Thursday, May 23, 2013
I was a little wary of seeing The Hangover Part III, because Part II was very formulaic and pretty much followed the first Hangover movie to a T; only the location was different (Thailand, instead of Vegas). Diehard fans of the series may complain that Part III is very different from the other two movies and aims to be more narrative-based (ie, like a "real" movie) than going for "shock value," but I was pleasantly surprised with how the movie turned out, and it manages to keep funny moments throughout.
Alan (Zack Galifianakis) has been off his meds and out of control lately. He buys a giraffe and drives it home on the freeway ... but, sadly, giraffes are tall and there are a few low-hanging bridges, so that was not the best idea. His father (Jeffrey Tambor) then dies of a heart attack shortly after, and Alan's sister (Sasha Barrese) and the Wolfpack (Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Justin Bartha) decide to stage an intervention, in the hopes of convincing him to go to a rehab program. He agrees to go if his friends drive him there, but on the way there, they get carjacked by a man named Marshall (John Goodman), who wants to know where Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong) is, as Chow stole half of his money, in gold bars. Marshall keeps Doug (Bartha) as a hostage, and demands that the rest of the Wolfpack find Mr. Chow and deliver him to Marshall. What ensues is an interesting, albeit not as crazy as the previous movies, trip through the desert, where they eventually end up in - you guessed it - Las Vegas.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
First, a bit about the movie:
(synopsis credit: movieinsider.com)
Copperhead is the story of Abner Beech, a stubborn and righteous farmer of Upstate New York, who defies his neighbors and his government in the bloody and contentious autumn of 1862. Far from the Virginia battlefields whose names etch our history, the war of Copperhead visits the devastation and unimaginable loss of a civil war upon a family and a community whose strength and very existence are tested by fire, rope, knife, and betrayal. This is the Civil War come home. With Copperhead, director Ron Maxwell, who with Gettysburg and Gods and Generals established himself as our foremost cinematic interpreter of the American Civil War, takes on the War from a stunning and unexpected and richly, unforgettably humanist angle.
2013 is the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and the Battle of Gettysburg, and it's a great time to learn more about the War and what happened during it. Copperhead is a film that the whole family can enjoy.
Check out the widget below to learn more about the movie and the history of the Civil War, as well as testing your Civil War knowledge:
The winner of the giveaway will receive an official Copperhead movie pack, which includes:
- Official Copperhead Movie Poster hand signed by Director/Producer Ron Maxwell (Gettysburg, Gods and Generals) (27 X 40)
- The Copperhead Official Companion Book [Author: Harold Frederic]
- Movie Theater Cash [Valid for 1 Movie Admission]
Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Contest ends on Monday, May 27th, at 11:59pm EST, and winner will be contacted on May 28th and have 24 hours to respond to my email, or an alternate winner will be chosen. Prize will be sent via FedEx or UPS - no P.O. Boxes, please. U.S. / Canada only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Monday, May 20, 2013
My friends and I - all in our mid-20s - set out early Saturday morning from the Detroit area, and it was only about a 2-hour ride to Sandusky. Our first stop was Ghostly Manor, and we then had to decide which of its four activities we wanted to experience first.
|Wizard's Journey 3D mini golf|
Ghostly Manor offers:
- Wizard's Journey 3D mini-golf (yes, you read that correctly - 3D!)
- XD4D Motion Theater
- Skating Rink
- Haunted House
- Bounce House
Ghostly Manor is a "thrill center" and is known in the area for its haunted house. I hate scary movies and am not a huge haunted house fan either, but my friends and I decided we had to try that first. I made the one guy in our group go into the house first, and from there we journeyed through the "house," having a sometimes scary, but mostly fun experience. The house has actors that will pop out at you randomly - it might actually be the same actor, who trails you throughout the house - and will definitely make you jump more than once. The rooms are themed, and there are some that are pitch black which add to the scariness.
|The outside of Ghostly Manor|
From there we took part in the 4D motion theater - it's 4D because the seats you are in move around throughout the short film. There are five movies you can choose and we chose the Canyon Coaster, which was very Indiana Jones-like.
After the motion theater, we did the 3D mini golf, which definitely interesting! It was hard to gauge where the golf ball needed to go with the 3D glasses on, but the walls and sometimes the floor often "pop out" at you, which was fun.
Overall, we had a blast at Ghostly Manor, and would definitely return! There were a few birthday parties going on when we were there, too, and it would be a great place to have a kids' party or even a skating party for any ages. In October, the Manor will have the Lake Eerie Fearfest, which will include five haunted houses for $25 - only $5 per house! I'm sure Ghostly Manor gets busy around Halloween time, but it's a great place to visit all-year round, too - all of its activities are indoors, so it would be ideal during cold weather months too.
Prices for Ghostly Manor can be found on its website - you can either pay a la carte for the activities (ie, the haunted house is $11) or you can get a Thrill Pass, which in my opinion is the best deal: $25 for the haunted house, mini golf, motion theater, and roller skating (skate rental being extra). Click here to see more photos from my day there.
Ghostly Manor has been kind enough to offer me four VIP tickets to give away! Each includes the activities I experienced: the haunted house, mini golf, 4D motion theater, and roller skating. I'm also tossing in some coupons for the African Safari Wildlife Park, a drive-through safari experience that was also pretty awesome - the animals come right up to your car.
