Friday, January 25, 2013


Quartet movie, Maggie Smith, Dustin Hoffman

Quartet is Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut, so I had a feeling it was going to be good, as I love him as an actor and he's had a long and varied career. As a classical music fan, too, I very much enjoyed Quartet, although it definitely had some slow spots throughout.

Beecham House is a home for retired musicians, all of whom still love practicing their craft. The birthday of Verdi (a composer) is coming up, and the Beecham residents are preparing a big concert to celebrate. Reggie (Tom Courtenay), Wilf (Billy Connolly), and Cissy (Pauline Collins) are all opera singers who used to be very famous, actually, and they're shocked when they find out that a woman who was in their quartet, Jean (Maggie Smith), is going to be Beecham's newest resident. It's especially problematic for Reggie, who used to be married to Jean before she broke his heart many years ago. The director of the Verdi concert, though (Michael Gambon, aka Dumbledore from the Harry Potter films) knows that if they can get Jean to sing with them in their old quartet, it will draw in a huge crowd, and he pressures them to ask her, even though she's given up singing publicly.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ellen is moving to 3pm!

This may surprise you, but occasionally I do watch TV in addition to all of the movies I see (!). I have a few favorites, mostly prime time shows, but one of the talk shows I really like is "Ellen," the #1 top talk show in Detriot, which is shown on Local 4 in this area

Ellen is moving from the 10am to 3pm time slot, which means she will be on TV right before Ruth and Chuck on Local 4 News First at 4. That's exciting because it's a more accessible time, and more people should be tuning in. Keeping up on the latest news and interviews is best when done on the same day an episode airs, I've found, and her new 3pm slot may make that easier for some of her viewers, both returning and new. It's a time more accessible to students as well, and parents will be able to watch the show with their tweens and teens. When The Ellen Show moves to 3pm, her program will now be airing between 3-5pm for all of the top twenty markets in the country, Detroit included.

I've found that watching Ellen enables you to stay "in the know" on the latest books, movies, and pop culture, and for parents, it's also a good way to know what's happening and "hip" as well.

Ellen is always hilarious, whether she's interviewing the hottest actors or the most popular singers and other entertainment icons, and that's why I enjoy watching her show. She also is very philanthropic - she's supported and started many charities, including the Small Change Campaign with Ben Affleck, to support Feeding America, and the Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund, through the Red Cross. She also does the Ellen for the Cure campaign, which occurs in October during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

So get excited for 3pm on February 4th. I'll be watching, and I hope you do too! Feel free to tweet with us at #Ellenmovesto3pm, as well.
Disclosure: I was selected for this sponsored post by Hay There Social Media. All opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Abel's Field on DVD: Review and Giveaway

I will be the first to say that I'm not really a religious person, so when it comes to reviewing "faith-based" DVDs and movies, I tend to be choosy. That's not to say that others won't enjoy them; it just means that I often don't. With Abel's Field, I liked the movie overall; however, the film itself is very slow, which for me often makes the movie less interesting.

Synopsis of the film:
Left motherless by tragedy and abandoned by his father, high school senior Seth McArdle (Samuel Davis) faces enormous pressure as he strives to support his little sisters. At school, he endures the daily bullying of the football team. But fighting back only finds him singled out for punishment and assigned to an after-school work detail under the supervision of the reserved groundskeeper, Abel (SOUL SURFER’S Kevin Sorbo). Much to his surprise, Seth discovers that Abel may be the only one who truly understands his struggles. As dark times lure Seth toward desperate measures, the reluctant Abel may be the one person who can point him back toward the light.


I thought it was interesting how the movie kind of juxtaposed Seth's life with those of his peers (fellow high school students). His dad, a trucker, left them a few months ago, and Seth has been receiving letters from the bank saying that payments are past due. He has 7-year-old twin sisters that he basically takes care of himself, and he has two jobs, one as a mechanic and one as a fry cook, to bring in some money. He gets beaten up by the football team players for no reason, and when he finally decides to fight back, the football coach punishes him, so now he has a third job, working with a man named Abel to install a sprinkler system for the football field. There's a scene where he's a passenger in a car with a girl he took out on a date and her friends, and they're exclaiming over what dresses they will be buying for Homecoming; it seems rather frivolous compared to what he's going through. There's also a sad part where one of his sisters asks him if "they're okay," because the bread in the freezer has "fuzz" (mold) on it.

If you enjoy faith-based films and/or a family-friendly story that has good morals in it, you will like Abel's Field. My issue with it was mostly its slow pace, like I mentioned before, but I did like the plot overall and also the ending. I would have liked a bit more of a back story on Abel, the groundskeeper, but I think it was intentional for him to be mysterious, as we learn something a little shocking about him later on in the movie.

Abel's Field will be out on DVD on January 22nd. 2.5 stars out of 5.
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Thanks to Fly-By Promotions, I have one copy of Abel's Field on DVD to giveaway!

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Winner will be contacted on February 2nd and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Friday, January 18, 2013

Broken City

Broken City, Russell Crowe, Mark Wahlberg, crime, NYC

We last saw Russell Crowe as an honest French policeman, but in Broken City, he's a corrupt and dirty politician - and I have to say, the role definitely suits him. Mark Wahlberg plays an ex-cop that gets used by NYC Mayor Hostetler (Crowe), and decides he's about had enough of him. Catherine Zeta-Jones is Crowe's wife, though they've been emotionally estranged for some time; even so, with the mayoral election around the corner, she must play the doting wife so that he can beat newcome Jack Valliant (Barry Pepper) to remain the mayor.

