Thursday, December 26, 2013

Movie Review: The Wolf of Wall Street

Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill

Could this be it, the movie that finally wins Leo DiCaprio his Oscar? The Wolf of Wall Street, based on the novel of the same name by Jordan Belfort, the "Wolf" in question, makes it seem like Leo should at least get an Oscar nomination for the role; however, the Academy has snubbed him in the past, so we'll have to see. He's already secured a SAG Award nomination as well as a Golden Globe nom, and after seeing this movie, he more than deserves an Oscar nomination for it.

Jordan Belfort (DiCaprio) starts as a trader on Wall Street in October 1987, the same month and year of a major crash. When his firm closes, he takes a job at a tiny place in a strip mall, wheeling and dealing "penny stocks": stocks that sell for pennies and probably will not make their buyers any money. He soon strikes out with Donnie (Jonah Hill) and they create their own firm out of the garage of an auto shop; Belfort eventually gets rich, expands the firm, and is living the high life, until the FBI's Patrick Denham (Kyle Chandler) starts investigating him. Belfort's personal life starts unraveling as well: things aren't good at home, with his second wife (Margot Robbie) and his drug addiction has gotten out of control. Belfort has to decide whether he will turn himself in to the FBI and take a plea bargain - also involving stepping down at his firm - or continue thumbing his nose at the FBI and taking the punishment for whatever crimes for which they can prosecute him.

Movie Review: Grudge Match

Robert De Niro, Sylvester Stallone, Alan Arkin

Grudge Match has a stellar cast, and it was fun to see Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro duke it out, as boxing rivals who haven't fought each other in thirty years. I haven't seen Kim Basinger on a screen in a while as well, and Jon Bernthal (Shane from Walking Dead!) plays De Niro's son. Alan Arkin also has a great part as Stallone's former trainer, who agrees to train him for the upcoming match, dubbed "Grudgement Day."

Billy "The Kid" McDonnen (De Niro) and Henry "Razor" Sharp (Stallone) each lost one boxing match in their careers, to each other. There was a third match that was supposed to occur, but Razor suddenly announced his retirement from boxing, and the match never happened. Thirty years later, The Kid and Razor run in to each other at a video studio, where they're recording movements and voicings for a video game depicting them, and they start fighting; one of the employees posts the video on YouTube and it goes viral. Dante Slate Jr. (Kevin Hart) convinces both of them to participate in "Grudgement Day," where their 3rd and final match will finally happen, but before that day they both need to deal with many unresolved issues, including the woman that The Kid slept with who used to be Razor's girlfriend (Basinger) and The Kid's now-son and grandson.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Movie Review: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)

Ben Stiller, 2013 movie review

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
is actually a remake of the 1947 movie of the same name, which was based on a 1939 short story by James Thurber. It was in a book called My World and Welcome to It, which was then turned into a one-season TV show, from 1969-70. This version of Walter has an all-star cast, of which it makes ample use, and it's definitely one of the more unique movies I've seen this year.

Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) works in negative assets protection at Life magazine, meaning that he is in charge of all the photograph negatives that come through the building. Life has just announced that it will be moving to an online publication, and the person facilitating this transition (Adam Scott) wants the newest Sean O'Connell photograph from him for the cover of the last ever issue of Life. There's one problem, though: Walter never received that photo from Sean O'Connell, and Sean is nowhere to be found. With the help of his coworker Cheryl (Kristen Wiig), they track him to Greenland, and Walter makes an impulsive decision to jump on a plane and fly there in the hopes of finding Sean and the missing photograph negative.

Monday, December 23, 2013

TICKET GIVEAWAY: Jump, 12/31 at the Maple Theater (Detroit area) - 5 winners

Detroit movie giveaway
The Gathr film series giveaways continue this week, with the last film of the year! Jump will be playing on Tuesday, December 31st, at 7:30pm at the Maple Theater (Bloomfield Hills, MI) - it would make a great night out before or after your New Year's Eve celebration.

Film synopsis:
This New Year is going off with a bang!

Jump follows the lives of four twenty-something's whose lives collide one fateful New Year's Eve in a night of fast talk, wild coincidence and intrigue. The unseen yet crucial occurrence of this tale is the strange disappearance of Eddie Kelly, which hangs over the city like a dark cloud. A wayward corpse and the busy intrigue of New Year's Eve all compose the jigsaw puzzle of this out of sequence, multi-stranded story. And as the night's events expertly fall into place, Jump weaves an existential portrait of our characters' lives as their hopes, fears and secrets are revealed.




GIVEAWAY:

Enter via the Rafflecopter form below. The ticket giveaway will end this Sunday, December 29th at 11:59pm EST, and winners will be notified the morning of December 30th. Winners must respond within 24 hours or other winner(s) will be chosen. Tickets are in PDF form and will be emailed to winners, who may print two tickets each (one for you + one for a guest).

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, December 22, 2013

GIVEAWAY: Legend of Hercules poster, autographed by Kellen Lutz - ends 1/4/14

Legend of Hercules contest

The Legend of Hercules hits theaters on January 10th, 2014, and I have a poster you can win - signed by Twilight's Kellen Lutz, who plays Hercules in the movie!

About the movie:
In the epic origin story THE LEGEND OF HERCULES, Kellan Lutz stars as the mythical Greek hero -- the son of Zeus, a half-god, half-man blessed with extraordinary strength. Betrayed by his stepfather, the King, and exiled and sold into slavery because of a forbidden love, Hercules must use his formidable powers to fight his way back to his rightful kingdom. Through harrowing battles and gladiator-arena death matches, Hercules embarks on a legendary odyssey to overthrow the King and restore peace to the land.

First, check out the widget below:




GIVEAWAY:

Enter via the Rafflecopter form below. Contest ends on Saturday, January 4th, 2014 and winner will be emailed on January 5 and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen. Prize will be sent via FedEx or USPS - no P.O. Boxes, please. U.S. and Canada residents only.

Each household is only eligible to win ONE Autographed Poster via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, December 20, 2013

Movie Review: Saving Mr. Banks

Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks

Saving Mr. Banks
is based on the true story of Walt Disney's fight to acquire the rights to Mary Poppins from author P.L. Travers. Travers and Walt Disney (the actual man, not the company) went back and forth for about twenty years before Travers finally sold the rights to him, and their relationship is included in the movie. Although the film isn't entirely historically accurate, it is a great movie, and I was surprised by how much I liked it.

The movie jumps between the past, when P.L. Travers flies to L.A. from London to negotiate Mary Poppins, and the present, in Australia, when she was a little girl. Young P.L., whose real name is Helen, lives with her father (Colin Farrell) and mother (Ruth Wilson), and although her father is a banker, he is a man of whimsy; he always makes her feel special, and for a long time she doesn't realize he's an alcoholic who sometimes even drinks before going to work. Eventually, her father gets very sick, and a nanny of sorts comes to their house to take care of him, and also make sure the house is in tip-top shape - much like Mary Poppins, although her job is to care for the children in that family.

