Saturday, April 26, 2014

Movie Review: Brick Mansions

Brick Mansions movie review

Brick Mansions is one of Paul Walker's last films, not including the next Fast and the Furious movie, and it seemed to have an interesting premise. What I didn't know going in to the film is that it's a remake of a 2004 Parisian film, District B13 (Banlieue 13 in French) and David Belle, one of the main actors in this current version, played the same role in that movie as well as this one.

It was fairly amusing to see this film with a Detroit audience, because of some of the sheer ridiculousness of how it presents the city. The movie starts off in Detroit, 2018, where crime is at an all-time high and the worst part of the ghetto, Brick Mansions, has been cordoned off from the rest of the city. The people that live there are extremely poor, and many of them are thugs; the exception to this is a big-time drug dealer, Tremaine (RZA), who has his headquarters at the Mansions and also lives there. Damien (Walker), an undercover cop, needs to infiltrate the Mansions in order to apprehend Tremaine, and it's not just business - Tremaine and his thugs killed his dad, who was also a police officer, a few years back. Damien meets up with Lino (Belle), who also has a beef with Tremaine, and the two of them try to make their way through the Brick Mansions to him.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Movie Review: The Railway Man

The Railway Man movie review 2014

The Railway Man is based off the book of the same name, by Eric Lomax, the main character in this film. I didn't know that the movie was based on a true story until the end of the film, even though I believe it said it at the beginning of the movie, and it's an incredible story; it's hard to believe that it's actually true.

Eric (Colin Firth), a war veteran and train enthusiast, meets Patti (Nicole Kidman), aboard a train one day, and they hit it off; soon, they are married. What Patti doesn't know about Eric, however, is that he was a POW (Prisoner of War) at a Japanese labor camp during WWII, and he has a form of PTSD; flashbacks from that time period often haunt him, still. Eric's friend Finlay (Stellan Skarsgard) sees a picture in a Japanese paper one day of the young man who was implicit in torturing Eric during the war, and he tells Eric about this; Eric knows he must go back and confront the man, in order to get over his past, or at least feel like revenge has been served.

Movie Review: The Other Woman

The Other Woman 2014 movie review

This movie is hard to review, because overall I enjoyed it, but I've also seen much funnier comedies. I also feel that in real life this would never happen - I would never be friends with my husband's mistress, even if said mistress didn't actually know she was dating someone's husband. Since this is a film, we can overlook this; but still, I thought the movie could have been better in general.

City girl Carly (Cameron Diaz) works as a high-powered attorney at a law firm. She's started dating the perfect guy, Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), and in fact has even given up her "roster" of guys to exclusively date him. There's only one problem, which she finds out in a most embarrassing way: he's married to Kate (Leslie Mann), whom he lives with in Connecticut. Kate tracks Carly down at work the day after Carly shows up in Connecticut, and after some bonding, they try to figure out a way so that Mark gets what he deserves. While they're stalking him, they figure out he has another mistress, Amber (Kate Upton), and they tell her the truth about him and recruit them for their "team."

Saturday, April 19, 2014

GIVEAWAY: Wonder Forge Frozen Matching & Planes Sky Race, ends 5/3

*Disclosure: Yes/No Films did not receive compensation for this post and is not responsible for prize fulfillment.


I've partnered with a few other bloggers to bring you this giveaway - perfect for children who love Planes and/or Frozen! Good luck.

Planes Sky Race Action Game - Get ready for high-flying, tricky-tossing fun! Fly your plane through the Wings Around the Globe Rally to win. But watch out- flight conditions change and you’ll face surprising challenges. Toss with your eyes closed, between your legs, laying down, and more!

Disney Frozen Matching Game - It's the classic game of picture matching, now featuring your favorite characters from Frozen! Flip over brightly colored tiles and find beautiful pictures of sisters Anna and Elsa, plus friends Kristoff, Olaf, Sven and more. What familiar faces will you see? Pick up the most matching pairs to win!

