Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Q&A with Detroit native Adam Karell, on the movie Killer Party

Killer Party, now available for streaming, features Adam Karell, a Commerce Township (Detroit area) native, who moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career after graduating from Kalamazoo College.

The movie found distribution because Adam and the director, Alex Drummond, came to Detroit to screen the movie at Motor City Nightmares (the long-running genre festival), where it caught the attention of Bub Smith, founder of the Slack Jaws Punk podcast. Bob recommended the movie to Patrick Ewald, from Epic Pictures, and Killer Party was able to find distribution.

The movie is KILLER PARTY. So what's it about? 
Adam Karell: It's a horror-comedy about a group of friends who get trapped at a baby shower when an outbreak starts turning people into homicidal maniacs.

This is an independent movie and how it came together is pretty interesting. You made Killer Party with your friends. 
AK: My day, or night, job in L.A. has been working at restaurants, and while I was working at Gulfstream in Century City, we had a great group of people, all really talented and supportive, and we were getting acting jobs here and there, but we decided to go big and make a movie. So the writer-director, Alex Drummond, wrote parts for all of us, we banded together, raised money and went out and made Killer Party.

I can imagine that there are a lot of challenges in making an independent movie, but Killer Party faced a pretty unique challenge... 
AK: It did. The movie takes place at a baby shower, because Rachael Drummond, Alex's wife, the female lead, was pregnant at the time. So we were shooting in August and the baby was due in mid-September, but one morning when Rachael got up out of the makeup chair, her water broke. So we had to stop production, Alex and Rachael went to the hospital and had a baby girl. A few days later, I went off and got married. So we took a break from filming, I went on my honeymoon and then we went back and finished the movie.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Movie Review: Hands of Stone

Hands of Stone tells the story of Roberto Duran, a Panamanian boxer who rose to fame in the 1970s and '80s. The movie told the story of his entire life, too, and seeing how he grew up in Panama was especially interesting.

Duran (Edgar Ramirez) grows up poor in Panama, with U.S. forces occupying the country. He wants to learn to fight, even as a small child, and soon he finds a trainer and starts to train. Eventually, he becomes more widely known, and legendary trainer Ray Arcel (Robert De Niro), an American, wants to help train him. Soon, a fight against Sugar Ray Leonard (Usher, going by Usher Raymond here) is set up, and Duran will have the opportunity to prove himself against one of America's all-time greatest boxers.

Movie Review - Mechanic: Resurrection

The Mechanic
came out in 2011, and had a great cast - Jason Statham and Ben Foster as the leads, along with Donald Sutherland. In Mechanic: Resurrection, Statham's character is back, but the plot is completely different and also definitely more muddled.

Arthur Bishop (Statham) is "officially" a dead man, but in fact is alive and well. When Mr. Crain (Sam Hazeldine) finds out he's alive, though, he kidnaps a woman that Bishop has become fond of, Gina (Jessica Alba), in order to convince him to carry out three hits for him; these are complicated murders, as well, since two of the men are very rich and one is in an Alcatraz-like prison on an island. Bishop has no choice but to attempt and carry out the murders, though, otherwise Crain will kill Gina.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Review and GIVEWAY: Chocotelegram, the most delicious telegram {ends 9/3}

*Disclosure: I received a Chocotelegram for reviewing purposes. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

At BlogHer '16 this year, one of the yummiest booths as the expo was definitely the Chocotelegram booth. Upon my initial "pass-through" of the expo, I briefly stopped there to grab a chocolate sample, but then when I came back through the expo another day, I stopped and chatted with the booth ladies there - and I'm very glad I did!

Chocotelegram is a neat way to send someone a gift in the mail, either in pictures or with words. I was able to choose a sample "word" one to send to myself, and because I'm a dork I chose to say "HI LIZ" on mine:

To be honest, I wanted that square of white chocolate too, hence the space between the words ... 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Review and GIVEAWAY: Love with Food subscription box {ends 9/2}

*Disclosure: I received a Love with Food Deluxe box for reviewing purposes. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

At BlogHer this year, I was introduced to Love with Food, a subscription box that aims at providing healthy snacks - their motto is "Snack Smart. Do Good."