In the present, Travers is having a hard time with "Mr. Disney" (even though he insists she calls him Walt) and because she still owns the rights to the book, she is able to make ridiculous demands of him. The Sherman brothers (B.J. Novak and Jason Schwartzman) and their original songs keep getting shot down by her, and even the kinder songwriter, Don (Bradley Whitford) is having a tough time with "Mrs. Travers," as she wants to be called. She's not any nicer to her chauffeur, Ralph (Paul Giamatti), either, and she absolutely loathes that Disney has filled her hotel room with Mickey Mouse, Goofy, and other Disney character paraphernalia as a welcome present. Disney promised his daughters a long time ago that he would bring their favorite book to the big screen, and he says that he never goes back on a promise to his children; therefore, he must learn to work with Travers, and accept some of her (sometimes crazy) demands.

Movie Review: Inside Llewyn Davis

Oscar Isaac, John Goodman, Carey Mulligan

Inside Llewyn Davis is going to appeal to a specific set of people, most likely, although others may enjoy it too. Those that like folk singing will like this film, or those that like period films, as it takes place in 1961 Greenwich Village. The movie is directed by the Coen brothers (Ethan and Joel), and that is very obviously throughout the film as well.

The title character, Llewyn (Oscar Isaac) is a down-on-his-luck folk music performer. He performs regularly at a little club called the Gas Light, owned by a friend, and roams from couch to couch for sleeping arrangements, as he doesn't have his own place. One such couch is owned by Jean (Carey Mulligan), who lives with Jim (Justin Timberlake), and Jean has a problem: she's pregnant and there's a 50/50 chance it could be Llewyn's. Meanwhile, Llewyn has lost a cat owned by other friends, the Gorfeins, and must find him before he shows up to sleep on their couch again. Llewyn also has no money, and doesn't make much at the few gigs he can get; he has to be able to pay for Jean's abortion and maybe have enough to pay his sailor's union dues, too, if he wants to fall back on that as a career choice.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Blu-ray Review and FREE Digital Download: The Poor & Hungry, directed by Craig Brewer

The Poor & Hungry is the type of movie I usually hate: shot in black and white, it's an indie movie that was filmed in the '90s and released in 2000. However, mostly because of the interesting characters and the interspersion of country music - it was filmed in Memphis - with cello music, I surprisingly did not hate this film. It's a little slow, which was a dislike, but the plot is interesting, and for the most part kept my attention.

Official synopsis (nytimes.com):  In this gritty independent drama, Eli (Eric Tate) is a car thief who works for Mr. Coles (John Still), the owner of a not entirely legit salvage shop. Eli has begun to have qualms about his career, and one day, after stealing a car from Amanda (Lake Latimer), an attractive young music student, he's wracked with remorse, and when he meets Amanda at an impound yard where she hoped to find her car, he offers her a ride home. A romance begins to blossom between Eli and Amanda, but as Eli tries to tear himself away from his life of crime, another woman named Harper (Lindsey Roberts) tries to draw him back in. Harper is a novice car thief herself who has a deal with Cowboy Earl (T.C. Sharpe), the owner of a seedy massage parlor, for a black-market Cadillac. However, to get the car Earl wants, Harper will have to go through Mr. Coles, and she sees Eli as the perfect go-between. Shot on digital video equipment in Memphis, TN, The Poor and Hungry was the first feature film from writer and director Craig Brewer.

One of the characters in this movie, Amanda, who Eli begins to fall in love with, is a cellist, and I really liked how some of the key scenes had cello music throughout. The entire film was shot in Memphis, and shot digitally, which was unusual for the time period; I've never been to Memphis but it was interesting to get a sense of what the city is like, through this movie.

Amanda and Eli
The reason that The Poor & Hungry is now being re-released is that the director, Craig Brewer, has enhanced the film and also added a "remastered Dolby 5.1 sound mix." The movie won Best Digital Feature at the Hollywood Film festival in 2000, and received rave reviews from critics, especially since it's Brewer's debut film. Since then, he's made Hustle & Flow and the recent Footloose remake, but he says that "So much love went into this movie [Poor & Hungry] ... it's the one I'm most proud of. That's why I want people to see it. Especially young filmmakers who want to make their first film."

If I had to give The Poor & Hungry a rating I'd probably give it a Maybe and 3/5 stars. However, if you're a fan of black and white movies or indie films - or really just movies that tell an interesting story - you should check it out, and the best part is, Brewer is currently offering a FREE DIGITAL DOWNLOAD of the movie online.

[You can click HERE to view the site and get your free digital copy]

The way the two main characters meet here also reminded me a little bit of Bounce, which came out in 2000 as well, in that Eli would have never have met Amanda if he hadn't stolen her car - they end up meeting at the car impount lot, as she's staring at the husk of her car, after Eli and his crew have stripped it for parts.

*Disclosure: I was given a Blu-ray copy of this film from the director for reviewing purposes. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

TICKET GIVEAWAY: Pretty Old, 12/17 at the Maple Theater (Detroit area) - 5 winners

Pretty Old
The Gathr film series giveaways continue this week! The documentary Pretty Old will be playing on Tuesday, December 17th, at 7:30pm at the Maple Theater (Bloomfield Hills, MI). This film looks like it could be an interesting take on your normal beauty pageant.

UPDATE: A few of the senior contestants from this movie (see below for synopsis) are from Michigan and will be in attendance at the screening, with a Q&A following the movie. They will also be in full pageant regalia!

Film synopsis:
Beauty is not a number.

When 30 women aged 67-84 from across America and around the world descend on Fall River, Massachusetts to compete in the 30th anniversary of the Ms. Senior Sweetheart Pageant, hilarity and heartbreak ensue. Under the doting attention of pageant founder and personality, Lenny "Low Price" Kaplan, these women share intimate experiences, discover new-found passions and stir lifelong insecurities that challenge common misconceptions of aging. Following four diverse competitors as they prepare for, travel to and compete in the pageant, PRETTY OLD is a profound and intimate look into what it truly means to age beautifully.




GIVEAWAY:


Enter via the Rafflecopter form below. The ticket giveaway will end this Sunday, December 15th at 11:59pm EST, and winners will be notified the morning of December 16th. Winners must respond within 24 hours or other winner(s) will be chosen. Tickets are in PDF form and will be emailed to winners, who may print two tickets each (one for you + one for a guest).

