Showing posts from April, 2016

Review and GIVEAWAY: Ken Sheldon Collection at Hallmark #LoveHallmark {ends 5/7}

*Disclosure: I received the products below from Hallmark, for review purposes. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

Mother's Day is around the corner - next Sunday, May 8th - and I recently received some Ken Sheldon Collection gifts from Hallmark to review, that I plan on gifting to my mom for the holiday.

This mug (which is so nice I want to keep it for myself!) says "All the love a heart can hold," and shows a mother with her baby. I could see this mug being ideal for a new mom this Mother's Day, or even an older mother whose children are grown up and maybe even have children of their own already.

GIVEAWAY: The Boy on Blu-ray + Digital HD {ends 5/6}

The Boy is out on Blu-ray/Digital HD combo pack on May 10th (and is already out on Digital HD!), and I have a copy for a lucky reader to win!

About the movie:
A young American woman uncovers the menacing nature of the English family she cares for in The Boy, a terrifying thriller debuting on Digital HD on April 26, 2016 and on Blu-ray, DVD, and On Demand on May 10, 2016, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. From Lakeshore Entertainment (Exorcism of Emily Rose and The Underworld Franchise) and STX Entertainment (The Gift, Secret in Their Eyes), the film is a frightening thrill ride directed by William Brent Bell (The Devil Inside) and starring Lauren Cohan (“The Walking Dead”).
Greta (Cohan) is a young American woman who takes a job as a nanny in a remote English village.  She soon discovers that the family’s 8-year-old is a life-sized doll that they care for just like a real boy, as a way to cope with the death of their son 20 years prior. After violating a list of strict rules, a…

Movie Review: Mother's Day

Garry Marshall is back with the holiday-themed Mother's Day. One of my very first movie reviews on this site, back in February 2010, was his other holiday movie, Valentine's Day, which I liked enough to give it a Yes review. However, New Year's Eve, which premiered in December 2011, was a huge flop, in my eyes - I gave it 2 out of 5 stars and a No review. Mother's Day sits in between these two, but is still enjoyable, especially for a matinee.

The cast in this one, predictably, has every big-name star you can think of, with intertwining story lines per usual. Sandy (Jennifer Aniston) is divorced from Henry (Timothy Olyphant) and they have two young boys; Henry has just impulsively remarried, to Tina (Shay Mitchell, Pretty Little Liars) whom Sandy describes as "a 12-year old." Sandy meets Bradley (Jason Sudeikis) in a Whole Foods-esque store, where he's embarrassingly buying tampons for his eldest daughter, since his wife (played in video flashbacks only…

Movie Review: Keanu

To be fair, I don't often watch Key & Peele on Comedy Central; however, even though the trailers for Keanu looked stupid, the screening was in my neighborhood, so I decided to attend. Half the people seemed to think this movie was genius and the other half thought it was ridiculously dumb - I unfortunately fall into that latter half.

The movie did have a cohesive plot: Rell (Jordan Peele) has just been dumped, and he's feeling a bit depressed. There's a noise by his front door, and when he opens it, a tiny kitten - whom he later names Keanu - is waiting for him. However, he doesn't know that the kitten used to belong to a drug lord, and that the men who killed him now want the kitten back; when he gets home one day, his place has been ransacked, and the kitten is gone. His friend Clarence (Keegan-Michael Key) agrees to help him to get Keanu back, and the path they take to find the kitten is an arduous one.

Michigan Theater hosts special screening of Prince's "Purple Rain"

The Michigan Theater (Ann Arbor, MI) has just announced that they will be hosting a special screening of Purple Rain to honor Prince, who passed away yesterday at the age of 57.

I've never actually seen Purple Rain, and this would be a great time to see it on the big screen.

More information:
Ann Arbor, MI – As the world mourns the musical artist Prince, the Michigan Theater invites his fans to join in celebrating his music and talent at a special screening of “Purple Rain” on Saturday, April 30 at 7 PM.

“Purple Rain” was Prince's film debut--about a young Minneapolis-based musician who finds himself at odds with his abusive parents, a musical rival, a romantic interest, and his own band as he struggles to make it as an artist--was a box-office smash when it was released in 1984, largely off the strength of the original soundtrack. Prince received two Grammys and an Oscar for the music underpinning the movie; the soundtrack also spent 24 consecutive weeks at #1 on the Billboard …

Movie Review - The Huntsman: Winter's War

The Huntsman: Winter's War is being billed as a prequel to Snow White and the Huntsman, which isn't entirely accurate - the beginning of the film is a prequel and the middle and end take place after Snow White, although we never see Kristen Stewart as Snow White, aside from flashbacks for the most part, because she was excluded from this movie. However, I found Winter's War to be just as enjoyable as the first Huntsman movie, and it's worth seeing for the special effects and costumes alone.