Contest will end next Tuesday, May 28th at 11:59pm EST, and winner will be emailed on May 29th and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen. U.S. addresses only, please.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
*Disclosure: I was provided with an all-access pass to Ghostly Manor, as well as a one-night hotel stay, tickets to the African Safari Wildlife park, and some other goodies in exchange for this review. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.
PS ... this commercial is scarier than the haunted house was, in my opinion!
Though the house is also pretty scary. :)
Friday, May 17, 2013
I didn't know much about The Iceman going in to it, except that it's based on the true story of Richard Kuklinski, a contract killer, whose wife and daughter didn't know his true profession until he was arrested in 1986. However, fantastic acting performances make this a great movie that is definitely worth seeing.
Kuklinski (Michael Shannon) works as a dubber for porn movies, although when he meets his girlfriend, Deborah (Winona Ryder), who will later be his wife and the mother of his two daughters, he tells her he's a dubber for Disney cartoons. When the porn shop gets invaded by gangster Roy Demeo (Ray Liotta), Roy tells Richard that if he wants to, he can work for him as a contract killer. Earlier in the movie, Richard killed someone he was unhappy with, just because the guy made him angry, so we know that even though he appears to be mild-mannered, he's definitely got a dark side; the money is good, too, so Richard accepts the job. When he leaves a teenage girl at a crime scene as a witness, Roy gets angry with Richard and tells him he's retired, and can't work for any other gangsters too; Richard eventually disobeys Roy and starts partnering with Mr. Freezy (Chris Evans), who owns an ice cream cart where he also stores the bodies he's killed and frozen. Richard's family is never the wiser to all of this, but then a series of unlucky events happen, and things starts to go downhill for Richard.
Friday, May 10, 2013
The Great Gatsby has lived as many previous incarnations, but its newest is directed by Baz Luhrmann, known for such lavish spectacles as Moulin Rouge and Romeo + Juliet (1996), which Leonardo DiCaprio also starred in. I really liked Luhrmann's version, however, and it brings a certain amount of glitz to the story that was previously missing in film adaptations.
Jay Gatsby (DiCaprio) lives in West Egg (Long Island) and is known for throwing fantastic parties. But the man himself is a mystery; not many people have met the host behind all of these fabulous soirees. Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), a writer-turned-stock-broker, lives in a tiny cottage next to the Gatsby estate, and one day receives a handwritten invitation to Gatsby's next party. He arrives at Gatsby's with his invitation in hand, only to find out that he was the only one who received an invitation - everyone else from the area knows to just show up. He meets Gatsby, and later in the film Gatsby has a request for him: to invite Nick's cousin Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan), a married woman, to tea, so that he can be reunited with her. Five years ago, when Gatsby was an officer in the war, they were deeply in love, but she later married Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton), a rich man, when she found out Gatsby was penniless.
We later find out that everything - the house, the riches, the whole persona - was for Daisy, as Gatsby, who is very naive, always believed he would win her back. And for a time, he does: they have a summer affair at his place, while her husband Tom continued to carry on with his mistress, Myrtle (Isla Fisher), and no one is the wiser. But when he decides that Daisy should leave her husband for him, a series of unfortunate events happens, and things only get worse from there.
Changez, pronounced "Chan-GHEZ" (Riz Ahmed) is living the American dream. He moves to the U.S. to pursue a Princeton education, and then snags a coveted spot as an analyst at a top New York firm, where he works for Jim Cross (Kiefer Sutherland) who quickly promotes him to an associate. He meets and falls in love with Erica (Kate Hudson), a photographer and artist, and he wants to plan a future with her. After 9/11 happens, however, he must deal with much prejudice; on the way home from a business trip with Jim and another colleague, he is pulled aside at the airport and taken to a back room, where he is strip-searched. In another situation, he finds his tires slashed and has an expletive said to him by a white man. Changez soon finds himself disillusioned with America, and he quits his job and moves back to Pakistan, since his work visa is no longer valid.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist opens in 2011, ten years later, with Changez now working as a professor, with Bobby (Liev Schreiber) questioning him as to his involvement, if any, with the kidnapping of one of Changez's colleagues, an American. The people that Bobby work for believe that Changez or his family is involved in the kidnapping, and Bobby tries to talk to Changez, who ends up telling him his entire story.
Friday, May 3, 2013
We last saw Tony Stark in The Avengers, but he's now back in an Iron Man-only movie, Iron Man 3. Although the film makes repeated references to events that happened in the previous movie, this film can definitely be on its own without seeing the others; for those that are familiar with the series, however, it may just be its best movie yet.
Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) now lives with his girlfriend, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), who has recently moved in with him to his California mansion. A new "bad guy," called The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), has been bombing the U.S., however, and soon he goes too far: one of Tony's friends and his former bodyguard, Happy (Jon Favreau), is injured in one of the blasts, and Tony Stark vows vengeance on the Mandarin on live TV, going so far as to giving his address and challenging the Mandarin to seek him out. Needless to say, that wasn't a smart idea, and Stark and Pepper soon find themselves struggling for their lives as his house is bombed from helicopters in the air. After that, Stark is convinced that there's something more to the story, and he goes off on an adventure to seek more info, with a little boy named Harley (Ty Simpkins) as his guide.