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, December 6, 2013

GIVEAWAY: Monster Jam at Ford Field, Detroit, January 11 - ends 12/15

El Toro Loco
Monster Jam is coming to Ford Field in Detroit on January 11, 2014, and that means monster trucks galore! I've never actually been to a monster truck show but I bet it's a fun time, and I have both a discount code and a giveaway for you to win tickets.

A bit about the show:
Monster Jam®, starring the biggest performers on four wheels: Monster Jam monster trucks! The twelve-feet-tall, ten-thousand-pound machines will bring you to your feet, racing and ripping up a custom-designed track full of obstacles to soar over or smash through! Monster Jam provides a massive night’s entertainment tailored perfectly for your family’s budget, and these colorful, larger-than-life beasts are sure to capture the hearts of both young and old.

Featuring: Grave Digger® driven by Chad Tingler, Radio Station - driver TBA, Iron Man™ driven by Lee O'Donnell, Zombie℠ driven by Sean Duhon, Max-D℠ driven by Morgan Kane, Mohawk Warrior® driven by BJ Johnson, Northern Nightmare℠ driven by Cam McQueen, Monster Mutt℠ Dalmatian driven by Taryn Laskey, Monster Energy driven by Damon Bradshaw, El Toro Loco® (Yellow) driven by Becky McDonough, Crushstation driven by Greg Winchenbach, Aftershock driven by Bob Robbins, Krazy Train - driver TBA, Bounty Hunter driven by Darren Migues, Iron Outlaw driven by Trent Montgomery, Bad News driven by Brandon Derrow, Raminator driven by Mark Hall and Mopar Muscle driven by Mike Miller! Subject to change without notice.

Additional: PARTY IN THE PITS from 2-5 PM. Meet the drivers, get autographs! Pit Party tickets are $10 each and can be purchased along with your show tickets on ticketmaster.com or on the day of the event at the Ford Field Box Office.

You can save $5 on your Monster Jam tickets by using the code MOM5. 
This code is valid on the $25 and $20 price levels only, and not valid on Pit Passes. Valid only on Ticketmaster.com or by calling (800) 745-3000. Limit 8 tickets per order.

Tickets are priced at $10 for kids and $20 for adults when purchased in advance; add $2 to ticket price if purchasing the day of the show.

Click HERE to buy tickets from Ticketmaster.

Zombie ... that's one scary truck!

GIVEAWAY:

Two lucky Yes/No Films readers will win tickets to Monster Jam! Normally I only have a family four-pack to give away, but because I am unable to attend that day, I have both that and a (big) family five-pack of tickets to give away! 

You heard that correctly - one 4-pack and one 5-pack of tickets!

Enter via the Rafflecopter form below. Contest will end on Sunday, December 15th at 11:59pm EST, and winners will be notified on December 16th and have 24 hours to respond, or alternate winner(s) will be chosen. You must live within driving distance to Ford Field or be willing to drive there to win these tickets. Tickets will be available for pickup at Ford Field on January 11th.

The first winner drawn for the giveaway will have their choice of the 4-pack or 5-pack of tickets; second winner will get the remaining pack of tickets. 

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


*Disclosure: I am a Feld Family Ambassador, and normally receive tickets to these events in exchange for posting about them. All opinions listed are my own. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

TICKET GIVEAWAY: What's in a Name?, 12/10 at the Maple Theater (Detroit area) - 5 winners

French film contest
The Gathr film series giveaways continue this week! The movie What's in a Name? will be playing on Tuesday, December 10th, at 7:30pm at the Maple Theater (Bloomfield Hills, MI). This film looks like it could be quite funny, and it's in French with English subtitles.

Film synopsis:
Can a name determine a life?

 Vincent (Patrick Bruel), a successful forty-something, is about to become a father for the first time. He is invited for dinner at the quaint apartment of his sister, Elisabeth (Valerie Benguigui), and brother-in-law, Pierre (Charles Berling) where he catches up with his childhood friend, Claude (Guillaume de Tonquedec).

Whilst waiting for Anna (Judith El Zein), his younger spouse who is always running late, his cohorts gleefully bombard him with questions on his fast approaching fatherhood... But when his hosts ask Vincent what name he has chosen for his future offspring, his response plunges the family into chaos.




GIVEAWAY:


Enter via the Rafflecopter form below. The ticket giveaway will end this Sunday, December 8th at 11:59pm EST, and winners will be notified the morning of December 9th. Winners must respond within 24 hours or other winner(s) will be chosen. Tickets are in PDF form and will be emailed to winners, who may print two tickets each (one for you + one for a guest).

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 2, 2013

GIVEAWAY: Blu-ray #MovieMagic for the holidays, ends 12/11


So, have you tried watching Blu-rays yet? I personally own a Blu-ray player (that I got for cheap on Amazon a few years ago!) and I find the picture quality to be so much crisper and clearer than DVDs.

This holiday, rediscover the #MovieMagic behind your favorite films. Blu-ray offers exclusive special features that put you in the filmmaker’s chair, with a behind-the-scenes access to all of the magic: Special effects, talent interviews, alternative endings, unreleased scenes, bloopers, and more!

With a Blu-ray combo pack, you can enjoy your favorite films in high-definition whenever and wherever you want. You can keep the Blu-ray disc in the living room, DVD in the car, and the digital copy on your phone for when you’re on the move!

Grab your favorite movie lover a Blu-ray this holiday!

Highlights:
• With the combo pack you can take your favorite films wherever you go. You can keep the Blu-ray disc in the living room, DVD for the car, and the digital copy on your mobile phone while on the move!
• Blu-ray lets you to watch your favorite movies with unmatched sound and video that is SIX TIMES the quality of DVDs!
• Blu-ray offers the most premium possible in home entertainment experience
• You don’t have to worry about the buffering that happens with streaming videos




GIVEAWAY:

One lucky Yes/No Films reader will win one of the following on Blu-ray, which will be chosen at random:

• The Little Mermaid - Diamond Edition
• The Lone Ranger
• Monsters University
• Angels Rising
• Rise of The Guardians
• Despicable Me 2
• Turbo
• Grown Ups 2
• Wizard of Oz 3D
• The Wolverine
• Star Trek: Into Darkness
• White House Down
• Fast 6
• Pacific Rim
• After Earth
• Man of Steel
• Red 2
• World War Z
• 2 Guns
• Weeds: The Complete Collection
• Predator 3D

Definitely a varied list of films!

Enter via the Rafflecopter form below. Contest will end on Wednesday, December 11th, at 11:59pm EST, and winner will be contacted via email on December 12th and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen. U.S. and Canada residents only, please - prize will be sent via FedEx, so no P.O. boxes. 

Some additional info:
Each household is only eligible to win ONE #MovieMagic Title via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Movie Review: Philomena

Steve Coogan, Judi Dench

I had no idea that Philomena was based on real events, much less a book, until I saw the movie. The real story (as well as the movie) is fascinating: a young teenager is taken in by the Catholic church after becoming pregnant, and then, when her child is three years old, he's sold to American parents. The book, called The Lost Child of Philomena Lee, explores this tale, and it is this on which the movie is based.

