Sunday, August 30, 2015

Review and GIVEAWAY: Elsa itty bitty + itty bitty BIGGY #Frozen #LoveHallmark {ends 9/6}

*Disclosure: I received products from Hallmark in exchange for this post. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

I first heard about Hallmark's itty bittys through a Hallmark Facebook group of which I'm a member. Since I'm an entertainment blogger, I thought this idea was so cute, especially for kids - who wouldn't want a little "itty bitty" to carry around with you or be on display, especially one from your favorite movie or comic book?

Hallmark has now expanded its itty bittys line to include itty bittys BIGGY(ies), and I was fortunate to receive two Elsa's (itty bitty + her "mother," as I call her, or her itty bitty BIGGY) in the mail this week.

First off, as a huge Frozen fan, I was delighted with these Elsa's - they're super cute and would be perfect for any fans of the movie or kids who are obsessed with who love "Let It Go." I was surprised that Elsa's biggy was so large, although it's really no larger than a "normal" stuffed animal size; the biggy would be perfect for bedtime, for example, whereas the Elsa itty bitty would be great to carry around or for a small collection.

You can check out the rest of the Frozen line here, and in addition to Elsa, there is Anna, Sven, and Olaf to collect.

This is what my biggy and I were up to this week:

Elsa getting ready to do some blogging (or perhaps checking her Facebook)

Friday, August 28, 2015

Upcoming and GIVEAWAY: Marvel Universe LIVE! Sept. 25-27 at the Palace of Auburn Hills (Detroit area)

Marvel Universe LIVE! Detroit area

Marvel Universe LIVE is coming to the Palace this September 25-27, and I have an opportunity for you to win a family four-pack of tickets!

About the show:
Marvel fans, assemble! Marvel Universe LIVE! is taking the live entertainment experience to a whole new level, with a mind-blowing show unlike anything you’ve seen before. Watch your favorite Marvel Super Heroes including Spider-Man and the Avengers (Iron Man, Black Widow, Hulk and more) and threatening villains come to life in an action-packed arena extravaganza, coming to Auburn Hills. You’ll definitely feel the energy with cutting-edge special effects, pyrotechnics, aerial stunts, martial arts, motorcycles and more. It’s being hailed as the most technically advanced live show ever. Join Marvel fans of all ages for this once-in-a-lifetime, monumental performance. The fate of the universe depends on it!

Movie Review: We Are Your Friends


I went in fairly blind to see We Are Your Friends - I think I had seen the teaser trailer, and had a vague idea of what it was about and who was starring in it, but that was about all I knew. I actually ended up enjoying the film a lot, and it will appeal to millennials more so than the older demographic.

Cole (Zac Efron) lives in his friend's guest house, next to a swimming pool that has no water in it. His goal in life is to be a professional DJ, and he and his friends have a regular Thursday gig where they bring people in to a club, and he gets to DJ in a side room. When he meets James (Wes Bentley, aka Seneca Crane), a world-known DJ, however, he gets a taste of what life could be like once he becomes famous, and he likes it. He also really likes James' girlfriend, Sophie (Emily Ratajkowski), who is more Cole's age than James's. Cole must decide whether to act on his attraction to Sophie, knowing that the choice he makes will affect his relationship with James, and could jeopardize any chances of travel and stardom as a famous DJ.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Movie Review: No Escape


I saw a horror movie at a screening last week, but No Escape actually scared me more. Why, you ask? Because it focused on a family who moves "overseas" - I've pinpointed it as either Thailand or Cambodia - for the husband's job, and then has to escape the country when riots break out, before they get murdered. I'm a frequent traveler, although mostly domestic, and this film made me never want to leave the U.S. ever again.

Jack Dwyer (Owen Wilson), his wife Annie (Lake Bell), and their two girls have just moved overseas for his engineering job at Cardiff. The company has put them up in a nice hotel, mostly full of foreigners like themselves, and things seem to be going well. Jack goes out for a morning stroll the next day to see if he can find an American newspaper, and witnesses something horrific: the citizens squaring off with the police, and people on both sides getting assassinated. He runs back to the hotel to make sure Annie and the girls are okay, and there are citizens at the hotel as well; they want to kill all the Americans. Jack, Annie, and their family go on the run, eventually meeting up with Hammond (Pierce Brosnan), another hotel resident whom they met on their plane, who helps them try to get to safety.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Movie Review: American Ultra


The trailer for American Ultra looked awesome, plus I love Jesse Eisenberg and Topher Grace. Unfortunately, although the film's premise was interesting, its execution was mediocre, and it's a film I'd recommend saving for a matinee.