Billy Taggart (Wahlberg) has been a private investigator for the past seven years, since Mayor Hostetler essentially fired him from his job after he was embroiled in a murder scandal back then, even though he was pronounced not guilty. He's been with his girlfriend, Natalie (Natalie Martinez), for about the same amount of time, and he met her while on the job - her sister was raped and killed at a blighted government housing development that the mayor has just sold to a private housing company, which means all of its residents will soon be relocated. The mayor pays Billy $50,000 - half now and half when the job is complete - to spy on his wife and see who she is having an affair with, and Billy can't turn down the money; he soon finds out that the man is Paul Andrews (Kyle Chandler), the campaign manager for Jack Valliant, Hostetler's opponent. What Billy doesn't know, however, is that the mayor has played him - yet again - and when Billy finds this out, he wants revenge.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Gangster Squad

Gangster Squad, Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin, Sean Penn, Emma Stone

I had been excited to see Gangster Squad for quite a while now, not only because my boy Gosling is in it (ha), but because the ensemble cast and the movie itself looked great. The film ended up being a lot bloodier than I originally thought it would be, though I guess its "R" rating should have given me an indication of that, and it's more of an ensemble movie than one focused on one main character, save for the main gangster, Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn), who definitely steals the show.

It's Los Angeles in the late 1940s, and gangster Mickey Cohen, originally from Chicago, has started taking over the town. He's connected with everyone, even the police, and it would be extremely hard to "take him down" - but police chief Parker (Nick Nolte) wants to do exactly that. He "hires" Sgt. John O'Mara (Josh Brolin) to put together what later becomes known as a "gangster squad" - all cops, none of whom will be wearing the badge on this particular mission - to cut Mickey off at the knees, and O'Mara knows that to do this, he must first destroy Mickey's businesses. Things start to get ugly when Mickey figures out who comprises the squad, and goes after their friends and families.

Zero Dark Thirty

Zero Dark Thirty movie, Osama bin Laden, Kathryn Bigelow, Jessica Chastain

I had heard a lot about Zero Dark Thirty, and after it got nominated for a few Oscars, including one for Best Picture and one for Best Actress for Jessica Chastain, I was even more curious about it. I also wondered about the significance of the title, which is never really explained in the movie, but if you think about it, it does make sense: at the end of the film, Osama bin Laden's house is raided, and a quick pan to a clock is shown, in military time - which is 00:30. Zero thirty, then, or Zero Dark Thirty, which refers to the "darkness and secrecy that cloaked the entire decade-long mission," as director Kathryn Bigelow has said.

The film opens powerfully with sounds only (no images). The date is September 11, 2001, and the Twin Towers have just been hit: we hear snatches of conversations and 911 calls. We then meet Maya (Chastain), a CIA employee who was recruited out of high school, and over the course of the next two and a half hours, we learn that she's made it her personal mission to bring down Osama bin Laden and anyone who is associated with or has helped him in any way. The movie follows her through 2011, when bin Laden is caught and killed, and her intel plays a major role in how the CIA found him and was able to invade his home in Pakistan.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Lion King at the Detroit Opera House - win a family 4-pack!

Metro Detroit Mommy is giving away a four-pack of tickets to see The Lion King on Broadway, at the Detroit Opera House, and I am one of the hosts of the giveaway! See below on how to enter the contest. The Lion King is one of my favorite Disney movies!

Disney’s THE LION KING is Coming to the Detroit Opera House February 13 - March 10, 2013 Tickets on sale Now

Broadway in Detroit reminds theatregoers:, and are the only authorized online ticket sellers for the Detroit engagement of Disney’s The Lion King

Disney's The Lion King is a dazzlingly inventive show that brings the Pride Lands' animals to life right in front of you through a combination of breathtaking costumes, fantastic choreography and the award winning music we have all come to know and love.  Don't miss your chance to feel the chills as Rafiki sings "The Circle of Life,"  tap your toe as young Simba sings "I Just Can't Wait to be King," or sit back and take in the amazing set design.  It all comes together to create an experience of a lifetime.  You can buy your tickets online or enter below for your chance to win. Ticket date to be announced. *please note that children under the age of 5 will not be admitted to this show. is thrilled to announce that we have a family four-pack of tickets to give away for this extraordinary show. A big thank you to, and for hosting and promoting our giveaway.


Friday, January 4, 2013

Not Fade Away

Not Fade Away, James Gandolfini, John Magaro, the '60s

Not Fade Away is the first film from David Chase, who created and produced the acclaimed TV series The Sopranos. The film follows Doug (John Magaro) as he moves from suburban New Jersey to New York City with dreams of starting a band with his friends. The film takes place in the 1960s, during the height of a rock-and-roll period filled with new acts like The Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Although the movie has a great soundtrack, it tends to jump and use quick transitions, and in the process it becomes more lackluster than unique.

Doug (Magaro) graduates from high school and starts a band with some of his friends. His father (James Gandolfini) disapproves of the band, but as long as Doug goes to college, he's fine with it - for now. Doug comes back from his first semester of college looking like "someone off the boat," as his father repeatedly calls him, and he wants to record a demo with the band and try to make the band his main source of income, dropping out of college in the process. He eventually hooks up with Grace (Bella Heathcote), a girl he had a crush on in high school, and they dream of moving to L.A. and trying to succeed there. Doug's parents discourage this dream, as they don't think it will amount to anything, but Doug wants to at least try and make the band work.