Philomena Lee (Judi Dench), an Irish woman, is looking at an old photograph of her son, who would have been fifty years old that day. She decides to share her story, never before told, with her daughter, who by chance meets Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan) at a party soon afterwards, and the daughter asks him to help her mother find Anthony, the son; he used to be a journalist with the BBC. Sixsmith is ornery about the idea at first, but then agrees to write it as a human interest story, and soon he and Philomena find themselves flying to America in the hopes of tracking down Anthony. What they find is surprising, and the back story behind his adoption is shadier than they first realized.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

TICKET GIVEAWAY: Night Train to Lisbon, 12/3 at the Maple Theater (Detroit area) - 5 winners

Detroit movie ticket giveaway
The Gathr film series giveaways continue this week! The movie Night Train to Lisbon will be playing on Tuesday, December 3rd, 7:30pm at the Maple Theater (Bloomfield Hills, MI). This film looks interesting and has Jeremy Irons in it too (Scar!) who usually gives a good performance.

Film synopsis:
Life can change in an instant.

This thriller follows Raimund Gregorius, a Swiss Professor (Academy Award winner Jeremy Irons) who, having saved a beautiful Portuguese woman from leaping to her death, stumbles upon a mesmerizing book by a Portuguese author, which compels him to suddenly abandon his buttoned-down life and to embark on an enthralling adventure.

In search of the author, Gregorius acts as detective, pulling together pieces of a puzzle that involves political and emotional intrigue and the highest possible stakes. His voyage is one that transcends time and space, delving into the realms of history, medicine and love, all in search of true meaning to his life.


GIVEAWAY:


Enter via the Rafflecopter form below. The ticket giveaway will end this Sunday, December 1st at 11:59pm EST, and winners will be notified the morning of December 2nd. Winners must respond within 24 hours or other winner(s) will be chosen. Tickets are in PDF form and will be emailed to winners, who may print two tickets each (one for you + one for a guest).

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Movie Review: Frozen

Disney's Frozen movie review

Frozen
is a Disney movie, which usually means it will be delightfully charming, but I didn't know before seeing the film that it's also their musical film this year. Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, and others are among those whose voices we get to hear, and the songs in this movie are both catchy and well done.

Anna (Bell) and her sister Elsa (Menzel) live in the Palace with their mother and father, the King and Queen. Elsa has a secret that can't go past palace walls: she has the ability to create snow and ice with the flick of her fingers. She and Anna play indoors on mounds of snow, until one day she accidentally strikes her in the head; her parents take them to see the trolls, who fix Anna but remove some of her memories, and the royal couple decides that Elsa will not tell Anna about these powers. Elsa spends the next ten years or so avoiding Anna, until Elsa's coronation day, where her secret is unfortunately found out by all; Elsa flees the palace, and Anna must find her and bring her back to their village, so that she can fix the eternal winter she has left behind.

Movie Review: Nebraska

Alexander Payne, 2013

I wasn't sure if I would like Nebraska or not, as it was shot in black and white. The director is Alexander Payne, though, and he's made many good movies that I have enjoyed, including About Schmidt and Sideways. Although I will say that this film is geared towards an older audience, I did end up enjoying it, and I can see why he chose to use a black and white medium now as well.

David Grant (Will Forte) lives in Billings, Montana, and one day his elderly father Woody (Bruce Dern) is found wandering on the side of the highway. Woody says that he's headed to Lincoln, Nebraska, because he received a letter in the mail saying he won a million dollars. The letter is from a company selling magazines, and is obviously bogus, but he insists it's real. His wife, Kate (June Squibb), has no patience for this, but after he escapes a few more times, David agrees to drive his father to Lincoln. They have a few mishaps along the way and end up in Hawthorne instead, Woody's hometown where some of his brothers still live, and it turns out to be a family reunion weekend, with everyone wanting to cash in on some unpaid loans now that Woody is rich. David tries to tell everyone that Woody didn't actually win the money, but no one will believe him, and soon enough he's the talk of the town.

Monday, November 25, 2013

GIVEAWAY: How to Save on Cyber Monday with Coupons.com

This Yes/No Films post is a Fashionista Event. I was provided a promotional item by Coupons.com to inform you of their crazy insane Cyber Monday Sales, Coupons.com Cyber Monday giveaway and our Cyber Monday $500 giveaway.


I am not usually a Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday shopper, but this year there are some really good deals floating around that I feel like I might have to take advantage of.

While most people are aware of Black Friday, some may not be aware that Cyber Monday - the Monday after the holiday weekend - has some great deals as well.

Yes/No Films

Just by looking at Coupons.com's Cyber Monday sales list, the following pop out at me:
  • Save $50 off one Xbox One complete bundle & free shipping (Microsoft.com)
  • Free $10 eGift Card with $75+ Purchase of Gift Cards (BarnesAndNoble.com) - great for book lovers!
  • Save $10 off $30+ at Bath and Body Works's site
  • Save $50 off select devices on Verizon's site
  • Amazon's Cyber Monday deals aren't up yet, but you know they're going to have something good - I remember one year they had $2 or $3 DVDs

Cyber Monday Sweepstakes:

Coupons.com is giving away $500 in Amazon gift cards (2 winners, $250 each) in honor of Cyber Monday! That's a lot of movies ... and a Blu-ray player ... and books ... or whatever you want to spend it on! You can enter the contest here, and it starts November 25th and goes through December 2nd. 

GIVEAWAY:

In addition to entering Coupons.com's giveaway, make sure to enter THIS one too! We will also be giving away $250 Amazon.com gift cards to two lucky winners. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below. Contest ends on December 2nd.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Movie Review: The Book Thief

The Book Thief movie poster

As I write this review, I can tell you that The Book Thief is already generating Oscar buzz, at least from the moviegoers that have already screened it. I read the book, by Markus Zusak, when in college, and I remember liking it a lot; the film is great as well, although it moves at a rather slow pace.

World War II is almost among us, and Liesel Meminger (Sophie Nélisse), as well as her younger brother, are taken away from their mother, a Communist, and brought to Germany via train to be adopted. Her brother does not make the journey, so she arrives alone, to find a cantakerous "Mama" (Emily Watson) and a gentle and kind Papa (Geoffrey Rush) waiting for her. She soon acquires a good friend, Rudy (Nico Liersch), and also meets the acquaintance of Max (Ben Schnetzer), a young Jewish man that her family is hiding in their basement, whom she is not to speak about to anyone. Her father is not in the Nazi party but they must act like good German citizens, for fear of Max being found out, and Liesel ends up learning about the world from both Max and the books she steals (or "borrows," as she calls it).

