Friday, May 29, 2015

Movie Review: San Andreas


Movies like San Andreas are hard to rate because I automatically want to give it a higher rating solely based on the quality of the special effects (which were fantastic in this film, as you might imagine). However, one still has to take into account the actual plot and storyline, as well.

Ray (Dwayne Johnson) works for the L.A. Fire Department as a chopper pilot and emergency rescuer. He visits his soon-to-be ex-wife, Emma (Carla Gugino), to see his daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario), whom he will be driving back to college the next day, but an earthquake in Nevada soon derails his plans. Lawrence (Paul Giamatti), a seismologist who works for Cal Tech, is in the middle of the quake when it happened, and soon he sees a pattern emerging: the quake was within the San Andreas fault line area, and soon massive earthquakes will pummel the entire California coastline. Ray must then find and save Emma, as well as Blake, in downtown San Francisco, while California is being pummeled with quakes, as well as a tsunami as a result of the quake.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

GIVEAWAY: The Father's Love on DVD (2 winners!), ends 6/2

The Father's Love hit stores on May 19th, and you can win yourself a copy here!

Official synopsis:
Inspired by a true story, The Father’s Love tells the story of a woman that meets the man of her dreams. Charming, handsome, and wealthy, Reece becomes her world. But as their story unfolds, Sarah discovers that man is nothing like she imagined in a journey that leaves her with the awful realization that she is “the other woman.”

Produced, written and directed by Sharon Kon, The Father’s Love explores the meaning of relationships, and the way God can mend a broken heart. For the director, it was a very personal project, inspired by her own experience. “In a moment of seeking, because of the brokenness, I needed to know what the truth was,” said Kon. “God told me I am your father, let Me heal you – you can't keep going through this cycle.”

The Father’s Love stars Angela Lin who was named one of Backstage’s most memorable New York stage performances. Also stars Erik McKay (All My Children, The Situation), Raushanah Simmons (Annie, The Other Woman), and Jabari Gray (The Amazing Spider-Man2, Man on a Ledge). Released to select theatres late last year, The Father’s Love will now be available on Digital and DVD May 19th. For more information or to see the trailer go to www.wordfilms.com.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Movie Review: Tomorrowland


The trailers for Tomorrowland have been very vague. I watched the teaser and then the full trailer before the film came out, and I still wasn't entirely sure what it would be about, except a girl gets transported to a magic land that may very well be the future. Tomorrowland is, of course, also a park section at the Disney parks (WDW and Disneyland), and the movie tries to keep in the spirit of those.

Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) has been sneaking into the grounds of an old NASA launch deck every night to sabotage it. Her dad (Tim McGraw) is going to get laid off once the launch deck is disassembled, and so Casey wants to delay that by damaging the deck. One night, however, she gets caught, and ends up in jail until she makes bail; when she gets her possessions back, among them she finds a mysterious pin with a "T" on it. When she picks up the pin to pocket it, all of a sudden she's in a different world - one that looks very futuristic.

This, of course, freaks her out; she tries to explain and show her dad what is going on, but it doesn't work when he touches the pin. Casey does some internet research and finds a store in Houston that's looking for the same pin; however, once she gets there, chaos ensues, and soon she finds herself in the company of a little girl, Athena (Raffey Cassidy), who has a lot of explaining to do.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

That time I sat 10 feet away from William Shatner (Motor City Comic Con 2015)


*Disclosure: I received media credentials to attend MCCC. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

I wasn't sure what to expect from the Motor City Comic Con, since my only experience thus far with fan conventions was Walker Stalker Con in Atlanta last October. MCCC had a lot more "cosplay" (people dressed up in costumes) than WSC did, which was fun, but was also a bit smaller, although I've heard it's twice the size it was in previous years.

On Friday, the first day of the convention, I walked around to get a feel of the place and check out where everything was located. I saw many Walking Dead cast members, such as Chandler Riggs (Carl), Steven Yeun (Glenn), and Scott Wilson (Hershel), and other oldies but goodies like Lou Ferrigno (the "Hulk") and Dawn Wells (Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island).

