Friday, April 14, 2017

Movie Review: The Fate of the Furious

Movie Review: The Fate of the Furious

Let's get one thing straight: people don't see Fast and the Furious movies for the dialogue or plot. This is abundantly clear here, in the eighth movie of the series, but I will say this: these movies are entertaining, and the stunts are ridiculously crazy and fun to watch.

The film opens in Cuba, where Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his new wife, Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), are on their honeymoon. He stops on the street one day to help a woman who is having car problems (Charlize Theron), only to find out that she knows who he is - and she wants him to work for her, thus double-crossing his own team. We later find out that she has quite a compelling reason for him to switch sides, but his team doesn't know this - they only know he crossed them. Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), Letty, Deckard (Jason Statham), Roman (Tyrese Gibson), and Tej Parker (Ludacris) must again reunite in order to stop Dom and Cipher (Theron) from stealing Russian nukes, which in her hands would be quite dangerous.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Movie Review: Gifted

Movie Review: Gifted

I had been looking forward to seeing Gifted, since I had been hearing great reviews, and I was not disappointed - with an excellent cast and an interesting plot, the movie is very good.

Mary Adler (Mckenna Grace) lives with her uncle, Frank (Chris Evans), in a small apartment in Florida. She's best friends with her neighbor, Roberta (Octavia Spencer), and at 6 1/2 years old, she will be attending school for the first time. However, when she gets there, she finds herself quite bored - because Mary is a gifted child, especially in mathematics, and the other first graders are learning how to do simple problems like 2+2. Mary's teacher, Bonnie (Jenny Slate), immediately realizes this, and speaks to Frank about it; what she doesn't know, however, is that Mary's mother died when she was a baby, and Frank, as her uncle, has been her caretaker since then.

Frank also hasn't been in touch with his mother, Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan), since she turned her back on Mary's mother when she got pregnant, but all of a sudden, Evelyn resurfaces: and she wants custody of Mary, whom she had not even met until now.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Review and GIVEAWAY: The Murder-Mystery Company, Eastpointe & Livonia, MI {ends 4/18}

Review and GIVEAWAY: The Murder-Mystery Company, Eastpointe, MI
*Disclosure: I received two VIP tickets to attend this event. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

Although I have been to a murder-mystery party at a friend's house before, I had never been to an "official" murder-mystery dinner, so I was excited to try out The Murder-Mystery Company's show in Eastpointe, MI this past weekend.

Review and GIVEAWAY: The Murder-Mystery Company, Eastpointe, MI

We arrived at Eastpointe Manor around 6:30 - technically, the line starts at 6:30 for VIP ticket holders, which we were, and 6:40 for non-VIP. When we arrived, however, there was already a line, so make sure to arrive early if you attend a show.

Review and GIVEAWAY: The Murder-Mystery Company, Eastpointe, MI

Monday, April 10, 2017

GIVEAWAY: Digital download of The Young Pope {2 winners, ends 4/17}

GIVEAWAY: Digital download of The Young Pope

HBO's limited series The Young Pope is available for digital download today, and will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on June 6th. Read on to see how you can win a digital download! 

I haven't seen this series but the cast looks great - Jude Law and Diane Keaton in particular.

GIVEAWAY: Digital download of The Young Pope

About the series:
Starring two-time Academy Award® nominee Jude Law and Academy Award® winner Diane Keaton, the “superb” (Rolling Stone) HBO® limited series The Young Pope is yours to own on Digital Download April 10, 2017 and on Blu-ray and DVD June 6th, 2017. The series, which delves in to the life of a newly elected pope (Law) – the youngest in history and first-ever American – whose audacity, independence and arch-conservatism wreaks havoc within the Vatican. Heralded by critics as “dazzling, riveting” (TV Guide), The Young Pope on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Download includes all ten episodes of the limited series and three special features including an exclusive new “The Making of The Young Pope” featurette. The Blu-ray and DVD release also include a free Digital Download copy.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Movie Review: Going in Style (2017)

Movie Review: Going in Style (2017)

Ocean's 11 meets AARP in the newest heist movie, featuring three old-timers who you most likely have heard a bit about: Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Alan Arkin. I didn't know this before seeing it, but it's apparently based on a 1979 movie of the same name; IMDb's synopsis of that film is "Three friends who are living on the dole decide to organize a bank robbery," which is accurate for this version as well.