At the beginning of this installment, we meet Freya (Emily Blunt), sister of Ravenna (Charlize Theron), the evil queen from the first movie. Freya becomes pregnant with her lover's baby, and the lover is already engaged to another woman; he asked her to meet him in the garden at night, so they can run away together, but instead he kills the baby. Needless to say, this enrages Freya, and her powers are released - she then turns into the Ice Queen, and starts her own kingdom, away…

DVD Giveaway: When Calls the Heart: Troubled Hearts {ends 4/30, two winners!}

When Calls the Heart: Troubled Hearts is the second DVD in the third season of the When Calls the Heart series, and I have a copy for two of my lucky readers to win!

From celebrated author Janette Oke (The Love Comes Softly series) comes a rigorous and romantic adventure as epic as the wide frontier. Erin Krakow (Army Wives), Daniel Lissing (Eye Candy), Jack Wagner (Melrose Place) and Lori Loughlin (Full House, 90210) star in When Calls The Heart, “a beautiful story with roots in relationships, self-empowerment, and the enduring power of love” (Common Sense Media).

Big revelations are in store for Hope Valley as Elizabeth moves into her own rowhouse, dismaying Jack, who has been planning to build a new home for the both of them. Rosemary discovers that Lee has taken out a loan and worries that he is in financial difficulties. And Jesse, the young drifter who works in Abigail’s kitchen, has information that could ruin Pastor Frank’s good standing in Hope Valley, and begins his …

Beauty and the Beast at the Fox Theatre (Detroit), May 20-22 {and a ticket giveaway!}

*Disclosure: I am receiving tickets to the show in exchange for this post. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

I am super excited that Beauty and the Beast is coming to the Fox Theatre next month! It's one of my favorite Disney movies, but I have never seen the musical.

More info:
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, the award-winning worldwide smash hit Broadway musical, is coming to Detroit as part of the Fifth Third Bank Fox Theatre Series.  Produced by NETworks Presentations, this elaborate theatrical production will come to life on stage at the Fox Theatre from Friday, May 20 to Sunday, May 22.

Tickets (starting at $37.50) 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. Fifth Third Bank Fox Theatre season subscription packages up to 20% and discounts…

Burger 21 opens in Novi, Michigan {and a gift card giveaway!}

*Disclosure: I received a free meal at the soft opening of Burger 21 in exchange for this post. All opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

A friend told me that Burger 21 was opening in Novi, MI recently, and later I got the chance to check it out at its soft opening. Burger 21 is a chain restaurant, but Novi is its first Michigan locations, and they have hopes to expand in the next few years as well.

The interior of the restaurant was decorated very nicely, with modern designs. My parents and I sat in one of the booths, which could have comfortably sat four people, and I really liked the design of the booths. One of my favorite parts of the restaurant is the shake bar at the back (see pic, above) - it reminded me of an old-fashioned soda fountain, in drugstores, where people used to go to share shakes or sodas.

GIVEAWAY: Ride Along 2 on Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD combo pack {ends 4/25}

Ride Along 2 on Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD combo pack is being released on April 26th, but you could win yourself a copy here first!

More info:
Fasten your seatbelts and brace yourselves for another wild ride when Kevin Hart (Get Hard, The Wedding Ringer) and Ice Cube (22 Jump Street, Barbershop) return in the hilarious, action-packed comedy, Ride Along 2, coming to Digital HD on April 12, 2016, and Blu-ray™, DVD and On Demand on April 26, 2016, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. The Blu-ray™, DVD and Digital HD feature even more of the duo’s hysterical banter and explosive fun with deleted scenes, gag reel, never-before-seen bonus material, including a hilarious new recruitment video “Ride Along With Us” and “The Ride Diaries” with Kevin Hart and Ice Cube!

Ride Along 2 reunites the partners and brothers-in-law-to-be as they take on new crime in Miami. The absurdity quickly unfolds while tough cop and all-around cool guy James (Ice Cube) works to solve a major case with the mouth…

Movie Review - Barbershop: The Next Cut

This past weekend, I couldn't remember if I had seen any of the Barbershop films previously, so I watched Barbershop 2 on Xfinity on-demand. It had some laughs, and had me intrigued to see what they would do with the next installment. Barbershop: The Next Cut, aka Barbershop 3, follows the formula of its predecessors, but also is a little darker / addresses more "real world" issues, and was a fun movie to watch.