Prize: Planes Sky Race Action Game & Disney Frozen Matching Game
Dates: 4/19-5/3
Open to: US Residents 18+
Enter to win using the Giveaway Tools Widget below. Good luck!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Movie Review: Transcendence

Transcendence movie review Johnny Depp

Transcendence may not make the most sense at times, but it's definitely a wild ride of a movie that people who like sci-fi films should check out. I was able to see it in IMAX, as well, which helped contribute to the larger-than-life feel of the film; especially during the second half when a string of events start to occur.

Will Caster (Johnny Depp) and his wife, Evelyn (Rebecca Hall), are scientists who have spent a great deal of time working on AI (Artificial Intelligence). Along with colleague Joseph (Morgan Freeman), they run PINN, which is an AI robot of sorts that can recognize people, faces, and information. There's an anti-AI group who wants to see their research shut down, however, and after a speech one day, Will gets shot by one of these rebels; he's rushed to the hospital, and it seems like he's going to make it, until they find out that the bullet was laced with poison. He has only a few weeks to live, and he and Evelyn decide to "upload his consciousness" so that he may live on after he dies; their friend and colleague Max (Paul Bettany) is vehemently opposed to this, as it's only been successfully attempted a few times, and always with monkeys. The anti-AI group, led by Bree (Kate Mara), is also opposed, and once they figure out what Evelyn is trying to do, they attack Evelyn's compound - only to find that Will's consciousness has already been set free online.

Movie Review: Bears (Disneynature)

Disneynature Bears movie review

I rarely review documentaries, and I think this might actually be the first Disneynature movie I have seen, although next year's Monkey Kingdom looks adorable. My parents love the Disneynature movies, however, so we all went to see Bears this past week at a screening.

The film follows a mama bear and her two cubs, Scout and Amber, during the cubs' first year of the feeding season. Sky, their mother, must find enough food for herself so that her milk won't dry up during the winter - if it does, it could potentially starve Scout and Amber. There are a few threats to the cubs in the wild, too, such as a coyote and a few other larger, male bears (who apparently won't think twice of snacking on some tiny bears for dinner when they're that hungry), and Sky must protect the cubs from these and others.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Movie Review: Heaven Is for Real

Heaven Is for Real movie review 2014

Heaven Is for Real is based off a true story in which a 4-year-old child almost dies and later says he went to Heaven. The subject matter was definitely interesting, and I knew going in that the movie would have religious themes, but later I felt a bit cheated, because the trailer makes the film seem Hollywood-esque, and instead, the movie was no better than a Lifetime made-for-TV movie.

Todd Burpo (Greg Kinnear) is a pastor, a volunteer firefighter, and has his own business. He and his wife, Sonja (Kelly Reilly), are also raising their two children, Colton and Cassie (Connor Corum and Lane Styles), and they lead a busy life together. One weekend, both children get very sick; Cassie is fine within a few days, but Colton continues to suffer high fevers, and Todd and Sonja bring him to the emergency room, where it's found that he has a ruptured appendix. The staff there is able to save him, but it's after the surgery that things start to get interesting.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 trailer reveal + prize pack GIVEAWAY, ends 4/23

*Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255): “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising): Many thanks to Propeller, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is in theaters on May 2nd, and I'm definitely looking forward to it - I very much enjoyed the first Spider-Man in 2012. Recently I was able to check out the trailer and also read a family discussion guide about the film.

First, check out the trailer:

The discussion guide I received would be great for families to go over with their children after seeing the movie - questions about life, morals, choices, and destiny. Here's a sampling of some of the questions:

The guide takes some of the core themes in Spider-Man 2 and poses them as questions that could be discussed with your young ones.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Movie Review: Rio 2

Rio 2 movie review

The first Rio came out in 2011 and I gave it a Yes review. I remember really liking the film, but sequels are usually "hit or miss," especially for animated movies. This sequel, however, was just as good as the first film - if not better - and I enjoyed it yet again.

