Friday, February 27, 2015

Movie Review: Focus


The trailer for Focus immediately made me think of Matt Damon's pickpocket character in the Ocean's 11 movies. Will Smith's character here is very similar, although more of a con man, and the moral of this film is that you shouldn't always believe what you think is real.

Nicky (Will Smith) is the ultimate con man; he and his team can pull in over a million dollars when a major event is going on. He meets Jess Barrett (Margot Robbie) in a restaurant, and she tries to pull a small-time con on him - once they're upstairs in a hotel room, her "husband" bursts in, starts to get upset, and brandishes a gun at Nicky. Nicky knows it's a con, though, and is pretty calm; Jess is in awe and asks him to teach her the tricks of the trade. He takes her with him to New Orleans, during Super Bowl week, and by the end of the week, they and the rest of Nicky's team leave rich; however, Jess isn't entirely fulfilled with how she and Nicky leave their relationship. He next runs into her three years later, and the game is still afoot - he's there for a con, but she doesn't know that, and what happens during the rest of the movie will make you question everything you believe to be true.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Movie Review: The DUFF


I reviewed Kody Keplinger's The DUFF on my book blog back in January 2011, and now it's a feature film. I'd have to reread the book to see how much was changed, but I think a fair amount was; that being said, it ended up being a cute movie, but it seemed to have borrowed heavily from other teen favorites like Mean Girls. I saw the screening on December 30th, and we were told that this was an unedited version of the film; it's possible that it will be edited a bit more before it reaches theaters.

Bianca (Mae Whitman) is best friends with Jess (Skyler Samuels) and Casey (Bianca A. Santos), both of whom are considered the school "hotties." Her neighbor Wesley (Robbie Amell) informs her one day that she is their DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend. Bianca has never heard of a DUFF before, but when she Googles it, she quickly realizes he is right - and she dislikes this so much that she "breaks up" with her friends and tries to make a go of it solo. She brokers a deal with Wesley: she'll teach him Chemistry, as he's failing the class, if he teaches her how NOT to be a DUFF, as she wants to go out with her crush Toby (Nick Eversman). What they end up learning about each other in the process, though, is surprising, and she soon finds that she likes Wesley more than she thought.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Keeping up with entertainment is easy with T-Mobile's Simply Prepaid plan #ChangingPrepaid

*Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ChangingPrepaid #CollectiveBias


I consider myself a "techie" of sorts - I love playing around with the latest and greatest technology. However, my current phone with - let's call them "Provider X" - is a bit elderly; the phone I use day to day is the Samsung Galaxy s3. When I first purchased it in October 2012, it was so fast ... now, not so much.

My parents and I are on a family plan together, and have been thinking about leaving Provider X for a while now - I don't have unlimited texting (gasp! Rare in 2015) and it's about time for a new phone anyways.

I headed over to Walmart to check out their phones, but I didn't want to be tied down to a plan this time - Provider X's plans last for two years, usually. At the same time, I didn't want to spend $600+ for a phone, either.


What do you think of when you hear the phrase "prepaid plan"? Prepaid plans often get a bad rep for having slow data, a spotty network, or less of a phone selection.

However, T-Mobile is changing the game by introducing their Simply Prepaid plans, which run on T-Mobile's 4G LTE network. What's awesome about Simply Prepaid is that you pay per month; I purchased two $40 credit cards at Walmart, and am now covered for two months of service.

I chose the Samsung Avant phone, for $149 - it's a great deal, plus Samsung is a brand I trust.

In the past, most people I knew had a 2+ year contract with a provider. Now, a lot of my friends use prepaid, because it's much easier and you don't have to be tied down with a contract.

Movie Review: McFarland, USA


McFarland, USA is a "feel good" movie, but it's also a true story: at the end of the film, we see the actual people that the movie is based on, which I loved. The film is set in 1987 and tells the story of a group of gifted runners at a McFarland, CA, high school. Though they're fast, the kids' school doesn't have a track team, and since most of the students help their families as pickers in the fields, there's not a lot of time for extracurricular activities.