Most of the old crew is back in Barbershop 3, including Calvin (Ice Cube), Eddie (Cedric the Entertainer), Terri (Eve), Jimmy (Sean Patrick Hall, in a few cameo scenes), and more. Life is going on as usual at the barbershop, except that its located on the South side of Chicago, and the area has gotten a little rough; the shop now has gates in front of it that are closed at night, much like you'd see in a shopping mall. Calvin's son, Jalen (Michael Rainey Jr.) is now a teenager, and he and his friend Kenny have become mixed up with the wrong crowds, too; …

Movie Review: The Jungle Book (2016)

The original Jungle Book is, of course, the book by Rudyard Kipling, but many people are more familiar with the first Disney animated version of it, released in 1967. Disney is now back with this version, a live-action adaptation, and even though it only stars one human (Mowgli), the computer-generated animals in it are stunning.

Mowgli (newcomer Neel Sethi) is a "man cub," who was raised by wolves in the jungle after Bagheera (voiced by Ben Kingsley), a panther, found him abandoned there. He has been brought up by wolves, and encouraged to act like them, but he still uses human "tricks," as Bagheera calls them, to get by. Everything is peaceful in the jungle, for the most part, until the tiger Shere Khan (Idris Elba) appears; he wants to kill the man cub, for reasons that are revealed later in the film, and demands that the wolves turn Mowgli over to him. The wolves refuse, and they and Bagheera agree that Mowgli should get back to the "man village," w…

Movie Review: Criminal

I've yet to see Kevin Costner in a "bad guy" role, so Criminal was interesting to me in that regard - he's a hardened convict, but at the same time his brain was slightly damaged as a child, so he doesn't know right from wrong. All that changes, however, after a murdered CIA agent's memories are implanted into Costner's brain.

Bill Pope (Ryan Reynolds) is running out of time. He eventually gets caught by Heimbahl (Jordi MollĂ ), a Spanish anarchist, who pumps him for information and then murders him. Dr. Franks (Tommy Lee Jones), a scientist, has been experimenting for eighteen years with implanting memories from mammals into other mammals, and CIA agent Quaker Wells (Gary Oldman) calls him: he wants him to implant Pope's memories into a convict, Jericho Stewart (Costner), who is rare in that he had frontal lobe damage as a child (therefore, implanting the memories wouldn't "tape over" any of his own). Once the surgery happens, Stewart p…

GIVEAWAY: 4-pack of tickets for The Sound of Music, 5/10 at the Fisher Theatre, Detroit {ends 4/16}

The hills are aliiiiiiive .... with the Sound of Music!

Back in early March, I wrote a post about The Sound of Music coming to Detroit this May, and now I have a chance for one of my lucky readers to win a 4-pack of tickets!

The four-pack of tickets are for the Tuesday, May 10th show, at 8pm at the Fisher Theatre. 

About the show:
THE SOUND OF MUSIC enjoyed extraordinary success as the first live television production of a musical in over 50 years when “The Sound of Music Live!” aired on NBC in December, 2013; 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the film version, which continues to be the most successful movie musical in history. The spirited, romantic and beloved musical story of Maria and the Von Trapp Family will once again thrill audiences with such songs as “My Favorite Things,” “Do-Re-Mi,” “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” “Edelweiss” and the title song.

How to purchase tickets:
Performance times for THE SOUND OF MUSIC appearing May 10-22, 2016 at The Fisher Theatre, located at 3011 W. Grand…

Movie Review: Demolition

Demolition is definitely a quirky movie and parts of it are slow-paced, but I ended up enjoying it for the most part. It's more of an indie role for Jake Gyllenhaal, and Naomi Watts is great here as well.

Davis (Gyllenhaal) is driving with his wife, Julia (Heather Lind), when they get hit from the side; she dies, and he escapes relatively unscathed. He's back at his job in investments quicker than he should be, where his father-in-law (Chris Cooper) is his boss. He knows he should be sad about Julia's death, but for some reason he doesn't feel anything at all - except the need to take apart things, like computers and bathroom stalls and cappuccino machines.

Something has broken loose in Davis, and when he deposits $1.25 into a vending machine at the hospital, and his peanut M&Ms get stuck in the machine, he writes a series of very personal letters to the vending company; where Karen (Naomi Watts), in the customer service department, eventually calls him to see if …

Movie Review: The Boss

I had pretty low expectations for The Boss going in because I thought this might be a movie where all of the jokes had already been revealed in the trailer. However, I ended up being pleasantly surprised, as The Boss kept new jokes coming, and was actually a very funny comedy film.

Michelle Darnell (Melissa McCarthy) had a hard life. She grew up an orphan who was adopted by several families, only to be returned every time to the convent/girls school in which she grew up. Fast-forward to years later, and she's now a successful CEO, with multiple mergers under her belt. Her ex-lover, Renault (Peter Dinklage), who is now a business competitor, is fed up of her "winning" all the time, though, and he reports her insider trading to the FCC; consequently, she's sent to jail for five months. When she gets out, all of her assets have been seized, and she needs to find a new way to make it in the business world - and she decides that the way to do that is to start Darnell…