In this installment, the blue macaws (Blu and Jewel, voiced by Jesse Eisenberg and Anne Hathaway) head from Rio to the Amazon when they find out that there might be more of their species there - Linda (Leslie Mann), Blu's previous owner, has found a flock. Blu and Jewel gather up their three kids, along with some Rio friends from the first movie, and they travel the 2,000 miles to the Amazon, where they find Jewel's father, Eduardo (Andy Garcia) alive and well; Jewel had thought he and her family had passed away in a fire. Jewel and the kids love the Amazon but Blu, who is more "domesticated," has trouble adjusting, and Eduardo doesn't take a liking to him either, at first.

To complicate matters, the villain from the original movie, Nigel (Jermaine Clement), is stalking Blu and Jewel, because he wants to exact revenge for what Blu did to him. He's accompanied by a poisonous tree frog, Gabi (Kristin Chenoweth), who secretly loves him but knows that they can never be together because of her poison.

Movie Review: Draft Day

Draft Day movie review

Kevin Costner has certainly been busy this year - between Jack Ryan, 3 Days to Kill, and now Draft Day, his face has been all over movie posters lately. This movie started off rather poorly, but then, weirdly enough, became better throughout, so that by the end the story was intriguing. There's a small twist at the end too which was rather genius, so the film does get "points" from me for that.

Sonny Weaver Jr. (Costner) is dealing with the death of his father from the week before, and now is heading into draft day. He's the GM of the Cleveland Browns, and he already had his pick chosen until the Seahawks' GM (Patrick St. Espirit) throws a wrench into his plans: they offer him their #1 choice slot, which would have been Bo Callahan (Josh Pence), in exchange for the Browns' #1 picks for the next three years. Needless to say, Weaver's staff is not happy that he has accepted this, and at the same time Weaver starts digging into Callahan's past, to make sure he's made the right decision. At the same time, Weaver is dealing with the news of his girlfriend's pregnancy (Jennifer Garner), who is also his assistant at the office, and his mother (Ellen Burstyn) randomly showing up with his ex-wife and his father's ashes, since his father - whom he used to work with - wanted to be left on his football field.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Restaurant Review + Giveaway: Blaze Pizza, ends 4/16 (4 pizzas!) #HowDoYouBlaze

The whole group - I am third from the right, in the purple shirt. Via: Metro Detroit Mommy

I had the great pleasure of being able to sample the menu at Blaze Pizza Royal Oak two days ago, thanks to a blogger meet-up that Amber at Metro Detroit Mommy put together. I have had Blaze Pizza before, at the Novi location - Blaze has a tradition of doing a Free Pizza Day every time a new location opens - but had not yet tried out the Royal Oak location.

The first thing you should know about Blaze is that they are very fast. It would indeed be possible to come here on your work lunch break and be in and out within an hour or less. The ovens are crazy hot, and because of this, your pizza is ready after only 180 seconds - yes, three minutes - in the oven.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Dressing up for Easter + $400 GIVEAWAY, ends 4/21

*Disclosure: This is a Fashionista Event and a promotional item was provided to me by Hosts for this event are Still Blonde after all these Years and ModlyChic.

Because my parents are of different faiths, I get to celebrate a lot of holidays. Nowadays, since I am older, we don't do much for Easter, but we usually do get together and have a nice meal at home or out at a restaurant. When I was little, however, we lived in Massachusetts, and the majority of our family lives (and still lives) there and in Rhode Island, so we would get together for Easter celebrations.

Liz Parker yes/no films
Yes, I was blonde as a kid! And always well-dressed, too.
(circa 1990 or '91, Massachusetts)
Not my Easter outfit!

My mom liked to dress me well as a kid - I owned a lot of dresses - and there are all sorts of Easter deals at for clothing this year.

Macy's is having a "Great Shoe Sale," for instance: 20% off 1 pair, 25% off 2, or 20% off 3 pairs - and you can save 25% off your entire purchase at The Children's Place. If you're shopping for yourself or an older child, is offering 20% off $100+ on loafers or sandals, or American Eagle is offering 40% off their already reduced prices (clearance). 

And don't forget H&M, too, which is offering 20% off $50+.

You can find all these coupon codes and more at this Easter - so check it out before you hit the mall or your local store. 