Monday, May 18, 2015

Interview: Jodi Lyn O'Keefe (Vampire Diaries, Nash Bridges) at Motor City Comic Con

Jodi Lyn O'Keefe, The Vampire Diaries. Credit: ew.com

I had the good fortune to snag a few minutes with Jodi Lyn O'Keefe while attending the Motor City Comic Con this past weekend. If you're a Vampire Diaries fan, she needs no introduction, as (spoiler) something major just happened with her character (Dr. Jo) on the show. If you're of an older generation, you might remember her as Don Johnson's daughter from Nash Bridges, which my father and I used to watch together.

Warning ... some Vampire Diaries spoilers ahead if you haven't seen the most recent two episodes.

Emma Caulfield, Ksenia Solo, & Jodi Lyn
O'Keefe (right) after their MCCC panel
Yes/No Films: So, that Vampire Diaries ending - how do you feel about it?

O'Keefe: I haven't come to terms with it yet (laughs). I loved being there, and if you have to go, go big.

Do you still keep in touch with all the cast members?

Yes.

My dad and I used to watch you on Nash Bridges.

Oh you did - so you're the one! (laughs)

Do you keep in touch with any of [the Nash Bridges cast]?

I run into Cheech Marin from time to time. I think if you knew Cheech Marin, it's like, how can you not keep in touch with him, he's one of the funniest people on the planet; it's nice to see him from time to time. We're all so scattered, and it's been such a great many years.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Movie Review: Pitch Perfect 2


I was a bit apprehensive going in to Pitch Perfect 2 because the trailer didn't look that funny to me; it looked fine, but nothing special. However, I ended up being pleasantly surprised, as it seems like they may have saved a lot of the funnier jokes for the actual movie (which is always welcomed!), and of course the a capella singing was very entertaining.

Beca (Anna Kendrick) and the Barden Bellas are back in this installment, but we've flashed-forward three years; Beca is now a senior, and starting to think about what she wants to do after graduating from Barden. She gets an internship with a music producer, but quickly realizes that she's going to have to step up her game if she wants to succeed in the business. Meanwhile, Chloe (Brittany Snow) and the Bellas are horrified to learn that they have been suspended from a capella competitions after a certain incident at the beginning of the movie involving Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson). Because the Bellas are the reigning a capella champs, they are still allowed to attend Worlds, which will be in Denmark at the end of the school year, but the a capella board (Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins) have no interest in reinstating them, unless by some miracle they win the competition. The Bellas must band together and find out their "sound" yet again, in order to keep the group alive for the future.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

What I'm watching on TV this summer #XFINITYreviewer

I stumbled upon this article on Buzzfeed yesterday, and it reminded me that summer TV season is around the corner. While I don't often "channel surf," I have a lot of shows that I watch in general, and summer TV is no exception. This year I also have the full line-up of XFINITY channels at my disposal, which should make for some interesting shows.

Shows that I plan on watching, and why:


Friday, June 12th
Orange is the New Black (eps launch around 3am, Netflix). I pretty much signed up for Netflix just for this show ... I canceled my subscription at one point and then planned on re-signing up again, just for this show (but luckily I have a boyfriend who has Netflix and added me to his account!). I've also read the book, but the TV show is much juicier, in my opinion, and the casting is spot-on. Although I tend not to binge-watch Netflix shows, I may make an exception for this one, because I've been waiting about a year for the show to come back.

Thursday, June 18th
The Astronaut Wives Club (8pm, ABC). This is a new show that I am going to try out, as the title has me intrigued. It's based on the book of the same name, and ABC describes it as:
A new television drama series based on the book by Lily Koppel, The Astronaut Wives Club focuses on seven women who were key players behind some of the biggest events in American history. As America’s astronauts were launched on death-defying missions, the lives of their young wives were transformed, seemingly overnight, from military spouses to American royalty. As their celebrity rose, and tragedy began to touch their lives, they rallied together.
I also like historical shows that are based on real-life events, so this one sounds like it might be a winner for me.


Mistresses (9pm, ABC).
 Even though Savi (Alyssa Milano) has now left the show, it's still my summer "guilty pleasure" show - it has more twists and turns than a soap opera, and the characters in it are great.

credit: theimpossiblegirlblog.wordpress.com
Thursday, June 25
Rookie Blue (10pm, ABC). The "will they or won't they" relationship between Sam Swarek and Andy McNally is my favorite on this show - they're the "Ross and Rachel" of the show - and even though I sometimes forget about this show during the year, once the summer rolls around I'm sucked right back into it again. I'm a huge fan of police shows, too, and this is a great one that you might not have heard of. (if you want to know more, check out The Impossible Girl blog's gushings about the show, too)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Yes/No Films on the Road: Cedar Point and Hotel Breakers (Sandusky, OH) #LakeErieLove


*Disclosure: I was provided with a hotel stay and park tickets in exchange for this post, as well as African Safari Wildlife Park tickets. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

I am a huge fan of Cedar Point, so I was very excited when I was invited back to the park this summer and also found out that I would be staying the night at its revamped hotel, Hotel Breakers. I had never stayed on-site at the park before, so that was definitely an extra perk.