The lead actress in this, Nélisse, has only been in two movies prior to this one - wow! You would not know it, as she carries the movie and is a pro. Emily Watson and Geoffrey Rush were fantastic as her adoptive parents, and Nico Liersch was adorable as her friend Rudy. The film is narrated by Death, which was interesting; I don't think I have ever seen a movie where Death is the narrator and is, of course, never seen - Meet Joe Black comes to mind but Death took a human form in that movie.

Yes, see this film, and be prepared to bring some Kleenex. The movie is a bit long, clocking in at about 2 hours and 11 minutes, and in my opinion, events could have been sped up a bit - but at the same time, I'm not sure where I would have done that or what scenes I could have cut. The film will definitely do well come awards season, and I'd especially like to see Nélisse or Geoffrey Rush obtain a nomination or two.

The Book Thief is currently playing in theaters, and is rated PG-13 with a runtime of 131 minutes. 3.5 stars out of 5.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Review and GIVEAWAY: Michael Angelo's frozen meals, ends 12/1

Michael Angelo's Chicken Parmesan












*Disclosure: I received free product coupons for the purpose of this post. The opinions expressed 
here, however, are my own.

I had not heard of Michael Angelo's before this post, but it makes frozen dinners made with fresh ingredients. The company is currently running a contest over on their Facebook page where you can win an all-expenses paid trip to Italy - one of the countries on my "to visit" list - and the contest ends this Sunday, November 24th.

I looked online and saw that Whole Foods and Kroger both carry their products, and I stopped at my local Whole Foods to pick up one of their frozen meals a few days ago. I chose the chicken parmesan, which normally I don't like, but it looked delicious in the package. Whole Foods didn't have many of their products, because they carry their organic varieties, but they had chicken parmesan, veggie lasagna, meat lasagna, and baked eggplant parmesan.

The chicken parmesan actually was quite a big serving - you get two chicken cutlets and spaghetti. It took 6 minutes to cook in my microwave, so I probably wouldn't take it to work for lunch, but it was nice to be able to pop a quick dinner in the microwave but still have a "gourmet" taste. 

I saw on their website but they carry everything from flatbread pizzas, to chicken lemon risotto, to pasta dishes, and I definitely want to try some of these with my other product coupons.

A little bit more about Michael Angelo's:
  • It's owned and operated by a third-generation Italian-American family, and its meals are inspired by the homemade meals of founder Michael Angelo Renna's mom, Sara
  • Their products are shipped to stores within 36 hours through a "made-to-order" process that eliminates the need for a warehouse, and guarantees freshness
  • It was founded in San Diego in 1982 and has been based in Austin, TX since 1993
  • It uses the finest ingredients: Premium Grade A + naturally raised meats; imported, Italian cheeses; 100% Durum Semolina pasta; vine-ripened tomatoes, Italian herbs and spices, Grade A fresh vegetables, and fresh spinach. 
  • Products are available in single-serve and family-serve portions, and they can be found at major grocery stores (like Kroger), warehouse clubs, and natural food stores (like Whole Foods)


GIVEAWAY:

Michael Angelo's frozen meals contest

I have 3 Michael Angelo's free product coupons for one of my lucky readers! Their meals range from $3.00 - $4.99 (organic varieties), so this is a great prize to win. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below. Contest ends Sunday, December 1st at 11:59pm EST, and winner will be notified via email on December 2nd, and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen. U.S. and Canada only, please.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Movie Review - The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Catching Fire movie review

I read The Hunger Games books a while ago, but when I saw the first film in the series last year, the first book was fresh in my mind. This year, I was able to separate the book from the movie, and I really, really enjoyed Catching Fire - it may even be better than its predecessor. Some may complain that the ending is a cliffhanger, but it adequately prepared us for Mockingjay, the final part of the trilogy, which will come to theaters in two parts in 2014 and 2015.

When we last left Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), she had just won the Hunger Games after faking a romance with fellow competitor Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), allowing both of them to come out of the Games alive. Now, they're back in the poverty-stricken District 12, her hometown, and she's once again taken up hunting with Gale (Liam Hemsworth), her might-be-more-than-a-friend that she's known forever. Katniss and her family, along with Peeta and his, live in the Victors Village, but will be leaving soon for their Victory Tour, in which they spout propaganda about the honor of the Games that President Snow (a deliciously evil Donald Sutherland) is pressuring them to say. But rebellion is brewing in the districts, which Snow wants to quash, and it's Katniss's fault, for the cunning way she and Peeta won the Games.

For the Quarter Quell, then - the 75th anniversary of the games - President Snow and his new henchman, the gamesmaker Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman), come up with an evil twist: instead of all boys and girls ages 12-18, the Reaping will only contain the names of former Victors; it's Survivor All-Stars, if you will, only with murder involved. The only three victors from District 12, of course, are Katniss, Peeta, and their mentor, Haymitch (Woody Harrelson), and when Katniss and Haymitch are chosen by Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks), Peeta immediately volunteers for him. And so it begins, again, but with tougher opponents and a more deadly arena than ever before.

Movie Review: The Delivery Man

Delivery Man movie review, Vince Vaughn

I went in to The Delivery Man with some trepidation, because I had seen the French-Canadian film Starbuck only seven months earlier. The Delivery Man has the same director as Starbuck, and, from what I could see in the trailer, some scenes were line-for-line the same. Although I did laugh a few times throughout the film, overall I liked Starbuck better - but your perception of Delivery Man will depend on if you've seen that already or not.

David Wozniak (Vince Vaughn) donated sperm to a fertility clinic in the early '90s, just a few times - okay, about 690 times. The clinic was supposed to be selective about how many times it reused his sperm, but instead, 533 children were born of it - and today, about 190 of those want to know his identity, even though he signed a confidentiality agreement. His inexperienced lawyer friend, Brett (Chris Pratt), is excited to take on his case, and eventually they file a countersuit against the clinic, mostly because David is in debt to some mafia-type people and needs the money. In the meantime, though, David starts looking through the profiles of these children, and decides to become a "guardian angel" to a few of them - and realizes that maybe he's missing out on being a father after all.

I could go on and on all day comparing the two movies, but I'm not going to do that here. The one main difference I will say is that in Starbuck, I laughed throughout the whole movie, and Delivery Man only brought me a few chuckles. I actually thought Chris Pratt steals the show more than Vaughn - it looks like he's packed on a few pounds for his role as a dad of four, as well as Vaughn's lawyer, who is constantly telling him that fatherhood is work and Vaughn is not cut out for it. His kids are cute, too, and were the source of a few laughs because of their antics.

Maybe see this movie. I'll admit that I'm biased - one of the funniest scenes in the movie, where Pratt's character accidentally admits something on national TV, didn't make me laugh because the exact same thing happened in Starbuck, down to the punch line. Even if I hadn't seen Starbuck, though, I didn't laugh as much as I normally do during a Vince Vaughn movie. Wedding Crashers is one of my favorite Vaughn movies, and The Internship lately wasn't bad either - so you can't charge me with not being a Vaughn fan - but I didn't think he did that well here. I wonder why they decided to make an American version of this film, too, but my guess is that they wanted to bring this movie to the masses that might not usually pick up a foreign film; unfortunately, my recommendation is either to see that film, or to avoid it whatsoever if you don't want to be spoiled for Delivery Man.

The Delivery Man is in theaters today, November 22nd, and is rated PG-13 with a runtime of 103 minutes. 2.5 stars out of 5.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Ticket GIVEAWAY - These Birds Walk, 11/26 at the Maple Theater (Detroit area) - 5 pairs

These Birds Walk movie contest Detroit
The Gathr film series giveaways continue this week! The movie These Birds Walk will be playing on Tuesday, November 26th, 7:30pm at the Maple Theater (Bloomfield Hills, MI). Get your movie fix in before the holiday with a free showing of this film, which looks fantastic.

Film synopsis:
Filmed over nearly three years, THESE BIRDS WALK is the story of Omar, a high-spirited young boy of 9 or 10 who is living in a house for runaways; he has fled his difficult rural home life for the dangerous streets of Karachi, and is trying to find a safe haven somewhere amidst the chaos of his country and his family.

Attempting to help him is Asad, a young ambulance driver who works for the dispatch center adjacent to the runaways’ home. A former street kid, Asad sees something of himself in these children, and reluctantly but regularly risks his life to reunite them with their families.

Hanging over both of them, though only briefly glimpsed in the film, is the presence of the founder of both the orphanage and the ambulance dispatch center: Abdul Sattar Edhi, the most deeply revered philanthropist in Pakistan. Edhi has established a system of nursing homes, women’s shelters, orphanages and hospitals – a large army of humanitarians gathered in his name to fight the country’s rampant gang violence, ethnic conflict and poverty.




GIVEAWAY:


Enter via the Rafflecopter form below. The ticket giveaway will end this Sunday, November 24th at 11:59pm EST, and winners will be notified the morning of November 25th. Winners must respond within 24 hours or other winner(s) will be chosen. Tickets are in PDF form and will be emailed to winners, who may print two tickets each (one for you + one for a guest).

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 15, 2013

Review: Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey presents Dragons at the Palace of Auburn Hills

Detroit circus
Pre-show activities for kids
Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey presents Dragons, at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

I will be the first to admit: I am not a circus person. I went with my parents in 2011, I believe, because we had won tickets, and I ended up getting very bored midway through the performance ... so I was not particularly looking forward to seeing the circus again.

However! I was quite impressed with Dragons. There's your usual circus fare, like the elephants and clowns, but Dragons had a lot of aerial stunts - it was very Cirque du Soleil-esque - that were fascinating to watch. For example:

So cool!

There were acrobats inside these "ornaments," of sorts, that hung from the ceiling, and they occasional broke out of their bubbles without ever falling.

And of course, you can't have a circus without lions and tigers:

I have no idea how he got them to stay still like that.

I think the lion wrangler definitely earns his pay - I'm not sure you could convince me to get in a cage with 8+ lions and tigers, even if they are trained.

In short, I had a GREAT time at the circus this year, and I'm so impressed by all of the acrobatics they performed!

The elephants, of course!

You can still get your tickets for these remaining shows, and if you do purchase them, I have a discount code for you to use (see below):

Friday, November 15, 11am and 7:30pm
Saturday, November 16, 11:30am, 3:30pm, 7:30pm
Sunday, November 17, 1pm and 5pm

You can purchase tickets for only $18 each with the discount code 18MOM. The code is valid on any performance, but not on VIP tickets, and must be purchased in increments of four tickets. Click here to purchase tickets from Ticketmaster's site.

You can find out more about the show from my original post, as well.

*Disclosure: I am a Feld Family Ambassador, and I was given a family-pack of show tickets to facilitate this review. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

GIVEAWAY: win a Turbo Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, ends 11/23


I'm helping promote this contest - check it out and enter to win!

Chances are you have heard of the awesome new kids movie Turbo. Am I right? Well, like I've said before, the fact that I am a member of Fox Home Entertainment Insiders has its perks! Not only have I received a copy of the Blu-ray combo pack but I have a copy for ONE lucky reader! 

Can you say "Christmas present"? Oh yeah!

I also have some fun printable items for your kids to enjoy. Here is a sneak peek of what you will find! Click on the image to go to the download page. Enjoy!



Now for the giveaway!! We are giving away ONE copy of Turbo on Blu-ray combo pack. There is one mandatory entry but the rest just increase your odds of winning. The giveaway will run from 11/14/13 to 11/23/13. Good luck! 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Product Review: Evandé skin care products

Evande product review

*Disclosure: I received free Evandé products for reviewing purposes for this post. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

One of the things I love about going to conferences like BlogHer is connecting with bloggers I already know, as well as meeting new bloggers. A new blogger friend I met was Ann, from KickAss Living, and she told me about a company called Evandé that was looking for bloggers to try out their new line of skincare products.

I got in touch with Evandé and they sent me three products to try:

  • Gentle Facial Cleanser & Make-up Remover
This mild non-foaming cleansing system effectively removes dirt, impurities, make up and oils. Clears away dead skin and improves cell renewal, leaving the skin silky soft with a soothing & refreshing feel.
  • Alcohol-Free Pore Minimizing Toner
          Purifying blend of natural pore-minimizing anti-oxidant botanicals.
  • Oil-Free Face and Neck Moisturizer
    Provides flawless perfection to my face without imparting greasiness or oiliness. Enhances skin health by maintaining high moisture levels over the entire day and protects against environmental exposure and cell dehydration. Doesn't interfere with make-up and actually improves the make-up life.
Evandé products
Line up of Evandé products

My skin tends to be dry in general, but the Michigan winters are especially harsh on it. The face and neck moisturizer has been great; I use it every night before bed, and it makes my skin softer than it normally would be.

I've recently started wearing more make-up like eyeliner and mascara, as well, and the cleanser and make-up remover is great for removing excess make-up as well as taking off make-up at the end of the day. I tend to use eyeliner with a heavy hand, so I've been using Evandé's product to clean up my face a bit and make the eyeliner more even after applying.

I haven't used the toner that much as of yet, but it feels nice to use at the end of the day as a "refresher" of sorts.

You can request samples for free from Evandé by clicking here, although there is a $2.99 shipping and handling charge. You can also sign up for their member club and receive a free face care travel pack.