And don't forget to enter the GIVEAWAY! Use the image below to answer a few fun questions in the Rafflecopter.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Blu-ray Review: The Nut Job

The Nut Job Blu-ray review by Yes/No Films

*Disclosure: I received a Blu-ray copy of The Nut Job for reviewing purposes. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

I didn't get a chance to see The Nut Job when it was in theaters, so I was happy to get a chance to review it. However, compared to other animated movies that are in theaters now, it unfortunately pales in comparison.

Synopsis, from IMDb: An incorrigibly self-serving exiled squirrel finds himself helping his former park brethren raid a nut store to survive, that is also the front for a human gang's bank robbery.

In hindsight, it probably wasn't a good idea to see this movie on the same day as a screening of Rio 2 (my review will be up this Friday), which I thoroughly enjoyed. I remember seeing the previews for Nut Job and thinking it looked funny and unique, and for the first ten or fifteen minutes of the movie, it was; however, things soon started to unravel quickly.

First, the pluses:  The animation and graphics were very good here, so younger children might enjoy the film. The first ten minutes involved trying to steal nuts from a nut vendor - the place where the characters live have an NYC or Boston feel to it, though it's a fictional town called Oakton, and the movie takes place in the 1950s era. The attempted heist definitely catches your attention, and is a lot of fun. After that, though, it's easy to lose interest.

Also, the characters have insanely thick Boston accents, which made my mom and I laugh a lot, because we are from there (and she still has a thick accent).

Minuses: The plot is a little complicated and some of the characters are a little boring/naive. The voice cast is great - you have Will Arnett as Surly, who comes to be the hero, Katherine Heigl as the main female squirrel, Brendan Fraser, Liam Neeson as the evil Raccoon (yes, that was his name - just "Raccoon"), and Maya Rudolph as Precious the dog, among others.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Movie Review - Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain America: The Winter Soldier movie review

I saw the first Captain America movie back in summer 2011, and although I loved Chris Evans in it, I gave it a Maybe review rather than a Yes. This installment was more of the same, although if I was rating the film solely on action scenes, it would get 5 out of 5 stars, as they were awesome. The movie is fun and worth seeing, but it's just missing something - I'm not sure exactly what - that the other individual Avengers, such as Iron Man, is not.

In this sequel, Captain America, aka Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), is on the run from S.H.I.E.L.D., as it turns out that not all of the people who work there are "the good guys." Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) was also targeted, and the Captain must team up with Black Widow (Natasha Romanoff, played by Scarlett Johansson) to figure out exactly what S.H.I.E.L.D.'s plan is and how to best take them down. To complicate things, the Winter Soldier (slight spoiler: Sebastian Stan) is going around killing people as well, and Captain America is trying to stop him too; at least, until he finds out the Soldier's true identity.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

GIVEAWAY: Preschool + Tween sets of Disney CD's, including the Frozen soundtrack! Ends 4/6 #SingIntoSpring

I'm helping promote this giveaway, as we are both part of the ENMN Network - and I have a reason for doing so, because the prizes are pretty awesome!

There will be two winners for this contest: one will receive the Preschool set of CD's and the other will receive the Tween set. Make sure to leave a comment in the Rafflecopter as to which one you'd prefer if you are one of the winners.

The Preschool set includes:
  • Disney Junior® DJ Shuffle
  • Jake & the Never Land Pirates: Yo Ho Matey®
  • Doc McStuffins; The Doc Is In®
  • FROZEN® Soundtrack!

The Tween set includes:
  • Disney Channels® Play it Loud
  • Austin&Ally: Turn it Up® (if you missed out on my last contest for this, or didn't win - here's another chance!)
  • Doc McStuffins; The Doc Is In®
  • Teen Beach Movie® Soundtrack!

Personally, I'm excited that one of you will win the Frozen soundtrack - I loved the movie and I know "Let It Go" has been stuck in many people's minds since then!

The rules: enter via the Rafflecopter form below. Contest will end on Sunday, April 6th. Fulfillment is by Walt Disney Records. U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway