election; he'll also get the chance to visit with his mother, who still lives there. He films both the election and the dissent that follows, and the next day, men from the Iranian forces come to his mother's house and take him to prison, where he will remain for the next four months because they're convinced Maziar is a spy for the U.S. government and Newsweek.

The circus is in town! Ringling Bros + Barnum & Bailey at the Palace {Detroit area}, through 11/16

*Disclosure: I received something of value from Feld Entertainment as part of their Insider Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

The circus is in town, as of last night, and I was able to attend opening night at the Palace of Auburn Hills (Detroit area).

I had attended the circus last year as well, and although I ultimately enjoyed the acts more that year, this year had many amazing acrobats, animals, and more.

I will say we left at intermission this year, because I was tired (I'm battling an ongoing cold) and I'm headed to Dearborn for a staycation starting today (follow along with #EcoTravelwithadoba!) and had to pack for that.

The following performances are still left, and you can buy tickets here - tickets start at $14:

Today (Thursday, 11/13) at 7:30pmFriday, 11/14 at 11am and 7:30pmSaturday, 11/15 at 11:30am, 3:30pm, and 7:30pmSunday, 11/16 at 1pm and 5pm

Acrobats and horses at the circus #RinglingInsider

Do you ha…

Yes/No Foods: Boneless Wings Taste Test, Sonic vs. Buffalo Wild Wings

*Disclosure: Sonic has sponsored this blog post. The opinions expressed, however, are my own.

I'm sure most of you have been to Buffalo Wild Wings for boneless wings, as it's a national chain. And perhaps you've been to Sonic as well. But did you know that Sonic now carries boneless wings?

I decided to put my old standby, B-dubs, to the test; but first, I started with Sonic's wings.

Although the closest Sonic to me is in Madison Heights, MI, I stopped by the Commerce Township location, as it's closest to my parents' place. I can vaguely recall doing drive-through there a while back, but I had not been to a Sonic in a long time.

I decided to get two orders of the new boneless wings: BBQ (covered in a sauce made with brown sugar) and the Asian Sweet Chili, made in a soy sauce with ginger, lemongrass, and spicy red pepper flakes. I did not try the Buffalo boneless wings, as I dislike sauces that are very spicy or hot.

I also got a "mini" size portion of …

GIVEAWAY: Rumors of War DVD {starring Ben Davies, Mac Powell, Eric Roberts}, ends 11/17

Rumors of War is being released on DVD tomorrow, November 11th, and you can win a copy here.

I haven't seen the movie yet, but the trailer looks pretty interesting. I'm a fan of war/action movies in general, too.

Official synopsis:
In the post apocalyptic future, Agent Shaw (Ben Davies, Courageous) works for the only surviving government working to bring order to a world full of decay and violence. Shaw offers little mercy to those that would stand in the way of the government’s edict, that everyone submit to an implanted chip that tracks their movements and purchases. He is certain that those “zealots” that would put their belief in God ahead of the beliefs of society, could lead the world back on the road toward destruction. The zealots need to be eliminated. But his faith was challenged when he found a small book in the rubble near one of the “rebel” encampments- the diary of young college student named Roxy (Jennifer Cooper), who was at the epicentre of the chip’s cr…

Movie Review: Interstellar

Confession: I usually don't write movie reviews for films I see after they've already hit theaters. I consider it a bit of a "break" for myself, and I wasn't planning on writing one for Interstellar either. However, a day later it's still stuck in my head, and it's a fantastic and ambitious piece of filmmaking that I wanted to share with you.

The plot is complex, but the basics are that a 30-something former NASA employee, Coop (Matthew McConaughey), now works as a farmer. Crops and food have been scarce and are needed for this dystopian world, where raging duststorms are prevalent. He lives with his father-in-law, Donald (John Lithgow), and his two children, Murphy (Mackenzie Foy, and later, Jessica Chastain) and Tom (Timothee Chalamet, and later, Casey Affleck). His wife passed away a few years ago due to a clot, which would have been found except there are no more MRI machines. 
Strange occurrences have been happening in Murph's room, with books fall…

Movie Review: Big Hero 6

I didn't even know Big Hero 6 was about a "robot" of sorts until recently - Baymax, the "robot" in question, is of course a big part of the trailer and movie poster, but he has one specific purpose that isn't shown as much. I also wasn't expecting much from the movie, but it ended up being very good, with fantastic 3D.

14-year-old Hiro Hamada (voiced by Ryan Potter) is a prodigy who graduated high school at age 13, and now prefers to do illegal 'bot racing in his spare time. His brother, Tadashi (Daniel Henney), is a student at the local tech university, where he and his "nerd" friends design all sorts of cool new tech. Tadashi inspires Hiro to design a project for the school's showcase, in which a young person will be selected to join the university, and Hiro's project goes over very well; however, later in the evening there is a fire at the school, and Hiro's life is forever changed.

Later, Hiro finds out that his project d…

Movie Review: Laggies

From its description, Laggies sounded like it could provide an interesting spin on the age-old dilemma of growing up uncertain of what you want to do with your life. Although I wanted more back story on the characters, the movie ended up being cute, though I unfortunately can't classify it as anything past a "fluffy romcom."

Megan (Keira Knightley) has hung out with the same group of friends since high school, including Allison (Ellie Kemper), who is engaged, another friend who is married and pregnant, and a third friend who is married. Megan is about 28 years old and lives with her boyfriend, Anthony (Mark Webber), whom she has been dating since her sophomore year of high school. She also doesn't really have any job prospects, even though she has an advanced degree in counseling, so she's currently the "sign girl" - twirling a sign around outside - for her dad's law firm. When Anthony proposes, Megan of course says yes, but internally is freaking …