Stoners Mike (Eisenberg) and Phoebe (Kristen Stewart) live together in a tiny town in West Virginia, which they usually never leave; Mike gets panic attacks when they try to leave town, even by car and not plane. Their lives are normal, for the most part, until one day when a strange lady (Connie Britton) stops by the convenience store where Mike works and says something that sounds like nonsense to him; in reality, she's a CIA agent, and he was too, as part of a special program for third-time drug offenders, and he's just been "activated." The reason she does this is because another CIA agent, Yates (Topher Grace) has decided that Mike is no longer needed, and should be assassinated. Mike effortlessly kills the agents that Yates sends after him, and soon realizes that he has lots of fighting skills that until that second, he previously didn't know he possessed. Mike and Phoebe go on the run from the agents, and must try to escape the town, even though Yates has effectively roadblocked all the exits.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Upcoming + a GIVEAWAY: 90 Minutes in Heaven {in theaters Sept. 11} #HopeLives

90 Minutes in Heaven, based on the book (written by Cecil Murphey and Don Piper), will be coming to theaters this September 11th, and I was able to preview the first five minutes.

About the movie:
Releases in theaters everywhere September 11, 2015
Rating: PG-13 (for intense accident and injury images) 

Starring Hayden Christensen (Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones, Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith), Kate Bosworth (Remember The Titans, Blue Crush) Michael W. Smith, Fred Thompson, Dwight Yoakam, and Jason Kennedy, 90 Minutes In Heaven is based on the inspiring New York Times best-selling book that has sold 7 million copies. 

About the book:
Pastor Don Piper died January 18, 1989 when a semi-tractor truck crushed his car. Declared dead by the first rescue workers to arrive on the scene, Don's body lay under a tarp for the next 90 minutes. Don's soul, meanwhile, was experiencing love, joy, and life like he'd never known before. Don was in Heaven. 

When another pastor's prayers helped bring Don back to life, he became a living miracle! Yet this is one miracle Don wished never happened. Heaven's bliss was replaced by excruciating pain and emotional turmoil. With the support and prayers of his beloved Eva, their three kids, and friends near and far, Don clings to his faith in God and fights to regain a semblance of his previous life. The Piper family's incredible true story of perseverance and overcoming the challenges of life - and death - will bring hope and encouragement to all who see it. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Movie Review: The End of the Tour


I saw two movies this week: Mr. Holmes, which I didn't review - and which may possibly be the slowest and most boring movie ever - and The End of the Tour, which I feared might also be slow but instead ended up being a gem of a film. I knew nothing about the subject of the movie, writer David Foster Wallace, before seeing it, but now that I have, I will definitely need to read his book (Infinite Jest) on which the film focuses, and the movie also compelled me to read more about his life and legacy.

The movie opens in 2008, and journalist David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) has just heard the news that David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel) has committed suicide. Lipsky's girlfriend, Sarah (Anna Chlumsky), asks him if it's true - he would know better than anyone, after all - and he does a quick Google search and reveals that yes, the news is unfortunately correct. Lipsky goes to his hall closet and takes out his cassettes of his time spent with Wallace, which brings him back to twelve years earlier: 1996, when Wallace's new book, Infinite Jest, had just been released, and Lipsky was able to tail him at the end of his tour, to Minneapolis, in order to write a Rolling Stones article about him.

Movie Review: The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)


The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is based on the 1960s TV series of the same name. After seeing this film, my dad said this is more of a prequel to the series, but the film's ending definitely leaves it open for a sequel; this installment was very good, too, so I hope there is one.

Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) is an American agent who chose to work with the CIA in place of going to jail; he's a rogue pickpocket who got in trouble a while back. Illya (Armie Hammer) is a Russian/Soviet spy who normally doesn't work with Americans; in fact, the first time Solo and Illya meet is on a wild car chase, with Solo trying to protect Gaby (Alicia Vikander), whose father may have been abducted. When Solo and Illya's handlers inform them that they will be working together to find Gaby's father, they sulk about it at first, but soon enough start working like a team, in order to prevent a nuclear warhead from being sold.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Restaurant Review: MOD Pizza, Northville, MI (+ currently open in Livonia)


Today I was able to attend a media opening for the new MOD Pizza, located in Northville near the corner of Haggerty and 7 Mile.

MOD has a "fast-fired pizza" concept, where your pizza is ready in 5-7 minutes, and you can choose one of their nine classic pizzas or create your own. As you may recall, I visited Blaze Pizza (Novi, Royal Oak) in April of last year, and the concept of MOD is the same; however, it definitely has some menu items that Blaze lacks.