Willie (Freeman), Joe (Caine), and Albert (Arkin) aren't rich, but they get by on their pensions from the steel mill where they worked. Willie is sick and goes in for infusions, but Joe and Albert don't know that - he's been keeping it a secret. Joe, however, is about to lose his house, because the interest rates on his mortgage just went way up, and when he goes to the bank to talk to them about it, he finds himself in the middle of a bank robbery. Buoyed by how easy the robbery was, and disgruntled at the recent loss of their pensions, he suggests to his friends that they too could rob a bank - and to make it personal, they could rob their own bank, which didn't want to cut Joe a break on his inflated mortgage payment.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

TV review (Netflix): 13 Reasons Why, a must-see show about teens, bullying, and suicide

TV review: 13 Reasons Why, on Netflix
all images from ew.com
I'm not usually a "binge watcher" when it comes to TV shows - I like to savor a show, especially if we know it only has a limited number of episodes (ie, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, also on Netflix). However, I started watching 13 Reasons Why on Saturday, and just finished it last night, three days later.

The show is based on the book of the same name, by Jay Asher, which I remember liking, but apparently gave 2 out of 5 stars to on Goodreads, in 2011. They've made a few changes from the book, too, which you can read about here, and I eventually want to reread the book when I have time.

TV review: 13 Reasons Why, on Netflix

About the show (Wiki synopsis):
Hannah Baker, a high school student, dies by suicide. Two weeks later, Clay Jensen, one of her closest friends, finds a package on his doorstep containing 13 audio cassettes made by Hannah explaining the 13 reasons why she killed herself, and Clay is one of them. In order to find out how he fits in, Clay must listen to the tapes. But doing so may reveal a disturbing secret about Hannah, as well as some of his classmates, that Clay isn't ready for. Meanwhile, his classmates featured on these tapes set out to keep their secrets hidden, by any means necessary.

The TV series was probably one of the best teen series I've seen on TV (including Netflix) in a long time.

Starting from episode 1, we know that Hannah Baker has committed suicide. I read a review of the series that said something like "it's not fair for Netflix to make us fall in love with a dead girl," and I'd agree with that - overall, I liked Hannah as a person, though I have some nitpicking to do too (see below). She and her friend Clay are the two main characters in the show, even though Clay was more of an acquaintance to Hannah than a friend - they worked at the same movie theater together, but she had many secrets that Clay didn't know about.

Teens here are depicted very realistically - they swear, they drink at parties, and they're mean to each other in the hallways of their high school. Although the teen cast is mostly unrecognizable, movie fans may recognize Clay (Dylan Minnette) from Goosebumps, Prisoners, or TV's Scandal, and I definitely recognized Derek Luke, as one of the high school administrators, from Antwone Fisher; he was in TV's Empire, as well.

TV review: 13 Reasons Why, on Netflix

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Restaurant review and GIVEAWAY: Brunch at The Morrie, Royal Oak {ends 4/15}

Restaurant review and GIVEAWAY: Brunch at The Morrie, Royal Oak
*Disclosure: I was provided with brunch from The Morrie in exchange for this post. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

This was my fourth time at The Morrie—I've been twice during Royal Oak Restaurant Week, and one other time as a blogger—but the first time for brunch! I'm not really a "brunch girl" (my standard is cashew milk and Honey Nut Cheerios for breakfast) but I do sometimes enjoy going out on a Saturday or Sunday for it.

We had a group of about 12 bloggers, all eager to try The Morrie's brunch menu. I think a lot of people don't realize that The Morrie does brunch on Saturdays, since it wasn't very full at the time (11 am), but I've heard that on Sundays it's packed! I recommend going on a Saturday, then, to avoid the crowds.

Restaurant review and GIVEAWAY: Brunch at The Morrie, Royal Oak

I don't usually eat eggs, but everything else on the brunch menu sounded good. I ended up going with the Nashville Hot Chicken & Waffle Stack ($13), with a smoked cheddar biscuit ($3) on the side. I also started off with a mimosa ($10) and The Morrie even has bottomless mimosas ($20), served in a carafe, if you are so inclined.