I've been trying to eat healthier this year, but I'm definitely a snacker - I like snacking while relaxing at home, and also having desserts with my meals. Love with Food intrigued me because it's full of yummy snacks, but they are all "better for you" snacks.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Review and GIVEAWAY: Maxine "Free to be Crabby" set, from Hallmark #LoveHallmark {ends 8/29}

*Disclosure: I received these products from Hallmark for reviewing purposes. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

I have been a big fan of the Maxine products at Hallmark for a while now. Maxine is unapologetically crabby, and the Hallmark cards I used to peruse with her in them were always very funny.

I recently received a "Free to be Crabby" Maxine set from Hallmark, and I have the opportunity for one of my lucky readers to win the same!

The set includes:
· Free to Be Crabby Maxine Socks: Join Maxine in showing her crabby pride with these decorative socks that are as comfortable as they are fun to wear. ($12.95)

· Love It or Leave Me Alone Maxine Tumbler: Take your Maxine and American pride everywhere you go with this illustrated tumbler. ($12.95)

· itty bittys® Maxine Stars and Stripes Stuffed Animal, Limited Edition: From her patriotic hat to her bunny slippers, there's no better way to show your love for the stars and stripes—and maybe some gripes—than with this Maxine itty bittys plush. ($6.95)

· Gripe About Anything Maxine Mug: Enjoy showing what it is that you—and Maxine—love about our country with this ceramic mug. With a Maxine illustration on the outside and a coordinating color on the inside, you won't find anything to gripe about! ($9.95)

I'm definitely NOT a morning person, and that is when my inner Maxine comes out. When I wake up in the morning before work, I have breakfast (usually Honey Nut Cheerios and some cashew milk, as it's easy to "make" and also clean up), check my emails, and work on my blog ... if you call me on the phone in the morning, you're either going to find a crabby Liz or you are going to be directed to voicemail! (texting, however, is fine.)

I found these products to be a fun gift for the "Maxine" in your life, or even someone who likes the Maxine line. They're also very timely, as it's election season currently in the U.S. - the Gripe About Anything mug, in particular.

Friday, August 19, 2016

GIVEAWAY - 9/11 Inside the Pentagon DVD {ends 8/28}

9/11 Inside the Pentagon will be released on September 6th, but one of my lucky blog readers can win it here before that.

I was a freshman in high school when the events of 9/11 happened, and I still remember the day vividly. This DVD focuses on the events that happened at the Pentagon that day, vs. the NYC events, and it looks like it will be very interesting.

More about the movie:
PBS Distribution announced they will be releasing “9/11 INSIDE THE PENTAGON” on DVD. America marks the 15th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S. with this new documentary which reveals new, first-hand accounts of the attack that took place at the heart of the US’ military headquarters – an attack in which 184 people from inside the building and on board American Airlines flight 77 perished.

“9/11 INSIDE THE PENTAGON” will be available on DVD September 6, 2016. The run time of the program is approximately 60 minutes and the SRP is $24.99. The program will also be available for digital download.

While most of the media coverage of the events of September 11 focused on New York City and United Flight 93, the story of what happened inside the Pentagon on that tragic day has never truly been told, until now.

Produced by Lone Wolf Media, “9/11 INSIDE THE PENTAGON” revisits the events of 9/11 from the perspective of those who were in Washington, DC, working at or near the Pentagon. Using exclusive first-person interviews with Pentagon personnel, first responders, aviation experts and journalists, as well as rarely seen Department of Defense footage taken from inside the Pentagon after the attack, the special tells the story of heroism and perseverance in the face of unimaginable, life-threatening obstacles.

Unlike those in New York City who were completely taken by surprise, those in Washington, DC, followed the news coming out of New York and realized than unaccounted-for flights still in the air would likely target significant, symbolic and strategic sites in the nation’s capital – including the Pentagon.

In the chaos that followed after Flight 77 struck the Pentagon, a group of workers inside would crawl through black smoke and pools of jet fuel looking for an exit, only to find themselves trapped behind a newly installed blast-proof window that was impossible to break open; emotional clashes over jurisdiction would break out between Pentagon personnel and first responders trying to find survivors in the wreckage; smoke would threaten to incapacitate the National Military Command Center; and an unaccounted-for plane would pose the threat of yet another strike.

Among those interviewed in the film are those who experience the attack first-hand: Steve Carter, assistant building operations manager at the Pentagon; first responders Mike Regan, Alan Wallace and Ed Hannon; Pentagon personnel Captain William J. Toti (U.S. Navy, retired) and Colonel Marilyn Wills (US Army, retired); air traffic controller Colin Scoggins; structural engineer Leo Titus; and Washington Post reporter Steve Vogel.