What products do you normally use, and will you try Evandé's products in the future?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Ticket GIVEAWAY - Cold Turkey, 11/19 at the Maple Theater (Detroit area) - 5 pairs

Cheryl Hines, Alicia Witt
The Gathr film series giveaways continue this week! The movie Cold Turkey will be playing on Tuesday, November 19th, 7:30pm at the Maple Theater (Bloomfield Hills, MI). This one sounds great - I love Cheryl Hines so I hope to see it.

Film synopsis:
A movie about a family that will make you thankful for yours ...

Thanksgiving get-together for the eccentric Turner clan, presided over by eminent scholar and patriarch, POPPY (Peter Bogdanovich), turns into a disastrous holiday weekend when black sheep daughter NINA (Alicia Witt) pays her first visit home in 15 years. Nina immediately clashes with stepmother, DEBORAH (Cheryl Hines), and competes with her siblings (Ashton Holmes and Sonya Walger) for Poppy’s affection – and money. Over three days, the family gradually disintegrates over who will get Poppy’s money – only to discover Poppy has his own bad news to share…

COLD TURKEY is about what happens when you set a match to a powder keg. It’s about honesty. It’s about love. It’s about trying your best. Ultimately, it’s about the kind of emotional terrorism that only families can inflict upon one another.




GIVEAWAY:


Enter via the Rafflecopter form below. The ticket giveaway will end this Sunday, November 17th at 11:59pm EST, and winners will be notified the morning of November 18th. Winners must respond within 24 hours or other winner(s) will be chosen. Tickets are in PDF form and will be emailed to winners, who may print two tickets each (one for you + one for a guest).

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 8, 2013

Movie Review: Diana (2013)

Naomi Watts, Diana

Princess Diana died in a car crash in 1997, and I remember being ten years old and watching her funeral procession on TV with my parents. She was loved by many, yet she also had secrets, and that's what Diana is about: her relationship with a heart surgeon, from 1995-97, whom many believed to be the love of her life.

Princess Diana (Naomi Watts) lives alone in Kensington Palace, with guards to keep her safe. She meets Dr. Hasnat Khan (Naveen Andrews) at a hospital when her masseuse's husband has a heart attack, and finds him intriguing. Their chance meeting starts an affair that will span two years, and leave both of them wondering if people from two such different nationalities, backgrounds, and experiences can fall in love - and not just fall in love, but make it work in the long run, too.

Movie Review - Thor: The Dark World

Thor: The Dark World movie review yes/no films

Thor: The Dark World starts off by giving us some Asgard mythology and background, although if you saw the first Thor you're most likely familiar with Asgard. It's been two years since Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has returned to Earth (same timeline as in real life, as Thor was released in 2011). Since then, Asgard has made some new enemies; Thor must save his kingdom and also save Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), his mortal love, from danger.

The film starts in Asgard and later on in the movie, Thor (Hemsworth) returns to Earth. A portal has been created connecting the nine realms, and until it closes, Asgard, Earth, and the other seven are all in danger. Jane Foster (Portman) has been getting crazy readings on her scientific devices because of this, and she and her assistant Darcy (Kat Dennings) have been investigating it in London. Jane manages to contract the "aether" (prounced "ether") inside of her while investigating, and it's something that Asgard's enemies need to crush Asgard; it also makes Thor return to Earth to help Jane and free her of the aether, while also making sure his enemies do not capture it or her.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Ticket GIVEAWAY - Filmmaker Magazine's 25 New Faces, 11/12 at the Maple Theater (Detroit area) - 5 pairs

Filmmaker magazine, movie preview
The Gathr film series giveaways continue this week! Filmmaker Magazine's "25 New Faces of Independent Film" will be playing on Tuesday, November 12th, at 7:30pm at the Maple Theater (Bloomfield Hills, MI).

Film synopsis:
Since 1998, Filmmaker Magazine has put out an annual talent list, its "25 New Faces of Independent Film," which has acted for a barometer for American indie cinema, bringing early attention to such talents as Hilary Swank, Ryan Gosling, Lena Dunham and Miranda July, among many others. This fall, three directors selected for the 2013 list -- Anahita Ghazvinizadeh, Scott Blake and Mohammad Gorjestani -- hit the road with their work, accompanied by Filmmaker's Managing Editor Nick Dawson.

GIVEAWAY:


Enter via the Rafflecopter form below. The ticket giveaway will end this Sunday, November 10th at 11:59pm EST, and winners will be notified the morning of November 11th. Winners must respond within 24 hours or other winner(s) will be chosen. Tickets are in PDF form and will be emailed to winners, who may print two tickets each (one for you + one for a guest).

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, November 2, 2013

GIVEAWAY: Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey presents Dragons at the Palace (Detroit area), ends 11/6

Dragons, Palace of Auburn Hills

*Disclosure: I am a Feld Family Entertainment ambassador, and Feld is sponsoring this giveaway. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey will be back in the Detroit area this month, and I have a family four-pack of tickets to your choice of show, either November 13 or 14 at 7:30pm.

Show description:
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents DRAGONS is a once in a millennium event that honors The Year of the Dragon. Circus performers from the farthest reaches of the earth have assembled for Ringling Bros.® Presents DRAGONS to showcase their astounding acts of bravery and astonishing athleticism. Ringling Bros.® Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson presides over this fantastical celebratory tournament of circus champions that brings together mystic dragon lore with authentic circus feats. DRAGONS is a never-before-seen blend of renowned spiritual and real life legends that can be found only at The Greatest Show On Earth®!

The anticipation builds throughout Ringling Bros. Presents DRAGONS as Children Of All Ages bear witness to one phenomenal Ringling Bros. circus act after another, from Shaolin Kung Fu Warriors, charging Cossack riders, magnificent Asian elephants, fierce tigers to the frenzied Globe of Steel. As the audience observes these and even more real world displays that pay tribute to the dragon, their continued excitement will bring glimpses of the elusive beast. But, the big question remains; what will it take to lure a true dragon from its golden lair?


You can purchase tickets for only $18 each with the discount code 18MOM. The code is valid on any performance, but not on VIP tickets, and must be purchased in increments of four tickets.

Show dates and times are:
Wednesday, November 13, 7:30 pm
Thursday, November 14, 7:30pm
Friday, November 15, 11am and 7:30pm
Saturday, November 16, 11:30am, 3:30pm, 7:30pm
Sunday, November 17, 1pm and 5pm


Ringling Bros. also allows you to arrive at the Palace an hour before the show starts to view the "All-Access Preshow," which provides interactive experiences - learning juggling and balancing skills, getting performer autographs, and seeing the elephants paint a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. You'll also get to meet the Ringling Bros. clowns who will amuse you with their antics and spoofs.