My friend Alex and I headed to Sandusky on Saturday afternoon - it's about a 2 to 2.5 hour drive from the Detroit area - and after a quick lunch, the first thing we did was the African Safari Wildlife Park, in Port Clinton. I had been here a few years ago, but Alex had never been, so I wanted him to be able to experience it.


You will make a lot of new friends during the safari, and as you can see here, some friendly alpacas came right up to the car to grab some food from us. I will say that you have to hold on to that cup firmly, though, as another (friendly, but insistent) bison that came up to the car later on in the safari grabbed the cup right out of my hands!


The wildlife park also has a "walk-through safari" area, where we saw this swan and her swan babies, as well as a plethora of other cute animals. They also do pig races and have camel rides for kids.

Sandusky and the "Shores and Islands" area has a ton to offer, but since we were on a time crunch this was the only non-park activity we did that day - you can check out its website for more trip ideas, though.

Next, it was onwards to Hotel Breakers!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Upcoming: Kindness Safari at the Detroit Zoo, May 16th {and a giveaway!} #KindAwesome


*Disclosure: I am receiving KIND bars in exchange for this post. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

Hey Detroiters! KIND (maker of the yummy bars pictured above) is teaming up with online retailer zulily to host "kindness safaris" at 20 zoos across the U.S., and the Detroit Zoo's event will be May 16th, from 11am to 4pm.

Kindness safaris with include a scavenger hunt and other family-friendly activities.

Take-home kindness kits, as pictured above, will be given away to children that attend the event, and it includes a lunch tote, scavenger hunt booklet, and (of course) some KIND bars. Limited quantities are available of these, and they're given out on a first-come, first-serve basis, so make sure to get to the Zoo early that day.

You and up to three others in your party can get *free* tickets for this event by presenting this coupon at the Zoo - please note that it's only the first 50 people who arrive there with the coupon on May 16th.

If you'd like to learn more about the event and/or purchase discounted tickets, check out http://www.zulily.com/kind.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Yes/No Ancestry: Using MyHeritage.com to build your family tree



*Disclosure: I received an account upgrade on MyHeritage.com in exchange for this post. The opinions listed here, however, are my own.

I've always been curious about my family tree. During my junior year of high school (2003), we were assigned a family tree presentation, and I dug deeper into my roots and found out even more about my family's background. Recently, however, I used 23andMe to essentially "spit into a cup" and learn more about my DNA results.

What I learned surprised me: I am 47% Ashkenazi (unsurprising, since both my mother and I are Jewish) but also 33% British/Irish. 23andMe partners with MyHeritage.com to help you build your family tree, and just like that, I became re-obsessed curious to trace my family tree even further.

MyHeritage.com is a free site, but a free membership only gives you 250 spots on your tree to fill; after that, you can upgrade to the premium membership, which is about $70-80 per year. With the free account, you also don't get access to the record + other family tree matches, which have been most helpful to me so far. You can see others' trees on the site and also use their information in your family tree - it turns out I do share a few of my "higher up" on the tree ancestors with others.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Movie Review - Avengers: Age of Ultron (Avengers #2)


I reviewed the first Avengers movie in May 2012, and I'm a big Marvel fan, so I was excited for this installment. Age of Ultron brings the same flash and action first movie while adding a few new characters, and fans of the group or the individual Avengers will not be disappointed.

In this movie, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) has created something of an artificial intelligence program, which breaks into and takes over his standard assistant program, JARVIS. The new system calls itself Ultron (voiced by James Spader), and quickly decides that it wants to destroy the world, including Stark; it takes on a robot form to do so. Stark has many enemies, including Russian twins Pietro and Wanda Maximoff (Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen), who have special powers, and they team up to take down him and the rest of the team. The Avengers find themselves racing against time in order to save the world, and recruiting new and old friends to help them do so.