The first thing you will notice when you walk in is the decor - I was told that it's specific to the area. When you walk near the back of the sitting area, you'll see some Northville-specific vintage pictures, like the Northville Downs one above; I love vintage stuff, so that was very cool.

MOD Pizza Northville is operated by TEAM Schostak Family Restaurants (TSFR), and TSFR Brand Leader Jake Schostak was on hand today to answer questions and walk my parents and I through the MOD ordering process.

GIVEAWAY: James Spader Three Movie Collection {ends 8/18}

I've loved James Spader's movies and TV shows since The Practice (and then its spinoff, Boston Legal, which was hilarious). Even before that, though, his roles in movies like Pretty in Pink and others have always caught my attention.

Even so, Mill Creek currently has a 3-pack of James Spader movies out, and I haven't seen ANY of the films in it. (to be fair, one of them came out two years before I was born ... but still.)

Luckily for you, my readers, I have the chance for one of you to win this 3-pack, to make sure you don't miss out as well!

Collection includes:

THE NEW KIDS
(1985) - Color - Rated R
Starring: James Spader, Lori Loughlin, Shannon Presby, John Philbin

Abby McWilliams' (Lori Loughlin, TV's Full House) nightmare begins when she attracts the unwanted attention of teenage psychopath Eddie Dutra (James Spader, TV's Boston Practice). Turned down for a date, Eddie destroys Abby's home, vandalizes her uncle's car and nearly stomps her brother to death. But it's only when he kidnaps Abby from the school dance, that Eddie shows his true feelings. Fueled by cocaine and armed with a shotgun, Eddie's lust turns to uncontrollable rage, as he takes Abby on a date from hell, in this terror-packed thrill-ride from the director of Friday the 13th.

STORYVILLE
(1992) - Color - Rated R
Starring: James Spader, Joanne Whalley, Jason Robards, Charlotte Lewis

James Spader, Joanne Whalley-Kilmer and Jason Robards star in this seductive murder mystery from the co-creator of Twin Peaks. The son of a powerful Louisiana family, Cray Fowler (Spader), is a rising political star for whom a moment's weakness threatens a lifetime ambition. Videotaped having sex with a beautiful prostitute (Charolette Lewis), Cray finds himself at the center of a spider's web of blackmail and murder. Forced to defend the woman who betrayed him against the woman he once loved, Cray comes face to face with the dangerous secret that created his family's power-and now threatens his own life. Unpredictable and erotic, Storyville is a modern-day Chinatown: suspenseful, shocking, and utterly seductive.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

GIVEAWAY: win two Iconic Horror Classic Collections - each with 5 movies! {ends 8/16}

Mill Creek Entertainment has put together two Horror Classic Collections, each with five movies, and you can win BOTH of them here!

About the collections:

William Castle Horror Collection


Enjoy 5 spine-tingling classics from Castle!

Iconic horror director William Castle created a simple, but winning formula for his films: a little comedy, a lot of scares, a preposterous gimmick, and a clear sense that fright films should be fun. This even meant Castle would, like Alfred Hitchcock, appear in his trailers and even the movies themselves.

Though his career spanned 35 years and included everything from westerns to crime thrillers, he'll always be remembered for his horror films from the late 50s to the mid-60s. Enjoy 5 of his spine-tingling classics!


13 Ghosts
(1960) – B&W – 85 minutes – Not Rated
Starring: Charles Herbert, Jo Morrow, Martin Milner, Rosemary DeCamp. Donald Woods, Margaret Hamilton

When an eccentric uncle wills a huge, ramshackle house to his impoverished family, they get the shock of a lifetime. Their new residence comes complete with a spooky housekeeper, plus a fortune in buried treasure and 12 horrifying ghosts.

13 Frightened Girls
(1963) – Color – 88 minutes – Not Rated
Starring: Murray Hamilton, Joyce Taylor, Hugh Marlowe, Khigh Dhiegh, Charlie Briggs, Norma Varden
The girls of a Swiss boarding school have one thing in common — they are all daughters of diplomats. One in particular finds out that she has a knack for espionage, and uncovers the murder of a Russian diplomat. Now she must escape using her girlish wiles.