GIVEAWAY:

Enter via the Rafflecopter form below. Must live within driving distance of the Palace of Auburn Hills and be able to attend on either November 13th or 14th. Contest will end Wednesday, November 6th, at 11:59pm EST, and winner will be emailed on November 7th and must respond within 24 hours, or an alternate winner will be chosen. Four-pack of tickets will be available for pickup at the Palace box office the day of the show.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 1, 2013

Movie Review: About Time

Rachel McAdams

I had been excited to see About Time for a while, since it looked a little like The Time Traveler's Wife (which Rachel McAdams also starred in). It's more of a comedy than that film, but it had some unexpectedly sad scenes in it as well, and overall it's a good choice for a matinee.

On his 21st birthday, Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) learns a secret from his father (Bill Nighy): the men in his family can time travel. They can only go back in time, not forward, and they can't go to places they weren't actually at in the moment, but it's a good way to reverse poor choices and/or use it for good. Tim decides he's going to use it to get himself a girlfriend, and he sets his sight on his sister's friend Charlotte (Margot Robbie), who is staying with them for a few months. That doesn't work, but a year or so later, he's living in London and meets Mary (Rachel McAdams), and he uses his newfound ability to make things perfect between them and woo her. He eventually learns that there are sometimes consequences for time traveling, however, and so he must be careful of when he uses his power and why.

Movie Review: Last Vegas

Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman

Last Vegas is a Hangover-esque movie for the older generation, and it has a great set of core actors in it to boot. Like The Hangover, the majority of the movie takes place in Las Vegas, and the cast is there for Michael Douglas's character's bachelor party - he's marrying a woman half his age.

The "Flatbush Four" grew up together in the Brooklyn area, but now are scattered to various parts of the country. Billy (Douglas) lives in California and decides to gather the Four in Vegas for his bachelor party before marrying a 30-something woman. Archie (Morgan Freeman) recently had a small stroke, and his family is very protective of him - he's going to have to sneak out of his house if he wants to get to Vegas. Sam (Kevin Kline) hasn't had much chemistry with his wife lately, and she encourages him to "have fun" while he's in Vegas, saying that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas and even giving him a condom. Paddy (Robert De Niro) has become a recluse after his wife, Sophie, died the year before, and the men are going to have to coerce him to go with them on the trip. Once they all arrive in the city, however, old rivalries once again rise to the surface, and issues must be worked out before the gang can get to celebrating.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

CONTEST: win an Annabelle doll from The Conjuring, ends 11/8

The Conjuring Annabelle doll contest

So you liked the movie The Conjuring, eh?

First off, check out my contest to win the movie on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack (ends 11/4).

I now have another contest for my readers, to win an Annabelle doll replica from the film.

About the movie:
Based on a true story, the movie tells the horrifying account of how famed paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren were summoned to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in a secluded farmhouse which they recently bought. In fighting this powerful demonic being, the Warrens find themselves in the middle of the most terrifying case of their lives!

The Conjuring is now out on Blu-ray and DVD!

GIVEAWAY:


Each household is only eligible to win via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below. Prize will be sent via FedEx or UPS - no P.O. Boxes, please. Contest ends on Friday, November 8th at 11:59pm EST, and winner will be contacted via email on November 9th and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen. U.S./Canada only, please.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ticket GIVEAWAY - JFK: A President Betrayed, 11/5 at the Maple Theater (Detroit area) - 5 pairs

Gathr film series contest Detroit
The Gathr film series giveaways continue this week! JFK: A President Betrayed will be playing on Tuesday, November 5th, at 7:30pm at the Maple Theater (Bloomfield Hills, MI).

Film synopsis:
The death of John F. Kennedy remains among the most compelling mysteries of the 20th century. But what may be more significant are the actions he took that provoked such extreme resentment. Narrated by Academy Award winner Morgan Freeman, JFK: A President Betrayed uncovers new evidence that reveals how JFK boldly reversed US government policy to embark on secret back-channel peace efforts with Nikita Khrushchev, Fidel Castro and other sworn American enemies. The film brings to light how JFK was subverted by his own advisors and considers how the world might be different had he lived.

GIVEAWAY:


Enter via the Rafflecopter form below. The ticket giveaway will end this Sunday, November 3rd at 11:59pm EST, and winners will be notified the morning of November 4th. Winners must respond within 24 hours or other winner(s) will be chosen. Tickets are in PDF form and will be emailed to winners, who may print two tickets each (one for you + one for a guest).

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Review: Rumtoberfest at Bahama Breeze, through Nov. 3rd

Bahama Breeze in Troy, MI
I'm writing this blog post on a very full stomach, as I've just returned from the Troy, MI Bahama Breeze location after sampling their Rumtoberfest offerings.

I first wrote about Bahama Breeze back in February, when they introduced their late-night happy hour promotion, which is ongoing. This month, the restaurant is celebrating Rumtoberfest with a great selection of rum drinks, two of which I was able to try.

Bahama Breeze's signature drink for this month is called the Curly Tail, which is named for the colorful lizards that you can find in the islands ... and on my drink:

Curly Tail drink. Check out the lizards!

Bahama Breeze is also serving flights of "sipping rums," including Clément V.S.O.P. Rhum Agricole, Zaya Gran Reserva 12 Year, and Atlantico “Private Cask” Rum. In addition, each week on their Facebook page, the restaurant is giving away a trip for two to the Bahamas! You read that right - each week, a new winner is selected, for a five-night stay including airfare. This is the last week of Rumtoberfest, so make sure to get your entries in!

I was also able to try the Goombay Smash, which includes Captain Morgan spiced rum and Myers' Original Dark Rum with fresh orange and pineapple juice. Overall I preferred the Curly Tail as it was a bit sweeter, but the Goombay Smash was great too.

Goombay Smash

I am also a big fan of Bahama Breeze's happy hour (Monday through Friday, 4-6pm) as all of their appetizers are half off - I regularly go there with my book club and with friends. My favorites are the empanadas (both beef and chicken), the chips and pico de gallo, and the onion rings.

The manager of the Troy location, Jill, was also very helpful, and she told us that their key lime pie takes six hours to make from scratch, and it's made fresh every morning. She also gave us some interesting history about the Troy location, which opened in 2000, and why the layout is set up how it is.

Make sure to check out Bahama Breeze's Rumtoberfest before it's gone - this Sunday, November 3rd is the last day! In the metro Detroit area, you can find the restaurant in Troy and in Livonia.

You can find Bahama Breeze online at their website, on Twitter, and on Instagram, as well.

*Disclosure: I received free food and drinks in exchange for a Rumtoberfest review. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

Rumtoberfest Bahama Breeze drinks
Rumtober drink options
Appetizers, left to right: chips and spinach dip,
Jamaican chicken wings, onion rings, beef empanadas
Desserts: key lime pie (left) and chocolate island. Yum!