Jim White (Kevin Costner) moves his family to McFarland after getting fired from his last school, and becomes the football coach. McFarland has a mostly Hispanic population, and the school's football team is rather dismal. During PE class (he's also the PE coach), Jim sees that many of the students are actually really fast runners; however, the school has no track or cross country teams. He decides to form a team, but he doesn't realize at first how much these kids are sacrificing to be on the team - as one parent puts it, (paraphrasing) "for every hour that my son trains with you, that is an hour that he doesn't work in the fields with me." Jim must figure out a balance for the team's kids between work, school, and cross country, and in the process they will try to become cross country champions.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Movie Review: Fifty Shades of Grey


Before you ask: yes, I've read all three of the Fifty Shades books in the trilogy (and no, you won't find reviews on my book blog). Fifty Shades started the current erotica boom that you will notice occurring now in books, and although I wasn't a fan of the writing itself (it's a bit dreadful), the actual story was interesting, so I was interested in seeing it on the big screen.

Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) is a college senior who takes her roommate's assignment to interview Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) for their school paper, since the roommate is sick that day. She meets Mr. Grey, a 27-year-old self-made billionaire, and is intimidated by him, but also very curious about his background. She's also very attracted to him, and the next day or so he shows up at her job at the hardware store posing to buy some supplies. He then starts to pursue her, but she quickly learns that he has a certain preference for the sexual activities in his life; she must decide if she should leave him, or stay with him as his submissive.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Movie Review - Kingsman: The Secret Service


I figured that Kingsman: The Secret Service would be James Bond-esque, but it actually ended up being James Bond Jr. meets Kill Bill, and it was a highly entertaining ride throughout.

Gary (Taron Egerton), who goes by "Eggsy," is a bit of a hooligan; when we meet him at the start of the film, he has just stolen a car, and is being chased by the police - while he drives the car backwards through the streets of London. When he ends up in jail, Eggsy calls the number on the back of a necklace he wears; he's released from jail, and met by Harry Hart (Colin Firth), who wants to give him a job. "Give" is a bit of an understatement, though: Harry wants Eggsy to "interview" for a job in Kingsman, a super secret CIA-esque group that is highly selective of its recruits. Eggsy will be competing against higher-educated peers for the job, as well, but it turns out Eggsy has a knack for the secret service life; which isn't surprising, considering his now-deceased father "interviewed" for Kingsman as well. When Harry finds out that Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson), a Steve Jobs-esque businessman, is hatching a plot that will cause much harm to the world, he tries to stop him; Eggsy must help him figure out exactly what Valentine is up to, and then put a stop to it.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

GIVEAWAY: LEGO Justice League vs. Bizarro League Blu-ray, ends 2/22


I have a great giveaway for my blog readers, especially those who have kids/grandkids in their lives.

About LEGO Justice League vs. Bizarro League:
Batman has joined the newly formed Justice League in order to keep tabs on Superman, a mistrust that is complicated by Superman’s clumsy – but well-meaning – clone, Bizarro. Bizarro’s creation of the Bizarro League has caused confusion amongst the world’s greatest Super Heroes, but an even greater and mysterious threat may force the Justice League and Bizarro League to band together to defeat evil.

#JusticeLeague
#BizarroLeague

Available NOW on Blu-ray+DVD+Digital HD UltraViolet Combo Pack + Batzarro LEGO minifigure.


First, check out the widget below:

GIVEAWAY: $50 California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) gift card, ends 2/26

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

$50 California Pizza Kitchen Gift Card Giveaway


Prize: $50 California Pizza Kitchen Gift Card

Dates: 2/12-2/26
Open to: US Residents 18+

I've partnered with a few other bloggers to bring you this giveaway. Two CPKs in the area are in the Twelve Oaks Mall (Novi) and Somerset Collection (Troy) - a great restaurant to stop by before or after a movie at Emagine Novi or perhaps MJR Troy!

You can also find CPK at the Mall at Partridge Creek, which hosts an MJR, and in the West Bloomfield and Laurel Park Place areas.