Mr. Sardonicus
(1961) – B&W – 90 minutes – Not Rated
Starring: Ronald Lewis, Audrey Dalton, Guy Rolfe, Oskar Homolka, Vladimir Sokoloff, Erika Peters

Desperate to retrieve a winning lottery ticket, a greedy man unearths his father's corpse. An enormous jackpot is his reward, but not without a price: his face is frozen permanently into a hideous grin. He enlists his one-eyed servant to help him lift the curse.

Homicidal
(1961) – B&W – 88 minutes – Not Rated
Starring: Glenn Corbett, Patricia Breslin, Eugenie Leontovich, Alan Bunce, Richard Rust, James Westerfield

In the small town of Solvang, there's a killer on the loose and the nurse taking care of a wheelchair bound stroke victim has a bedside manner is to die for. As the truth is uncovered, a town's most chilling mystery will be revealed... and a family's darkest secret.

The Old Dark House
(1963) – Color – 87 minutes – Not Rated
Starring: Tom Poston, Robert Morley, Janette Scott, Joyce Grenfell, Mervyn Jones, Fenella Fielding

An American car salesman living in London, is invited to spend the weekend at the Femm Estate. The Femms, trapped in the house due to an ancestor's will, live in fear as they are taken out one at a time. Tom is left to figure out who the killer is before he becomes a victim himself!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Family movie night with REESE'S Cups and Coke #ShareYourSummer

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


I live about forty minutes away from my parents', though it's more like an hour in traffic. We both live in the metro Detroit suburbs, and I usually do see them for movie screenings, but sometimes I miss having one-on-one time with them.

I decided to treat myself to a Coke, and make a REESE'S Peanut Butter Cups treat for them, so that we could have a movie night at their place. My mom makes the best REESE'S Cups ice cream pie but we usually only have it once a year, on Thanksgiving; I figured it might make for a cool summer treat, so I headed to Walmart to pick up some supplies.



You can now find a variety of names on Coke bottles as part of their Share a Coke campaign, and I was able to find my own name, which was fun. You can find these special Coke products in the coolers near checkout, at most Walmart locations, and can even check online beforehand to see if Coke has your name available. Walmart had the widest and most organized selection of Coke 20 oz. personalized bottles, so it's a good place to check first.


REESE'S Cups is doing a fun new thing now too where there's messaging on the cups. I picked up a My Fave one for my mom, who IS one of my faves, and a 2FUNNY one for my dad, who has a great sense of humor. Walmart is actually the only place you can find these new REESE'S Cups with messaging, so keep a lookout for them when you're near the checkout area.

Movie Review: Ricki and the Flash


Meryl Streep is a chameleon, so I wasn't surprised to see her slip into a wanna-be rockstar persona as easy as any of the other roles she has played, from the witch in Into the Woods to the family matron in August: Osage County. Streep gives a fantastic performance in this film as Ricki Rendazzo, real name Linda Brummel, who moves from Indianapolis to L.A. to pursue her dreams - but in the process, leaves her family behind.

Ricki (Streep) lives in a tiny apartment in L.A., but has a regular gig with her band, The Flash, at a local bar. She works full-time at Total Foods (think Whole Foods) so that she can pay her bills. When she gets a phone call from an Indianapolis number one day at work, she knows something is wrong, and indeed it is: Julie (Mamie Gummer), her daughter, has just been left by her new husband, who cheated on her. Ricki scrounges up the money for a plane ticket home, to find her ex-husband (Kevin Kline) living in a huge new home with his wife, Maureen (Audra McDonald), though she's in Seattle caring for her father, who has ALS. Ricki also must make peace with her two sons (Sebastian Stan, Hayse Jack), one of whom is still bitter that she left them all those years ago.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

GIVEAWAY: A Bunch of Munsch, The Busy World of Richard Scarry, & Madeline: The Complete Collection {ends 8/12}

Parents, grandparents, aunts/uncles, etc.: you're definitely going to want to enter this giveaway!

Mill Creek Entertainment has a selection of DVDs out this month (stay tuned for a giveaway for two horror collections later this week!), including many complete collections of favorite kids shows. I used to watch Madeline as a child and read the books, as well as the Richard Scarry books/shows.

About the collections:


6 specials and 59 episodes for 65 total Madeline memories!

"In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines, lived twelve little girls in two straight lines. The smallest one in rain or shine was the fearless Madeline!"

Based on Ludwig Bemelmans’ classic books, MADELINE stars a clever little red-headed girl whose fearless antics have won the hearts of children, parents and educators everywhere.

Enjoy over 30 hours of MADELINE in this complete collection featuring the original 6 television specials and 59 episodes of the award-winning animated series that originally aired on HBO, ABC, and Disney Channels.