“9/11 INSIDE THE PENTAGON” is a production of Lone Wolf Media and executive produced by Kirk Wolfinger.

Movie Review: War Dogs

War Dogs is based upon a true story (actually, a Rolling Stones article about a true story) and it was a story I wasn't aware of, which made the film interesting to see.

David Packouz (Miles Teller) is tired of barely getting by in life. He works as a massage therapist ($75/hour doesn't seem that bad ... just saying ...) and lives with his girlfriend, Iz (Ana de Armas), who has just found out she's pregnant. When his childhood best friend, Efraim (Jonah Hill), moves home to Miami, and invites David to join him as a business partner, David doesn't hesitate to say yes. Yet before he knows it, David finds himself involved in shady business deals and having to travel to Iraq and Jordan to make sure said deals are completed.

Movie Review: Kubo and the Two Strings

"If you must blink, do it now. Pay careful attention to everything you see, no matter how unusual it may seem. If you look away, even for an instant, then our hero will surely perish."

These are the opening lines of Kubo and the Two Strings, which definitely grabbed my attention. Kubo is a stop-motion film produced by Laika (for Focus Features), and it's really not a children's movie, even though it's being marketed as such; there were some scary scenes throughout, especially with the 3D effects, that I'd recommend for children no younger than 8 years old.

Kubo (voiced by Art Parkinson, Game of Thrones) lives with his mother, who isn't quite right - during the day, she is wonderful and can speak with Kubo and tell him stories, but at night, she mentally "checks out." During the day, Kubo goes to the nearby village to tell stories using the 3-stringed instrument he has - he can make origami dance to illustrate the story, too - but he must always return home by nightfall, otherwise bad things will happen, says his mother. One night, Kubo stays out a little too late, and finds himself being chased by his mother's sisters (Rooney Mara), immortal beings who want his eye to bring to his grandfather, also an immortal being. His mother uses the last of her magic to protect him, and he then finds himself on the run from the Sisters, and on a quest to fulfill his destiny.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

BlogHer '16 recap: fun in the sun in Los Angeles

So it's been about a week and a half now since I returned from LA, for BlogHer 2016. I meant to write this post last weekend but then life got in the way and I forgot I pushed it back to this week.

If you're a longtime reader of my blog, you may remember my long-ish recap of BlogHer 2014, which was in San Jose, where I basically said that the conference had changed a lot and I wasn't a huge fan. Originally, I wasn't planning on going to BlogHer this year (and I skipped last year's, in NYC, which would have been a lot closer to me, since I live in Michigan!), but when Mayim Bialik, who I looooove on The Big Bang Theory, was announced as one of the keynote speakers, I took the plunge and bought my "super early bird pass." (it also helped that I had a ton of Southwest miles to use this summer, too - LA airfare isn't cheap)

photo credit: @crunchymetromom
I roomed with Sadie (Slap Dash Mom) and Judy (Crunchy Metro Mom), both of whom I had met in 2014, and it was a great time - the JW Marriott (LA Live area) has beautiful rooms and is a gorgeous hotel.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Upcoming: The Book of Mormon at the Fisher Theatre, Detroit (November 1-13)

*Disclosure: I have an ongoing relationship with the Fisher Theatre. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

The Book of Mormon will be coming to the Fisher Theatre (Detroit) this fall, and I'm excited to see it! I've heard a lot about the show but have yet to see it in-person.

More information: 
Back by popular demand, THE BOOK OF MORMON returns to Detroit for a limited engagement November 1 - 13 at The Fisher Theatre. Tickets are now on sale at The Fisher Theatre box office, all Ticketmaster locations, by phone at 1-800-982-2787, and online at or

THE BOOK OF MORMON is the winner of nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score (Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, Matt Stone), Best Book (Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, Matt Stone), Best Direction (Casey Nicholaw, Trey Parker), Best Featured Actress (Nikki M. James), Best Scenic Design (Scott Pask), Best Lighting Design (Brian MacDevitt), Best Sound Design (Brian Ronan) and Best Orchestrations (Larry Hochman, Stephen Oremus); the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical; five Drama Desk Awards including Best Musical, the 2011 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album; four Outer Critics Circle Awards, including Best Musical, and the Drama League Award for Best Musical.

The Original Broadway Cast Recording for THE BOOK OF MORMON, winner of the 2011 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album, is available on Ghostlight Records.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Movie Review: Anthropoid

Anthropoid ended up really surprising me, because for the first hour or so, it's a good movie, just very slow. Then, during the last 30-60 minutes, it becomes a faster-paced "shoot 'em up" film.

