Friday, October 31, 2014

Movie Review: Nightcrawler

Nightcrawler looked to be an intriguing premise from its trailer, but it turned out to be maybe the best movie I've seen in quite some time, largely thanks to Jake Gyllenhaal's performance in it. This is perhaps the first time I've seen him play a creepy and dislikeable character, and, surprisingly, he excels at it.

Louis Bloom (Gyllenhaal) lives in a tiny apartment in the L.A. area, and is in need of money. He "collects" (aka steals) scrap metal and other parts to sell to junkyard owners, and anything else valuable he comes across. One night, however, he drives by a fiery traffic accident, and sees freelance video people taking videos of it, which they later plan to sell to the news networks. Louis starts doing this as well, and eventually hires an assistant, Rick (Riz Ahmed), originally as an "intern" - Rick gets paid $30 per night to help navigate for Louis. As time goes on, Louis gets better and better at being a "nightcrawler" - and also more cocky.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Fundraiser and GIVEAWAY {ends 11/8}: Outback + Detroit Zoo "Give Back Night" on 11/6

Hey, movie fans!

Outback is hosting the Detroit Zoological Society's Give Back Night Fundraiser this Thursday, November 6th, 2014. If you dine at Outback that night, and say "Zoo Night" to your server, 15% of your total check will be donated to the Detroit Zoo - definitely a great organization.

Click here to find the closest Outback location to you.

Some movie + Outback pairings that I suggest (Outback is great either before or after a movie!):
-AMC John R + Madison Heights Outback
-Emagine Novi and Novi Outback
-Emagine Rochester Hills and Rochester Outback

I also have a giveaway - one of my lucky readers will win a $20 gift certificate to Outback!

GIVEAWAY: 5 pairs of tickets for Elsa & Fred, 11/4 at the Maple Theater {Detroit area}, ends 11/2

The Maple Theater will be screening Elsa and Fred on November 4th at 7:30pm, 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.

The cast in this film looks great, with Shirley MacLaine and Christopher Plummer as the leads, and Marcia Gay Harden in a supporting role.

{to purchase tickets ahead of time for the movie, click here}

Official synopsis:
ELSA AND FRED is the story of two people who, at the end of the road, discover that it's never too late to love. After losing his wife, Fred (Christopher Plummer) feels disturbed, confused and alone, so his daughter (Marcia Gay Harden) helps move him into a small apartment where he meets Elsa (Shirley MacLaine). From that moment on, everything changes. Elsa bursts into Fred’s life like a whirlwind, determined to teach him that the time he has left to live—be it more or less—is precious and that he should enjoy it as he pleases. - Millennium Entertainment

Friday, October 24, 2014

Event Review: Walker Stalker Con, Atlanta #WSCAtlanta #TheWalkingDead

*Disclosure: I attended this event as a member of the media. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

I started watching The Walking Dead in May 2013, because one of the executive producers, Gale Ann Hurd, was speaking at BlogHer. I expected to watch a few episodes of it and then be done, because I dislike gore and horror.


The pilot itself (which I rewatched in Atlanta this year, actually) was so good, especially for a pilot, and I was hooked immediately. Flash-forward to this month, when I'm now completely caught up on the show, and I was able to attend Walker Stalker Con in Atlanta, where my friend who hooked me onto the show lives.

The convention was definitely an interesting experience. I have been to three different BlogHer's (a blogging convention) and other types of cons, but never a fan convention. I expected a ton of people dressed up as zombies, but did not expect to see people dressed like the show's characters:

Rick Grimes - or is it? ;)
The "cast" of the Walking Dead

CD Review and $10 Family Christian Appreciation Certificate GIVEAWAY: Polka Christmas Party, ends 11/2

*Disclosure: I received the Polka Christmas Party CD for reviewing purposes. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

I'll admit it: I'm a bit of a grinch not that enthusiastic about Christmas music most of the time. I have a good reason for it, though: radio stations seem to start playing Christmas music earlier and earlier every year, and I actually heard some playing at my local Walmart a MONTH ago, back in September. Way too early!

However, I otherwise enjoy Christmas music, and the Polka Christmas Party CD puts a new twist on it by adding a Polka spin to it.

A bit about the musician:

Craig Duncan is no stranger to the Nashville music community. His talents on violin, fiddle, hammered dulcimer, mandolin, guitar, bass, and viola can be heard on numerous Nashville recordings. A graduate of Appalachian State University and Tennessee State University, Craig is a member of the North American Fiddler's Hall of Fame and Who's Who in Music and Musicians. In addition to his recording credits, Craig Duncan has written over 30 music instruction publications for Mel Bay Public. 

CD Track Listing:

Jingle Bells
Happy Holiday/Holiday Season
The Merry Christmas Polka (Webster/Burke)
Mele Kalikimaka
Joy To The World
Silver Bells
Sleigh Ride
A Holly Jolly Christmas
We Need A Little Christmas
Here Comes Santa Claus
The Merry Christmas Polka (Phelps)
Frosty The Snowman
Jolly Old St Nicholas
Christmas Time Is Here
Overall, I enjoyed the CD - I popped it into the CD player of my car and took some "Christmas" with me - even, yes, this early in the season.

My favorite tracks were #2 (Happy Holiday/Holiday Season) and #4 (Mele Kalikimaka), because they were different than any other Christmas music I've heard before - more of an "old world" / "old time" feel, which I liked.

You can win a $10 Family Christian appreciation certificate (like a gift certificate) here on my blog, as well, and use it to buy this CD or whatever else you would like.

Movie Review: John Wick

At age 50, Keanu Reeves proves he's still "got it" in John Wick, a film that's low on plot but keeps the action moving consistently throughout. There seem to be an influx of "retirement movies" recently, where a retired agent or bad guy will come out of retirement to fulfill a certain goal, and John Wick in the genre; in this case, however, it's a certain string of events that provoke John into returning to his hitman days.

John Wick's (Reeves') wife has just passed away, and one day he receives a special delivery: a puppy, sent from her when she knew she was getting sick. John treasures this puppy, since it's one last connection to his wife. While at a gas station one day, John runs in to some thugs, who are coveting his vintage automobile; one of the thugs asks "How much?" and John says it's not for sale. The thugs don't like that, and later break into his house and steal the car, among other things. However, they had no idea that John used to be a hitman, and in fact worked with the mafia kingpin father of one of the thugs, and they soon find out they chose the wrong guy to beat and rob.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

GIVEAWAY: Joy (Iesodo) on DVD, ends 10/30

I gave away Faith in the Iesodo series back in March, and now Joy has just been released and one of my lucky readers will win a copy.


(Yay-Sa-Doe) is a wise white dove whose name means “The Way of Jesus.” He and his feathered friends bring your favorite New Testament stories to life in a whole new way including this special re-imagining of the Nativity story. Let your heart take flight and tweet along to holiday carols and all-new songs!

Festivities are in full swing as the flock prepares to celebrate Iesodo's birthday! The Cypress Tree is decked out with holly berries and excitement is in the air. Everyone gathers as Rocky shares the incredible story of Iesodo's birth.

Iesodo and his feathered friends bring your favorite New Testament stories to life in a whole new way. Iesodo (pronounced Yay-Sa-Doe) and his friends live in the Holy Land, in a beautiful Cypress Tree on the shores of a vast Lake (or as we know it, the Sea of Galilee). These birds are an unlikely group of friends, and though they have their differences, they have one thing in common: since they met Iesodo, their lives have never been the same. Now they’re out to spread his message of hope to the entire bird world!