Enter to win using the widget below. Good luck!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

GIVEAWAY: Rosewater Blu-ray combo pack, ends 2/20

I reviewed the movie Rosewater back in November 2014, and it was very good - I gave it a Yes review. Now I have the opportunity for one of my lucky readers to win a Blu-ray combo pack of Rosewater!

Official synopsis:
Based on Then They Came For Me: A Family’s Story Of Love, Captivity, and Survival, the best-selling memoir by Maziar Bahari and Aimee Molloy, Rosewater follows the Tehran-born, Canada-based Bahari as the journalist returns to Iran to interview Mir-Hossein Mousavi, challenger to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the country’s contentious 2009 presidential election. As Mousavi’s supporters were protesting Ahmadinejad’s victory declaration even before the polls closed, Bahari endured personal risk by sending footage of the street riots to the BBC. For this, Bahari was arrested by police led by a man known only as “Rosewater.” He was tortured and interrogated over the next 118 days, while his wife embarked on an international campaign to have her husband freed and media outlets kept the story alive.

The Blu-ray™ Combo Pack includes a Blu-ray™, DVD and DIGITAL HD with UltraViolet™.

Bonus Features on Blu-ray™ and DVD:
  • Iran’s Controversial Election 
  • The Story of Maziar Bahari 
  • Real Spies Have TV Shows
  • What Happens in New Jersey ... 
  • A Director’s Perspective
Rosewater stars Gael GarcĂ­a Bernal and Shohreh Aghdashloo, and is directed by Jon Stewart.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Event: Flashdance - The Musical to premiere at the Fisher Theater (Detroit), March 10-22

credit: broadwayindetroit.com
*Disclosure: I will be receiving media tickets to attend this event. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

I'm about 32 years late on this, but I watched Flashdance on DVD for the first time the other day, and it was good - the music, especially.

So I'm excited to announce that Flashdance - The Musical will make its Detroit premiere next month at the Fisher Theatre, Detroit!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Yes/No Films on the Road and a GIVEAWAY: Castaway Bay Resort, Sandusky, OH {ends 2/16}


*Disclosure: I received a free 1-night stay at Castaway Bay, as well as waterpark tickets. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

This past weekend, I was able to experience Castaway Bay, a resort and waterpark in Sandusky, Ohio, that is owned by Cedar Point. I'm definitely a frequent Cedar Point visitor, and I'm also a big waterpark fan, so I was excited to try out Castaway Bay.

Because my stay was Friday through Saturday, and I wanted to get to the resort before nighttime on Friday, I ended up carpooling with fellow blogger Amber (Metro Detroit Mommy) and her family.
(huge shoutout to them for "adopting" me for the weekend!)

We arrived at the hotel on Friday afternoon, and soon I found my way to my Starfish room, which included two double beds (one of which I used for my bags) as well as a balcony.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

DVD Review and GIVEAWAY: 23 Blast, ends 2/9

*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 Consulting, 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.

I recently got the chance to check out 23 Blast on DVD - the story sounded interesting, and I usually love a good sports movie.

Official movie synopsis:
As a typical teenager, Travis Freeman (Mark Hapka) is a local hero both on and off the high-school football field in his small Kentucky town, but in 1997, Travis contracts an infection that destroys his optic nerve and renders him blind overnight. With the loving help and concern of his parents, physical therapist, coach and best friend, Travis demonstrates what true bravery is: He continues to compete on the gridiron and helps his team advance to the state finals.

Can you imagine waking up one day and being blind? No warning at all - Travis was literally fine one day and then blind the next. He struggles with this setback for a while, and then, when he's asked to come back to his high school's football team and play (albeit, not as a QB), he takes them up on the offer. 

I'll be honest: the movie itself was just okay, although I could see it being a good family movie night film - there's no swearing or sexual content or nudity. It's rated PG-13, but only for "brief drinking of alcohol on school property"; to me, it's more of a PG-movie. I really liked the music in this film, however, and it's a good "inspirational film" about someone who has a disability and perseveres despite of it.