The movie tells the true story of Operation Anthropoid, which occurred during WWII. Two Czech military men, Jan Kubis (Jamie Dornan) and Josef Gabcik (Cillian Murphy), are assigned the assassination of SS General Reinhard Heydrich, who was the Nazi's 3rd in command, and who also engineered the "Final Solution" to murder the Jews. This takes much planning, and they are able to seek refuge with a family while they plot the assassination. Kubis also falls in love with the young lady who lives there, and they become engaged. Soon, it's the day that Kubis and Gabcik have been waiting for, and they must put their plot into motion.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Movie Review: Pete's Dragon (2016)

I had the pleasure of screening Pete's Dragon when in LA for BlogHer last weekend, and I was very glad I did - its special effects and great cast makes it a movie worth watching.

Pete (Oakes Fegley) is on an adventure with his parents, when their car crashes; he's the only one who makes it. He wanders off into the forest, where he finds a large green dragon, whom he later ends up befriending. Six years later, Pete is spotted in the forest by a little girl, Natalie (Oona Laurence, Southpaw), and her dad and the forest ranger (Bryce Dallas Howard) try to get Pete reacclimatized to "normal living." However, Pete knows that Elliot (the dragon) is in danger now that their secret is out, and he tries to prevent the townspeople from harming Elliot.

Movie Review: Sausage Party

The trailers for Sausage Party looked hilarious - I'm not opposed to raunchy movies, especially if they are funny, and I was hoping that was the case here. However, most of the funny parts in the film were in the trailer, and overall the movie wasn't that good.

Frank (voiced by Seth Rogen) is a hot dog, and he has lived in a case at Shopwell's, a grocery store, his entire life. His girlfriend, Brenda (Kristen Wiig), a hot dog bun, excitedly awaits the day they can be together - when the Gods (aka a human) "chooses" them together - and it's almost Red, White & Blue Day (aka 4th of July) so they're thinking that it will be sometime soon. However, Frank soon learns what actually happens when the food in the store is "chosen," and he and Brenda must warn their fellow grocery-mates about the bleak future that lies ahead for them.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Restaurant review and $50 giveaway: Punch Bowl Social Detroit {ends 8/23}

credit: Bonny Buckner
*Disclosure: I received a free meal at Punch Bowl Social in exchange for this post. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

Last week, I was able to check out Punch Bowl Social (Detroit), which was a lot of fun - I had not been before but had heard a lot about it. Punch Bowl Social is a restaurant but also has arcade games, darts, bowling, and even a private karaoke room.

The interior has a modern feel and is very nice. We were seated at a high-top area designed to seat large groups, and the table had a reclaimed wood type of feel. There are 2+ bars, as well, and lots of booths and other high-top tables.

Monday, August 1, 2016

UPCOMING and a GIVEAWAY: A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder, October 4-16 at the Fisher Theatre (Detroit)

*Disclosure: I have an ongoing media relationship with Broadway in Detroit. However, the opinions expressed here are my own.

A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder will be coming to the Fisher Theatre (Detroit) this October, and it sounds like it's going to be a fun time. Read on for more info about the show, and how one of my lucky readers will win a 4-pack of tickets!

About the show:
The Tony® Award winner for Best Musical, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, will play Detroit’s Fisher Theatre, October 4-16, in its First National Tour, which launched in September 2015. Tickets are now on sale at The Fisher Theatre box office, all Ticketmaster locations, by phone at 1-800-982-2787, and online at or box office,

Gentleman’s Guide tells the uproarious story of Monty Navarro, a distant heir to a family fortune who sets out to jump the line of succession, by any means necessary. All the while, he’s got to juggle his mistress (she’s after more than just love), his fiancĂ©e (she’s his cousin but who’s keeping track?), and the constant threat of landing behind bars! Of course, it will all be worth it if he can slay his way to his inheritance… and be done in time for tea.

Review: Polar Pizza at Baskin-Robbins

*Disclosure: I received a gift card to try the new Polar Pizza at Baskin-Robbins. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

Baskin-Robbins launched its Polar Pizza last month (July), as I talked about in my recent post about them, and because this past month was crazy busy for me, I didn't get to try the Polar Pizza until this past Sunday.

My parents and I went to the combined Dunkin' Donuts / Baskin-Robbins near them, in Novi, MI, to split one of the ice cream pizzas.